Ever hold a casual conversation while driving 130 miles per hour?

How about almost rear end slowpoke going 100? Get passed like you are standing still while going 125? That sums up my Autobahn experience in Tobi’s Audi A6 2.5tdi six speed wagon, boats inside for lower drag…cool.

The trip was really quite laid back except for the driving and some beautiful roads, and the most exciting part, where I picked up my bright red T2!

Arrive in Graz- See the hole for the first time- IT IS NOT THE HOLE ON THE WWW.RODEOWORLDS.COM WEBSITE!!!! IT IS A MUCH BIGGER MEATIER, ONE!!!

I spent much time analyzing the hole on the official website, that hole is called Terminator III, The worlds hole is on river left and is called Terminator IV, and it is a fully cybernetic cyberorganism sent back through time to trash all incoming paddlers from every continent not skilled and mentally prepared for their ultimate eminent battle with this beast. Surfing the hole can best be described if you can imagine yourself in a cage during the ultimate fighting championships. You go in willingly, but when things start going awry, you can’t just say time-out and expect the beast you are fighting to lighten up, they get worse.

Each side of the hole is protected with reactionary holes that feed you back into the pit anytime you say “I want out”, and don’t have the precision, timing, and power to back up your request. Certainly, you can stay upright, most of the time, but it seems that those most in need of air, get the most ends, the most abuse, and certainly, the longest rides.

Make no mistake, I am not afraid, nor do I wish the hole were easier for my own paddling pleasure. I truly enjoy the challenge. I have, however, watched the other three paddlers besides Tobi and myself in the hole. One of them took three beatings and left. One took two beatings and left. Another, a German K-1W paddler who got second last year, Jutta, goes in for ride after ride. She has a great combination of power skill, and sometimes epic crashes. In one workout, about 10 rides, she lost her helmet, twice, and spent another minute trying to get out of the hole with no helmet. She will do well in this worlds, why?.. because, she goes hard, and isn’t afraid. The hole is what it is, and that’s all I can say. There will be many tears shed during the event, most because of traumatic experiences with the Terminator IV (makes Arnold look like a wimp) Junior women and C-1’s will be the ones to watch if you are a NASCAR fan because of the crashes.

For those of you wanting specific feedback, like what kind of moves you can do…
Loops (air is difficult), and every other hole move. Any questions? Blunts too by the way, backstabs if you are really, really good.

I have 24 more days, 44 more workouts, 2000+ rides left, plenty of time to take my hits, and keep on swinging.

Where in the World is Graz anyway? That was my first question when they asked to host the 2003 world championships. Well, now I know, check it out.

Graz is in South East Austria, near Slovenia (formerly Yugoslavia, and host to the Soca River, worth the trip) It is also only 3 hours from Venice, ahh, Venice… Sorry.

Graz has about 800,000 people according to Tobi, don’t know exactly, but it is a fair sized city. What I do know is that the hole is under the busiest bridge in the city, and that part of the city is like a little Manhattan. Tight streets with trolley’s carrying people everywhere, haven’t ridden one yet to know what’s up with them. I just walk everywhere. No rent a car. I get up and eat breakfast, then walk my boat about 100 yards to the river, put in for a warm-up and paddle downstream about ¼ of a mile to the hole, practice, then walk home. On the way home, I stop at a bar (always open) and buy a shot of Tequilla. The purpose is quite honorable, actually. My slalom coach, Sylvan, told me a shot will kill any unwanted guests you may have picked up in the river. This is not a clean river, I am afraid.

Afterwards, there is anything you could want at your fingertips. Internet café’s, quaint restaurants of all types, with chairs set right on the cobblestone streets. Shopping like you wouldn’t believe (I don’t know if my family can resist the temptation, scary). I seem to enjoy the bakery, the butcher, and Petro’s Pizza on the hill most.

I could go on an on about Graz. It will be my home for 6 weeks this year, and three weeks last year. I am glad about that. I wish my family were here today, instead of
another week from now, they will love it.

The only scary thing is the “silent killers”. Like vampires, but more deadly. The trains. They make no sound (for me, who is ½ deaf, or my son who is 2/3’s deaf) and they run all day along the streets right next to the sidewalk. One step off the sidewalk at a bad time and you are road kill. I will have to drill my son hard to be aware, scary to say the least.

Tomorrow I will try the floating Island created for Graz by a New York architect, supposed to be famous, but I am not up on those things. The island has a coffee bar on it and was created for the “Culture Capital of Europe” which was awarded to Graz in 2003.