Velosolutions Pump Track Thailand
Claudio Calouri doesn’t just run the Scott Gstaad Team during the race season he builds some of the nicest looking pump tracks all over the world. We’ve seen a few bangers on the past but this new one sets the bar pretty high! Here’s the word from Claudio:
When I got that email from Thailand, asking about a Velosolutions Pump Track, i thought: How cool would it be if we could build an asphalt pump track in Asia! But really, I didn’t see the chances of this dream coming true very high. 5 months and 120 emails later, Adrien Loron and I (Claudio Caluori) were on the plane to Thailand, to one of our most ambitious projects so far. Knowing how tough it is to build an asphalt pump track even in Europe, we were quiet nervous asking ourselves if we were going to brave the heat combined with the hard work. And if it was even possible to build the largest pure pump track i’ve designed so far within one month. (Zurich was bigger, but it included a BMX track and a jump track). Will they have the right tools, machines, materials, will they have enough motivated workers, will be get the asphalt that we ordered?
Well, our boss calmed us down by taking us out for a whiskey right after we arrived in Aranyaprathet, next to the Cambodian border. And another one. And another one. Oh well, we had to finish that bottle.
First morning on site, our main concern was not actually the construction, but just to get our heads straight again. Soon we realized that this was the pattern for every day for the whole month. Our livers must have been loving it. But also, we soon realized that even though everything seemed to be chilled (except for the weather), everything seemed to run smooth, easy, without any stress, friendly, happy, always with a smile, we advanced faster than ever before. Adrian and I could not explain why we never seemed to get tired even though we didn’t sleep at night, why everybody always seemed to be in a good mood, the Thai workers were happy working barefooted, we were never in a hurry, but the pump track became reality just like on the drawing, quicker than we would have dared dreaming.
If we needed couple of rakes, they welded 10 for us, if we needed a truck modified, they modified 2 of them. We couldn’t believe how easy they made it for us.
Still, I must say, I’ve never sweat so much in my entire life. Adrian and I sometimes had to step away from the asphalt for a couple of seconds, just to make sure not to pass out due to the heat, before attacking it again. Soon, we became addicted to the spicy Thai food that kept us sweating during breakfast, lunch and dinner, and last but not least, I had to escape from the ladyboys pretty much every night, so the sweating was going on 24/7.
You might be asking who we were building this huge pump track for. Who could actually afford a bike to ride it. In fact, I was wondering the same thing. There is a shanty town right next to the pump track, and it felt quiet awkward building such an expensive track next to it. But in fact, the kids from the shanty town were the first ones to take over the pump track and ride it all day long, on their trash bikes, with broken off pedals, barefooted on the axle. I asked the boss (who doesn’t want to be named here) if he was going to leave this open and free for everybody, even when he builds a hotel next to it. He said yes, he will. This pump track is for the whole town. There is only one thing I can say. Thank you.