Angie’s Curves 2013[wptouch target=”mobile”]
We had arrived late on Friday night to the aftermath of a raging party. Empty beer bottles, tents, smoldering camp fires. It was exactly the kind of scene you would have expected from a camp site occupied by a swath of hyped downhill skateboarders. However, despite the drunken stupor of the evenings exploits, there was an odd sense of tension in the air. Everyone had seen the videos, experienced briefly what it was they were up against. This wasn’t like anything anyone had raced before. There was no denying the fact that the track was something different, something new. So, much like soldiers preparing for battle, participants partied hard, sharing one last night of uninhibited jubilation before they were to set out to do battle with the various high speed twists and turns of Angie’s Curves.
The blinding white light of the morning sun coaxed riders from there sudsy induced slumber. The sound of tent zippers and rustling sleeping bags against nylon tent floors signaled the start of mobilization. Practice began at nine, and everyone eager to get to the hill was wasting no time. Roughly an hour later and I was on the course, hiking the hill in search of proper vantage points. Riders posted up beneath tents, adorning leathers, tightening axles, kissing talisman, receiving last rights (not really, but you get the idea). Angie’s Curves was very rapidly shaping up to be one hell of a race.
A solid day of practice, sunburn, and an ever busy duo of ambulance drivers later, and day two of Angie’s Curves had come to a close. With the race looming in the morning, racers retired to a quiet night of counting blessings and self reflection. Unlike the previous evening, the campsite on the night before race day was calm. The raging party was replaced by hushed vigils held around hissing gas lanterns. Teams congregated and discussed tactics, lines, where to grip and where to drift. It had been a hellish day of trial and error, but in the morning, it was no holds bar. Everyone knew that if they were going to be in contention for the $5000 dollar first place prize, they had to be focused. Saturday was an early evening.
Sunday morning, race day. I fumbled my way up the rocky cliff for a good view of the action. Telephoto lens mounted, I was ready to capture the carnage. Practice runs had started up a little past nine and already Angie’s was beginning to claim victims. With the hiss of spinning bearings and urethane wheels, riders blasted past my location, making their way down the long arching straight and out of view into the high speed chicane section. Every other run however, you could spot the ambulance flip on it’s lights and hurriedly drive off in a cloud of dust towards the bottom. Tensions running high as everyone clambered about to find the nearest course worker with a radio. “Rider down, rider down, send support”. This may have been a skateboard race, but it was beginning to feel more like a game of Russian roulette.
As the day wained on and racers began to either drop off the bracket or injure themselves fighting for a spot, people began making assumptions as to who they thought was going to win it. James Kelly had been looking clean through the turns the whole day, rumored to have been clocked at 67mph through the chicane and looking completely committed to all the speed sections, it had turned into a battle between him and the unrelenting Duke Degan. Through the semi’s, and even into the finals, both riders looked so dialed it was hard to see who was going to take it. With so much talent on the hill that afternoon, it almost become a question as to who could push it the hardest without getting broken off first. All the riders finishing out may have been of the top notch caliber, but in the end, it was the California kid James Kelly first at the line. Summing it up though, it had really become a race of survival and dedication. All of the survivors knowing full well just how serious of a competition this had just been.[sam id=”8″ codes=”true”]
So with the race over and the shadows growing long, I packed up my camera and headed back to LA. Angie’s Curves had woo’ed us all into a love affair with the limit. A fiery moment of passion that chided many on, only to leave them hospitalized and broken hearted. The risks may have been grand, but you can bet on the fact that it’s not going to stop any one of the numerous riders who felll victim to her voluptuous lines from coming back for another go next year.
An enormous thanks to Louis Pilloni, Sector 9 Skateboards, S1 Helmets, The Tilmann Foundation, all of the volunteers, and basically everyone who came out and got involved. It was nothing short of fantastic and I can’t wait for next year!
Thanks for reading, now go outside and go faster.