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Racing News:

Eddy Matzger Plans 'Skate Farm' in Blue Ridge Mountains

25-Acre Retreat Would Include 200- and 400-Meter Tracks and Mile-long Grand Prix Racecourse

By Robert "Just the Factoids" Burnson

What do you do next if you've already won every race, skated every corner of the Planet, and mastered every nuance of inline skating?

If you're the inimitable Eddy Matzger, you build a "skate farm" high up in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Toward that end, Matzger is in the process of buying a 25-acre farm along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Floyd, Virginia.

Matzger says Floyd -- with an elevation of 3000 feet and a population of 432 -- makes a perfect setting for his project.

"It's gorgeous country," he says. "There's the Buffalo Mountain Nature Preserve nearby -- and a winery. There are lots of hiking trails, and only a couple of cars on the road."

Matzger envisions the skate farm as a place where skaters can come together to learn, train and race.

For starters, he plans to build a 200-meter track, where he can hold his popular Eddy Matzger workshops.

Later, he plans to add a 400-meter track and the racecourse of his dreams: a mile-long, rolling Grand Prix track, complete with uphills, downhills, straightaways and even a chicane (corkscrew) turn.

"I want to do the ultimate roller-coaster racecourse," he says.

Fortunately, Matzger has some experience with road building. As a geology student at the University of California-Berkeley, he learned to design roads using topographic maps.

But that doesn't mean he can do it all on his own. He is hoping skaters will pitch in to help build the tracks and that sponsors -- private, public and corporate -- will help foot the bill.

Building the tracks won't be cheap. Matzger estimates the cost at $100 per foot.

Matzger, who lives in Berkeley but travels regularly to give workshops and attend races, plans to spend several months each year at the skate farm.

He hopes to open it in as little as two years.

(posted on June 16, 2005)


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