The Lone Racer

My biggest issue with this “sport” I love so dearly is the fact that I am most often riding alone. That is to say, I am not riding with any other ‘lugers but I am always accompanied by a hapless sap that somehow agreed to drive me up and down hills.

I must add here that the locations I choose to ride always provide some awesome scenery in some unique places so I usually get few complaints from the driver. One of my favorite runs is an hour and a half away but it also has great swimming and awesome hiking within minutes of the ‘luging.

It would be more fun if I had another street luger to ride with but an open road can be a dangerous place to play. Clearly its safety first and egos second; competition should always be saved for the hay baled lined, traffic free closed roads found at a Gravity Sport event. That doesn’t mean I’m not gonna ride a “hot drop” once and a while. I have to practice and test gear somewhere, right?

Here is a run I took with my street luge. You’ll notice I am a bit slower than my Classic Luge. This is why you clean and maintain your bearings, folks. Follow me downhill.

Good Hill Hunting part 2

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My favorite time of the year around New England is definitely October. The leaves are blasting, the air is crisp, the mosquitoes have died off and the roads have not yet received their first coat of salted sand that renders them useless to lugers ’til April. The looming winter is adequate incentive to pinch off those precious last runs of the season.

fall run from Tim Novak on Vimeo.

To experience the fall foliage AND ride a street luge, you’re gonna have to take a day off in the middle of the week. The leaf peepers clog the roads of New England throughout the fall season but the weekends are brutal, vehicles full of sweater wearing rubberneckers snapping pictures and pointing at colors. It is not a good idea to be on the same roads as tourists looking at the leaves and NOT the road.

But what a treat it is when you can combine leaf peeping with high speed hill hunting. You never know what you’re going to see when you’re out in the middle of nowhere looking for hills. Check out the new friend I made in Rowe , Massachusetts:

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Good Hill Hunting

While I’m sad the Street Luge race season is over (for me, anyway…), it does inspire me to go out on the hunt for awesome new roads. I love driving around the rural areas of New England seeking those hidden downhill gems, my Gazetteer at my side as I rubberneck every road leading uphill. I have found some incredible tracks in Western Mass. The video below features a road that has become a favorite. Not too curvy, it offers smooth pavement, good visibility, low traffic and HIGH SPEED.

opening day, downhill from Tim Novak on Vimeo.

There are some telltale signs, literal signs, that will guide you as you search for runs. Look for roads with names like “Mountain Road”, “Ridge Top Street”, any street with “Hill” in the name. My favorite street name that seems to exist in every other New England town: “Break Neck Hill Road”. More great Gravity Sport tracks can also be found in State Forests and Parks. You’ll have to respect the park rules or ride when it is closed like I did on this run. Watch out for pedestrians…

wachusett morning from Tim Novak on Vimeo.

Sometimes a roadtrip to another state reveals a whole new mountain range of high speed possibilities. While headed to breakfast before a freeride in Pennsylvania in 2010, I discovered this newly paved piece of perfection called Right Hand Gap Road.

Right Hand Gap Run from Tim Novak on Vimeo.