Click image to see the stunt
I would always see these guys at the X-Games and thought it looked kinda fun. But the speeds that they get up to make it pretty dangerous. I saw a couple of specials on TV about lugers biting it and getting really messed up. One dude had his teeth coming through his lower lip. I decided then that maybe I didn't want to mess around with that sport. But of course MTV found a music video with luge in it and managed to talk me into it.
When I got to the site, I was a little unhappy with the stretch of road they had picked out. I figured since this was my first time that I would be on a mellow, wide open road. But no. We happened to be using the same gnarly stretch that the top street lugers practice on. It was steep and narrow with tight curves along a cliff. I was introduced to Bob Peryra and was stoked to find out that he was a really cool guy who was concerned about my safety. Then I met "Digger". This guy concerned me a little bit at first. He was a crazy Australian with a mohawk. But he turned out to be really cool too. I was starting to think that the whole thing might be fun.
Bob and Digger gave me some brief instruction on how to control the luge. The "sled" that they had brought for me was custom designed for my height and weight, and had never been ridden before. I was the test pilot for this brand new luge. I figured that would be a good thing, since all the bolts and stuff would be nice and tight. But Bob told me that it takes many runs on a new sled to fun tune the wheel trucks for the best maneuverability. It was very warm out and he said that more than likely the trucks would be a little loose for my run. He warned me that the sled could get a little squirrelly.
I took a slow drive along the course to get a feel for where all the curves were and what sorts of hazards I needed to look out for. Once I had a good mental picture, we headed up to the top to go for it. When I was completely suited up and the camera truck was in position, Bob, Digger and I all laid down on our sleds and started our run. We slowly picked up speed in the left lane as the camera truck followed close behind in the right lane. I felt comfortable right away and let my sled run free. I could hear Bob yelling to me to drag a foot and slow down. I put my foot out but did not really use it. I wanted to go faster. It felt awesome. Then we approached the first tight turn. I decided now was a good time to slow down. I started to drag my right foot but the luge didn't react like I had expected. It started to fishtail and lose control. I could hear Bob yelling something at me but I did not know what. I was fighting the sled hard at this point to try and get it going straight again. But it had developed a mean case of the speed wobbles and I was drifting into the right lane. I could see the spinning wheel of the truck in my peripheral vision. Things were getting ugly. I was running along the yellow line but managed not to cross over it. My heart was beating so fast. The sled was wobbling so intensely that I thought I was going to flip and get eaten by the camera truck. I could feel the wheels on each side of the luge separating from the pavement. Up ahead of me, the road started to level out. I was determined to at least make it to that point without crashing, then decide whether or not to abort the whole thing. When I got to the mellow stretch, the sled leveled out and I was in control again. I think Bob and Digger thought I was going to stop because they slowed down. But I felt good about the whole thing again and decided to let it rip. I picked up a good amount of speed throughout the rest of the course and kept in control. It was a serious rush. When we all stopped at the end of the course, Bob and Digger both admitted that watching me was one of the more hairy encounters they had experienced in street luge. I was laughing about the whole thing just because I was happy I wasn't being scraped up off the pavement. I had a little bit of road rash on my elbows, but that was it. I have a whole new respect now for those guys who compete in street luge at the X-Games.