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Anyone Who Participates In Red Bull Crashed Ice Races Is Certifiably Insane (Video/Pics)

Joel Koyama, Star Tribune

The Twin Cities area has been abuzz all week over the upcoming 2012 Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championships on Jan. 12-14. More than 60,000 spectators are expected in downtown St. Paul for a race where crazy competitors on skates race down a 1/4 mile track reaching speeds of nearly 40 miles-per-hour.

Preparations for the event are just about finished where organizers had to construct a track which has been erected and begins near the St. Paul Cathedral (above) with a two-story starting gate. From there, it goes down the Cathedral’s steps, over a bridge and down a steep slope to the finish line.

Some background on the just-a-little-over 10-year-old sport, via the Star Tribune:

The sport has existed for only about a dozen years. It was born when an adventurous — and probably somewhat inebriated — Austrian hockey player snuck onto a bobsled run to see if he could skate down it. As if that weren’t enough of a challenge, the sport’s founders decided to throw in jumps, bumps and steep banked turns.

The generic name for this mayhem is ice cross downhill, a label that reflects its blending of elements from skating, skiing and boardercross (snowboard racing). Crashed Ice, the title of this series of races, offers an additional nod to what happens to many of the racers. Falls are such a part of the race that competitors are required to wear full hockey or motocross protective gear.

So, in essence, it’s a bit like bobsledding without the need for a conveyance, or luge only the racers don’t lay on their backs. Just a bunch of insane racers standing on their two feet (which are fitted with razor sharp skate blades) with all his or her bones and skull exposed to the terrifying track. Jebus.

The 2012 Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championship season preview video follows.

Yamma hamma.

Some more information on the St. Paul track:

This track includes a hairpin turn that consists of a steeply banked, 16-foot-tall wall, the highest wall ever constructed on one of these tracks. The skaters come out of the turn to face a double jump in which the fastest competitors will try to get enough altitude coming off the first jump to clear the gap between the two hurdles.

The track’s designer, Joachim Poelzl of Austria, said through an interpreter that he wanted to ensure that Minnesotans who have spent their lives on skates wouldn’t find it too easy.

“We needed to design a course that would challenge ‘the hockey state,'” he said.

Yeah, as a lifelong resident of “The Hockey State,” watching the construction of the track and the above video makes me completely certain even Minnesotans won’t find the track too easy. Especially the crazy Minnesotans, who are the only ones who are unhinged enough to risk life and limb speeding down that bad boy. Criminy.

Photo: Tom Wallace

Via:

The high-speed 406-meter track in Saint Paul features a steep 45-degree starting ramp with a kicker that will produce the sport’s longest jumps ever. The vertical drop is 40 meters and the track also includes a bridge drop, bumps, and double bumps.

Photo: Joel Koyama

Yeah, not interested. Thanks but no thanks.