Saturday, July 17, 2010

Europeans Day 5

Today was looking brillant with strong climbs and high cloudbase. We decided on a long task of 197kms with 4 turnpoints taking us over the breath taking views of the Sierra Ferrera ridge.
The launch is always so hectic since it is an open window with 100 pilots so I have just been waiting untill last to takeoff to avoid unneccessary stress. Yesterday it probably did not work in my advantage as we had to fly more than 8kms to the start circle and I only had 25 mins to climb and do that.
Needless to say I had a bad start on the 1st gate but I had to go since it was such a long task and everyone else was going. My first thermal was 1000fpm climb but the lead gaggle was about 5kms in front and much higher.
I rounded the 1st TP and pushed hard and hit a good climb as I watched the lead gaggle detour upwind. This was good for me as I knew that this would give me a chance to catch up on the Racing ridge(Sierra Ferrera).
I left the thermal I was in when I knew that I could make it to this fast ridge and glided off after the lead guys. I arived just at ridge height about 7th pilot to the ridge just behind Gerolf. I just kept gliding fast and did not make the big detour in deep like the guys in front of me did.
I stayed on the front ridge and cut the corner and eventually hit a 800fpm climb. I did about 5 circles and then headed off again around the corner and hit a 1000fpm climb which now has put me into the lead with Martin and Tom above me.
Attila joined me and we all raced down the end of the ridge to the turnpoint leaving Gerolf behind. coming back to the ridge from the TP sucked as the wind was funneling down the valley. We arrived above the low ridge and hit good lift and kept gliding.
I once again went more straight line not going deep in the hills like Attila and others did. I had a good run and hit a 600fpm climb at the end of the ridge and the others joined back up. Tom was pushing hard along with Attila and we all flew together for the next bit.
The Racing ridge(sierra Ferrera)
I pushed on low after not stopping for a climb that Attila and Tom got off to my right and had to take a light climb. They went over my head high, but soon enough my thermal kicked to 800fpm and I climbed to 9500 and soon went gliding over Tom and came in above Attila 15kms from TP 3.
I was now leading with gaegu and Martin into the 3rd TP. I hit a good 900fpm climb on the big mountains and skyed out. Attila somehow must have hit a good climb behind and soon came gliding into us.
Some of the others went straight line and almost caught us back up at the 3rd TP. I left the thermal early rounded the TP and headed back down the ridge for the last TP.
I ran into Alex about 8kms back and hit a 1000fpm climb and the others came in below me. Alex was blowing kisses at me in the air and I could not resist but to blow one back to the World Champion.
I left on a 9.8:1 to goal side by side with Mario and Attila and Tom hot on our heels. Gaegu must have stayed in the climb untill he could not see and as we hit lots of sink around the last TP I could see him coming high behind us.
I rounded the turnpoint and was not in position to be flying flat stick to goal and over the next few kms just before Goal Gaegu over took me. I managed to ground effect and then cross the goal line with no height to spare.
Mario will be next in followed by Attilla and Tom less than 1 minute behind. Gerolf will be next in about 7 mins behind us. There was a gap of about 10 mins more before the next gaggle arrived.
About 55 pilots made the 197kms task and I completed it in 3hrs 25mins 11 seconds behind Gaegu. This was one of the most spectacular flights I have ever had, with good conditions and scenery that you will never forget.
Here is task 4's video.
Friday, July 16, 2010

Europeans Day 4

After some low clouds early this morning they lifted and weset a challenging 112km task. I was nearly last to launch again and climbed out but did not take the 1st start as I was not in a great postion.
I waited for the next start gate and was in an even worse spot but I had no choice but to go as I knew we would struggle with the seebreeze at goal. Just about everyone did the 2nd start. I flew only 13kms downwind in the first 30 mins of my flight. I started low and just had to scratch my way to the first turnpoint.
Heading back to the hills from the 1st turnpoint. I eventually met up with Carl, Primoz and a few others and we pushed hard trying to catch the lead gaggle. Just before the 2nd turnpoint we hit a good thermal on the flatlands which allowed us to go straight line. We caught up a lot of time on the pilots that did the 1st start gate. I managed to come gliding into the lead gaggle now at the 2nd turnpoint and we all climbed slowly as we were in high ground. I started pushing with Carl and a few others to try and get my leading points up as I had been so far behind for the first half of the flight. We ended up in a gaggle of about 30 pilots 40kms from goal. The gaggle spilt into 2 as we broke away from the others. My glider was going well in comparison to others in the headwind. Gerolf was gliding the best like usal and he had control of the gaggle. I heard that there was quite strong wind headwind at goal so I was conservitive on final and that cost me some places but I still finished 8th 46seconds behind Gerolf who will win the day.
Gerolf 1st, Mario second, looking happy at goal. Pilots kept slowly coming into goal for the next hour or so and a total of 44 pilots made the challenging task.
Here is Day 4's video


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Day 3 cancelled

Here is a little letter from Gerolf as he had to much time off yesterday.. Freaking Bloggers! Why don't they give us the real news? (Ager, Spain) Gerolf writes: Woke up early this morning shook awake by some kind of strange nightmare, that maybe yesterday’s task didn’t actually happen and my current lead in the Comp was nothing more but a sweet illusion. I quickly grabbed the laptop to check for scores as I hadn’t seen any last night – but of course there was no scores to be found on the official site YET AGAIN (we are in Spain, for those who read the Oz Report infrequently, “manana”-country so to speak). So I decide moving on to the Oz Report for clues (always my next source of wisdom), but all I find is numerous blog links with no results but just a short Jamie comment that the conditions and task were similar than the day before, and so were the issues with the scoring. Yeah, and also the mountains were still in the same spot as the day before :-) I’m all in a frenzy now. I click onto her blog hoping at least to learn some more on how Carl is feeling these days and find out quickly that him and Gordon where the first in from the Brits. What a relief – at least the Brits did well! I log onto the DHV blog. The DHV site usually covers very well the life and times of Primoz Gricar, and as he often ends up in the lead gaggle, I am thinking I might even learn something about my own flight this way. But this morning Regina is more focused on the important fact that Life-tracking isn’t a very reliable technology – at least in the hands of hang glider pilots - and it basically works only in one of six cases on average. I had a hunch about this all along :-) I’m surfing on. On Matjaz’ site we learn that the nights are acceptably cool but the bugs are unacceptably nasty here around, especially at the campsite. Did you know? Matjaz is also a big fan of Primoz and reveals to us how they started low but got up and high and then low and then high again and … and to spoil the whole story … in the end both made goal including all the other Slovenians. And what about ME? I got to find out now, I got to move on. But Daphne is still reflecting about the opening ceremony where she met nice friends and all, and there is also a cute video of her boyfriend being sprog-tested – I quickly realize I might not find much about task flying on here. I move on to Corinna’s World. If you’re into facts, this site isn’t for you. But, it’s got some surreal quality to it. Corinna has this rare talent to present the reader with an “alternative reality”, if I may word it this way. But this morning I’m desperate enough to give it a peek. And, as if I knew it – drama, drama. Air had come in the camel bag and as if that was not enough already it turns out a dextrose bit – I’m not making this up - carefully taped to her helmet, came lose - just before landing. Can you believe it? And, you guessed it right: no dextrose, no good landing. The cruel reality of hang gliding! If this isn’t grabbing you right away, what is? But then there it is - thank you Corinna - just as I was about to click you away, a little side comment of a side comment so to speak, kind of a by-the-way thing: Gerolf won the day, followed by Blay and Johnny. Finally it’s out. And I can go back to bed… …wondering what this blog world has come to? Hey, you reporters, writers and part-time poets: this Comp isn’t about YOU and your friends. This is about ME, ME, ME and Balazs (and Gordon to some extend) Well, at least as long as we top those lists. After that it will be about the Blays and Johnnys, the Attilas and Christians, Alex’ and Primoz’, Martins and Marios or who else will make the story of the comp in the days to come. So please, give us a lead story here for crying out loud. Try to cover at least some of the plot of the day – tell us, what really matters for the results to finally come out the way they do! Don’t get me wrong. We all love you interest in personal side shows. Your gossip stories and odd looks at things. But such “coverage” should be done in ADDITION to the main plain task facts, not in EXCHANGE for it! Clearly Gerolf does not read my blog otherwise he would have seen himself on video and all with the words clearly written Day 2 winner..:-) Not to mention videoing him while flying in his last thermal before winning the day..
Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Europeans Day 2

Today's forecast was for slightly stronger winds and lower ceiling. We set a 91km task and as it turns out was far to short. I waited on launch for a long time as it was not so great and pilots were even landing in front of us. I finally took off and climbed out and did the 2nd start with just about everyone. I went left of course and had a good run with Martin, Primoz and others. We were in the lead gaggle and I was pushing hard but made a mistake after the 1st turnpoint. I tried to head more headwind to get under some clouds but never got the lift and the rest of my gaggle went on courseline and hit some good thermals. I spent the next 20 mins catching back up and finally caught then just after the 2nd turnpoint. I was with Gerolf and he kept going on glide for the last turnpoint and I detoured to the others as they were climbing but not fast. As soon as I got there Blay saw Gerolf flying past and followed him and I was very indecisive on what to do. I stayed for awhile but the thermal never kicked and soon left for the last turnpoint. The others stayed back and climbed untill they saw me climbing just before the last turnpoint. I topped up and went on final glide at 10:1 and made it easy. Gerolf will win the day with Blay coming 2nd and me 3rd. 70 pilots made goal and about 50 or more were within 20 mins of the winners score. Was a great racing day and tomorrow it is supposed to be even better. I will move into 4th place behind Gerolf, Balazs and Gordon. MOyes boys are going well having 8 in the top 10 after 2 days of flying. Here is todays video.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Europeans Day 1

The task comittee consisting of Gerolf,Pedro and I came up with a 134km task with 4 turnpoints. The task took us back into the big mountains and gave us some breath taking views along the course. The flying around launch was difficult and many times I found myself way below the gaggle and launch. We waited for the last start at 3:30pm hoping for the weather to get better. At the time of the last start I was no more than 200m off the ground infront of launch and thought my day was coming to an end. I hit a dust devil over the landing field and climbed back out to around 6,000ft. I was now 15 mins late in the start and could see the others in outer space about 10kms in front of me. All of a sudden a gaggle joined me which had Attila, Martin,Primoz and few other good pilots. I was now a little happier knowing that we had a good gaggle to push along with. I was flying with 2 sets of instruments and a camera on my basebar and I felt like a tourist all day. I was thinking half way along the course that I was coming about 60th for the day and I was just trying to push with Attila and Martin to catch up. I made a good moove 3/4 of the way along doing a long glide and not stopping untill I hit a good thermal. I rounded the 3rd turnpoint with 20kms to go I could see the first pilot crossing goal below me. I thought Ohh my ive really been flogged. I did a glide out in the valley and was rewarded with a 500fpm climb with Attila. Alex and many others came in below us and we left on final at 11:1. We rounded the last turnpoint then headed back for goal and our glide was now down to 8:1. I manged to cross the line I think 11th but there were a few that had started 30 mins before me. I should finish up somewhere in the top 10, which is a great result considering the bad start. I think Balazs will win the day finishing about 15 mins in front of me. I believe there were about 30 pilots in goal with some very good pilots not there. Blay did not make it or Christain Ciech. I flew for 5 hrs and at this rate I will be dead by the end of this 12 day comp. Unfortunatley My camera was flat so there will be no Video for today but I promise you that you will see some amazing videos this week.. Stay tuned.