Significant Competitive Results:
A PORTRAIT OF THE ATHLETE © 1997 ESPN
"It's kind of disheartening," says Dave Auld. "These guys take it SO seriously."
He's referring to the luge racers who have nothing in their lives but luge. Auld,
to the contrary, is a successful Quality Services Manager for Nabisco, and luge
is just for fun.
The 32-year-old Auld says, "I've always been interested
in speed." Among his hobbies are, of course, Street Luge, riding motorcycles,
sailing, and bicycling. He did his first century (100-mile ride) on his bicycle
in 1996."Never again," he declares. Auld also enjoys rock climbing, hiking, and
is well-spoken and mild-mannered, as a 12-year executive with a major company
should be. He got his degree in food science at the University of Massachusetts,
then lived in New Jersey until about two years ago. He then transferred with Nabisco
to California. That gave him a perfect chance to get more involved with Street
Dave Auld says his parents aren't crazy about his hobby of luge, but they tolerate
it. "My folks like it much more than the motorcycle," he says. Even after he broke
his leg luging, "It still doesn't faze them," he says. His father has actually
come to California to watch him race. All the rest of his family and friends have
had a chance to see his exploits on video tape.
THE EARLY YEARS--TODAY
Auld was introduced to Street Luge about "five or six years ago", when he was
on a business trip to California.He says he got to the Golden State a week after
a French film crew had shot his friend Darren Lott riding his mahogany board.
(They called it "The Flying Carpet" board, because the top of it was padded with
carpeting.) Lott was still excited about the film shoot the week before, and was
anxious to show Auld how to luge. Auld describes the "Flying Carpet" board as
being about six inches wide at the front, and flat, unlike RAIL-style boards,
which drop down low to the ground between the front and rear trucks. He says the
board didn't extend behind the rider's head, which meant he had to hold his head
up for the duration of the run.
Dave built his own board after that experience, and
he luged with his friends in California whenever he was able to get out there
on business. He was even able to race in a few organized competitions while traveling
on business. That was the routine for several years, before he moved out to California.
Now he's a regular on the EDI circuit, with a career-best third-place finish.
Dave prefers the EDI rules to the more restrictive RAIL
rules. "It's extremely open," he says. "You can use lots of different materials."
His team is called "Sportin' Wood", a take on their use of only wood boards. Teammates
include fellow X Gamer Darren Lott and EDI amateur luger John Cazine. A third
teammate, Dave Parry, was killed in a stand-up skateboarding race in Tuscany Hills,
EDI, according to Auld, is enjoyable because one can show up the day of the race
and still be allowed to compete. He says that means more open racing. "They do
a good job of putting on races," he says.
If he could change something in the sport, Auld says he's like to see more wood
boards in luging. "People can afford wood," he says. "All you need is a hand saw,
a hammer, and a screwdriver, and you can put together a safe board." He adds that
many people would like to get involved in racing, but can't because of the restrictive
costs of fabricating aluminum boards. Some people, he says, want to ban wood boards
from the X Games because they believe they're not strong enough. "They make airplanes
out of wood," he says.
In May 1996, Auld broke his leg while riding with friends in the Sierra Nevada
Mountains, near Mt. Whitney. He says there were cattle grates across the road.
He successfully stopped for the first one he encountered, walked across it, then
continued on. He didn't see the second one until it was too late. "I almost made
it," he says. His leg got caught in the third or fourth rail from the end while
he was braking.