Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Italy Mountain Games, Ivrea, Val Chiusella

-Honza Lasco on the Extreme Race Day 1 - Photo Arnd Schaeftlein

After 26hrs stranded in Milano Linate airport I had a break through and next minute I had a friend of a friend yelling out from his car getting my attention, quickly loaded the car and before I knew it I was on the motor way heading for Ivrea! Kees Van Kuipers was on his was and running a bit late so was on time to call in and save me from my spell in the airport! Within a few hours we were up in the hills but unfortuantly just missed the down river extreme race but good news was already out with Bliss-Sticks, Honza Lasco in 1st and Mike Dawson in a close second!

-The View from my tent the morning after 26hrs in the airport! Happy to be here! - Photo Josh Neilson

That night I got to catch up with the crew and hear horror stories from the race that day! The course is steep and technical and over the day there was broken ankles, ribs and other various injuries from running the Gnar at speed!

-Sam Sutton rolling off the start ramp - Photo Arnd Schaeftlein

Early the next morning was the Teams race! This was the first part of the overall World Championship title! Team Switzerland was missing a paddler due to the day before's incidents so i paddled for them which was an experience running the whole race blind without ever seeing the river before! I got in behind and kept close and rolled off every drop in the same place as who ever was in front in hope they stuck their line so i would too! At the bottom I was stoked to be down, uninjured and back on the river!

- Brad Lauder flying off the upper drops at full speed! -Photo Arnd Schaeftlein

- The Upper Gorge - Photo Arnd Schaeftlein

- Over all 2nd Mike Dawson navigating the upper race course - Photo Arnd Schaeftlein

Team kiwi (Mike Dawson, Jared Mehan and Sam Sutton) took the days top time taking them into the second round 15seconds up on the France!
The races now moved into town down the hill to a beafy slalom course where the boatercross, downriver sprint and the second round of World Champs for teams would be held!
I got a 7th place in the down river which was cool and only 2.6 second behind Italian Filippo Brunetti!

-Mike leading the pack in the boatercross - Photo Josh Neilson

-Louise Jull Coming from the back of the pack to win the Womens Boatercross - Photo Josh Neilson

-Louise Jull keeping focused and winning the womens extreme slalom - Photo Josh Neilson

To split up her slalom tour in Europe, Louise Jull who is traveling round in a truck with Mike Dawson, came to the race and dominated. Unfortunalty she didnt have a kayak to race in for the Val Chiusella race which means she couldnt be eligable for overall winner but she did cleanly win the slalom and Boatercross which was awesome to see!
Next up was the Teams Slalom which I moved down the pack to 27the out of 46 as this is definalty not my specialty but it was a fun race.
The next big event was the teams slalom. This was the second part of the World Champs for teams racing. With some very strict rules of missing a gate a 50sec penalty and also a touch of a gate 50 sec penalty it meant that if any team had even a touch they would be out for sure!

-A touch of NZ in Italy, this flag flew for the kiwi mens world champion team! -Photo Josh Neilson

Team NZ was last to run and with the French having clean and fast lines through the course! This meant that if NZ touched a gate they would loose the title right there! Mike came through the course clean followed by Jared..... Sam was the last to come into the last gate and also hit it clean! NZ took the title for World Champions for teams racing which is awesome!

- Team NZ (Jared Mehan, Sam Sutton, Mike Dawson) World Champion team racers - Photo Josh Neilson

The overall times for every race were added up to find the title for the Teva Cup and Mike Dawson took 2nd place which was another great result for NZ's Extreme racing crew!

Teva Cup Overall 2nd Place Mike Dawson - Photo Josh Neilson

Right after the event I loaded up a car with Valarie Bertrand from Norway and headed on a bit of a mission over night to Germany where she picked up some new kayaks then straight back to Italy to pcik up our kayaks we had left with Filippo.

-On our way to Germany we camped by the river to find this sign early the next morning! -Photo Josh Neilson

We went out for pizza itallian style and then a tour around Verona, Italy! A town we easily passed by on the way but stoked we got to check out! We walked around the city til 3am looking at castles, statues, arena from the Roman time and even checked out the place where Juliet lived and saw the balcony where Romeo stood below! An amazign town rich in history and very beautiful!

-Panoramic view of Verona, our last site before heading to Norway - Wikipidia

-1 of 12 bridges into Verona - Photo Wikipidia

-Verona square! beauty! - Photo Wikipidia

-One of many Castles along the way - Photo Josh Neilson

-Following Team Italy home from the race in Ivrea - Photo Josh Neilson

Straight from there we drove 1.5 hrs and caught a plane Olso Norway and then a 4hr drive to where i sit right now! Back in Norway and looking forward to the next chapter in the 09 mission! Tomorrow we will be back on the river here in Norway and getting ready for Voss Extreme Sports Veko next week! Lets go!

- Hanging with team Italy pre party on saturday! -Photo Josh Neilson

No comments: