Sunday, June 13, 2010

Rat Race - Day Won

Home Sweet Home
Well not realy "won", but for me it was a good day - I made my goal and that was goal.

Our Northwest Team of Doc K, Steve Thibault, Chris Amonson and myself, AKA as the Baldy Bast...ds did well Chris was second to goal, Steve and I made it as well and Doc K on his 1-2 came in just a few hundred m short.
It was a fabulous day of flying. The conditions were perfect and the task was set to give everyone a chance. Some folk got unlucky on timing and were flushed but a large number of pilots made goal.
Top of lift was between 7,400 and 8,000. My best was in the neighborhood of 7,400. As planned both today and yesterday I was near the front of the launch line. Even so I had to wait for a couple of wings to fire off before I was up on launch.

The cycle I took was just enough to get my wing over head but that was it. – I ran down hill backwards keeping my just inflated wing as dead center over my head as I could until someone yelled “Turn Around.” – I did and timing was just right, I threw my hands up to give the wing just enough speed to get it over the lip and off I went loading the wing as I ran off the lip. A smattering of applause was heard as I headed into the blue. BIG GRIN.

The lift on launch was strong and steady and about 20-30 wings topped around 6,300 and headed for Rabies to set up for a LZ start cylinder. – Lift was easy to find with that many wings in front of me and we topped that around 6,500 thermally in the cylinder at start. I was a bit further North than the crew and was about 300k from the waypoint on the way to the second waypoint as the start bell rang on my vario.

That would be the last time I could fool myself into beleaving I was in the lead as the next turn point was crowded with the lead gaggle when I was still topping off. – My strategy for day was simple: STAY HIGH – never leave lift and never leave first. It worked like a charm.

We took a direct line to Burnt and that was only one of two times during the day that I even thought about not having enough altitude. Even so we had no problem finding windward lift from the NE flow and were soon high on the way to a short glide to Woodrat. More lift and topping in gaggles and off for Rabies again and more climbs.

The last 1/3 of the task Martin and I were best buddies centering every lift we could find. It wasn’t until final glide that we took slightly different lines and ended in goal within minutes of each other.

I am not sure either of us realized how high we were over goal. I was at least 2000 over when I looked nearly straight down and saw the crowd and vans and I looked at Martin who, about the same distance from goal, was across the valley turning circles in lift. I should do a better job of altitude management at the end of the task.
Landing was uneventful and the beer was cold.

Tomorrow day two.


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