September 22, 2012 (Saturday)
Today was devoted to walking special tests and then preparing for the opening ceremonies tonight at the Sachsenring circuit.
I woke up last early this morning to the sound of heavy rain. When we left the hotel, it looked just like what I had always pictured Germany like. Everything was soaking wet, low-lying clouds, very green, and everything looked slippery.
We piled in the mini van with Reid Brown, his wife and father, and Derek Steahly and Devan Bolin all from Oregon.
The plan was to visit all the tests that will be used on Days 3 and 4. The pictures I posted of yesterday were of one of the tests, so we had two others to check out.
When we arrived to the first test, the U.S. Trophy and Junior Trophy teams were arriving at the same time. We ended up walking the test with most all of them and it was really interesting to get their perspective on some of the sections. Kurt Caselli had already walked that test once, and it awesome to watch as he recited from memory what was coming up next. He had really done his homework and was trying to memorize every corner, obstacle, and alternate line that he could.
This test was the gnarliest weíve walked yet. It is in a deep forest section and it is basically a logging road that is all rutted up with tons of pine boughs and sticks criss-crossed all over it, with big channels full of water.
Looks fun, doesnít it.
Almost the entire thing is like this.
There were a few spots where the sun came out.
Josh had watched every video on YouTube he could find, and he immediately recognized this area from some of the German Enduro Championship videos.
Kurt Caselli points out some of the good lines and his observations from previously walking the test.
Kurt started talking to Benji and asking him about his riding and racing.
10-15 minutes later they were still chatting. Talk about making a 12 year olds dayÖ..he just made his year. Thanks Kurt.
Taylor Robert conducting an interview after walking the test.
We then drove to the next test. This one is a big huge grass track set in a farmerís field on the side of a hill. This one was all about off-camber turns. Lots of big fast sweepers coming into an off-camber, both left and right.
Josh, Reid Brown, Derek Steahly, and Devan Bolin, all walking the test.
This afternoon we were back in the pits and the team was doing a photo shoot. The Trophy Teams did their separate shoots, and then the entire U.S. Team did a photo shoot.
Along with mechanics and support crew.
We took the opportunity to snap a family pic.
The riders then received some instruction from Gunny Claypoole about some of the ďrider intelĒ from the pre-rider. The FIM no longer allows a pre-rider from each country. This year, Giovani Sala (sp?) was the only pre-rider allowed and then he shared the information with all the country jury delegates. Some of the tests are really long (14 minutes in one test) and the sample times he shared indicated he only had on average about 8-9 minutes early at each time check. It will be interesting to see what happens as the course breaks down. The rider count is almost 480 riders.
Rachel Gutish passes the time in the pits with Jay Hall.
It was then on to the opening ceremonies. Mike Brown was selected to carry the American Flag.
The Red Bull stunt plane was buzzing overhead putting on quite the show at the beginning.
Nick Hamillís family was by the most patriotic. They stole the show and had photographers in their face all night.
The German team is huge, considering that they are the host country. U.S. is probably the next biggest team.
It was great to enter the stadium with the riders. I admit that the opening ceremonies in Mexico (the only other ISDE Iíve experienced) was significantly larger, but this was cool nonetheless.
One more dayÖ..and then itís finally here. The riders are all so antsy to just get out and ride. We have several tests to still walk tomorrow, and Iíll post up some photos when I can. The bandwidth at the hotel is still a huge issue so itís taking way longer than I would like.
Now, if I could just buy a darn drink around here that is larger than 12 oz. and actually has some ice in it.