Riding a luge down a mountain on the asphalt of a backwoods road sounds like a fun idea on paper. In fact, all street luge excursions do. You’re alone with just the blue sky staring down at you and the overhanging trees blurring into a sea of browns, yellows and reds. Occasionally, a car zooms past in the opposite lane, so you have to be careful you don’t cross the yellow line. Aside from the cars, traveling close to 100 mph a scant 3 inches from the ground isn’t exactly safe.
Since it’s a backwoods road, paramedics wouldn’t arrive for a while if you were to crash, but the solitude of the road and the speed at which you’re moving probably extinguish all those thoughts. The descent and concentration required to stay on the road becomes almost meditative, except for the howling wind.
The video above shows luge legend Paul Busse’s “raw” run back in November of 2010. He’s been riding a street luge for years now, but this video’s POV really conveys just how fast these guys are going. Two minutes into the video, Busse veers wildly into the left-hand lane and nearly crashes into the adjacent guardrail.
More than anything, he’s lucky that he doesn’t encounter more cars, because he crosses the double yellow line in many spots and cars do pass him. Around the 4:40 mark, he has to come practically to a stop as he barely avoids one such car. Occasionally, we see him slow himself down with this sneakers and hand break because he’s either going too fast to make the turn or he’s going at such an alarming speed, his tunnel vision won’t allow him to see the turn in time.
Busse flies down the twisting road so promptly that by 6:30 in the video, the wheels of his luge are shot…but not as shot as his sneakers from constantly slowing his momentum, and certainly not as shot as our frayed nerves watching him.
At first you think Busse’s ride will be a pleasant sojourn down the mountain, but it quickly becomes evident this is not a casual ride in the country. After he finally comes to a rest, he repeatedly says, “That was gnarly,” and finally exclaims “I didn’t think I was gonna make it through that.” We didn’t either.
This is how Adrenalists relax.