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** Please note that I am no champion spellar.
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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Pre-Worlds Day 4 (task 3)

Today was good! Gary's weather forecast was right on the money so a 100 mile triangle was called. A race start was also declared and pilots 1 thru 31 were required to take the second start which meant you had to be in a good position when 2:15 came around... I barely made it into a good position but ended up have a good start with everyone else.

About 50 gliders all took off for the first turn point about 60km out. After 2 climbs pilots were littered all along the course line and the race was well underway. I was following some good pilots who had good lines picked out and it was mellow...although the first few thermals were like cage-match wrestling with prision rules (no rules). We were getting close to the turn point when a few of the pilots I was gliding with went for a new cloud off to the left (a little left of course line) and I spotted Jonny in a climb in a more direct route to the turn point and faded to the right and did my own thing - it paid off. I made the turn point just behind Jonny and was on my way to the second turn point with about 30 pilots going the opposite direction to tag the first turn point - thats a good feeling. The next two climbs were rockets to 9500ft msl and I was in the lead gaggle. Someing happened in the next climb though, I am not exactly sure what, and I missed the climb and got left behind. I scratched around low for a minute then the whole area lit up with dust devils (one guy actually flew into one and tumbled and had to deploy his chute). I finally got a good climb and hooked up with Kraig Coomber and we set out back on course for the 2nd turn point.

I thought we were behind because we both got low and had spent some time getting back to cloubbase but when we were about 4.5kms fromt he turnpoint everyone was there (jonny, attila, gerolf, phil, etc) and at that point I felt like i was back in the game.

Me, Jonny, Kraig, and Jeff O'brian rounded the turnpoint and took a nice lifty line towards goal with the leaders in site.

Several good strong climbs to base and we had the airport in site. I was with Jonny and Kraig and we were a little faned out looking for the best line and climb as we approached the airport.

My vario started to tell me it I had goal but we did a bit more climbing because I knew we were going to get into stronger wind as we decended. I was chasing Jonny and all the way to goal and just made the goalline in ground effect about 45 seconds behind Jonnny! I placed 7th for the day and that has moved me into 8th place overall. Its very exciting!

Now I just need to stay calm and continue to fly the glider...

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Pre-worlds Day One

Today was the first day of the 2006 pre-world hang gliding championships and the weather was great! I had a bad start but raced hard and ended up making goal with a good time. 78 miles is 2 hours 6 minutes and some change. Because of my awful start I flew most of the task alone, which forced me to make my own decisions; some paid-off as I managed to pass groups of thermaling gliders all along the coarse line. I usually screw up the first day of a comp but things worked out today.

This is a photo of me coming off the cart taken by Ben Cross.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Texas Skies!

After staying up with Jonny til nearly 6AM this morning and having a short sleep, I woke up to really nice skies in Big Spring.
Cumulus clouds and cloud streets everywhere, winds out of the south at around 10-12 mph, big dust devils, etc. This afternoon it over-developed in a few spots and spawned a few showers in the distant but nothing that couldn't be flown around. Cloudbase was around 7k AGL. If this weather holds we could be in for some great flying and a great comp.

No flying today as we don't have clearance from the airport to tow until Friday but maybe we will get to fly tomorrow.

People are already beginning to trickle in and the vibe is good. Bo, Jim Prahl, Russel, Bobby, Lisa, and more from the Quest crew showed up today, as well as the Japanese, French, Norwegian, and Netherlands pilots.

Jonny and I took the Netherland pilots Koos and Hadewych bowling tonight and had a good time. Afterwards Jonny and I had dinner in the truck stop next door followed by video bowling (I won at the real and video versions) and a tour of the massive truckstop.

Its now 1:50 AM and since we are behaving like night-owls I think we are going to throw frisbee in the truckstop parking lot... we just need to fly something - anything.

LA, Texas, and Beyond...

So... Jonny, Attila, and I just checked in to the Whitten Inn (formerly Super 8) in Big Spring, TX at 3 AM and I am exhausted after a 19 hour trip - but it was a good time.

I hosted Jonny in Los Angeles for about a week before we left for Texas and we had a really good time hanging out and getting gear together for the trip. Read Jonny's blog for the details. Good times.

The drive out to Texas was nice; we drove through a variety of spectacular weather (especially AZ), had movies in the car, and listened to interesting stories from Attila. I am very excited to be here in Big Spring again as this is where I had my first competition last year (won the sport class) and got addicted to racing hang gliders. I am looking forward to having good time this year and doing my best - and hopefully that will produce a good result for my ranking in the US.

Stay tuned...