Saturday, January 23, 2010

Another Crazy-Ass Hahnenkamm Downhill

It was another unbelievably crazy Hahenkamm-Rennen downhill. Perfect weather. Great racing. Humongous, raucus crowds. Nobody badly hurt, at least not any racers. Michael Walchhofer, notably, hit the nets backwards at aboutMach 2 at the Hausbergkante, but after reconstructing his equipment yard sale, he managed to ski into the finish area under his own power. Walchhofer is a great skier and a super nice guy (I know his family from The Alpenrose in Altenmarkt-Zauchansee), so it was a personal relief to see him OK.

Our software, hardware, and display technology worked perfectly. RADARs were fantastic. Our timing team was firing on all cylinders, a great team effort under very difficult circumstances, and we were all whipped after executing the DH and then switching everything over to the slalom stadium for Sunday's SL. The HKR is much like the US Open in that it's so huge, so complicated, and with so much chaos working against you that it takes a mind-boggling amount of preparation, talent, teamwork, and just plain good luck for it all to work perfectly.

I was really happy for the KSC and particularly for Michael Huber, aka Dr Hahnenkamm, a super-smart and personable fellow who is managing his first HKR as President of the KSC. Michael is the busiest guy in the valley these weeks, wearing two hats: Prez of the KSC and Secretary General of the race ROC. He not only manages to do a terrific job, but also greets everyone with a smile and a hearty "Servus" as he rushes by, or flashes by on skis. He and the Rolex guys make time to have dinner every year with our humble group of timing geeks, a personal touch and a symbol of moral support that I have found missing from so many huge events over the years, particularly from the event I have hated most and considered the biggest, most impersonal train wreck: the US Open, the scourge of my existence for 20 years.

I was too busy to snap any photos, but here are some photos of the day, courtesy of Rolex and Stephan Cooper.

Still a slalom remaining, tomorrow. But let's face it....the HKR Super-G may indisputably be the biggest SG of the World Cup season, the slalom might be (arguably) the biggest slalom of the season (those from Schladming would disagree), but the Kitzb├╝hel Hahnenkamm-Rennen is all about downhill, and the KSC solidly knocked that one out of the park today. I was happy to be here and happy to have made our not-insignificant contribution.

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