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.