Friday, February 25, 2011


Wow, now that was cold. - Got to hand it to Doc he kicked my frozen patootie. The projections were right on target.
Temp on launch was 18, flight speed wind-chill=3.

Both Doc and I dressed to the nines, my outfit from inside out included polipro long john bottoms and long sleeve top, pants, snowboard bib-overalls with wind proof outers and quilted liner, poli-pro heavy socks, chem-hand warmers at the toes inside insulated boots. Long sleeve shirt, medium weight wool sweater, down jacket from North Face with down hood, balaclava and helmet. For gloves (still not enough) $250 outdoor research expedition over mitts modified in claw formation. (never failed me till today.)

Details of Doc's clothing are unclear but his mitts were not only wind proof but were so thick that they seemed to need installation into his toggles as part of pre-flight. - a Hang glider trick if I am not mistaken.

I guess you get the idea that it was coooold. It was also very windy. - Winds at RC launch at Kiona were 20 - 25 all day. We don't really think Kilowna is a good launch spot so we launched from a point just up hill and round the bend that we are calling siif for "screw it I'm flying."

Launch was easy in 15 mph winds and it resulted in a catapult to 1,000 feet over in just moments.

We both ran the ridge once, I was 1/2 a ridge in the lead. On my second pass outbound or east bound I was getting very cold and my frozen fingers were fighting with my competitive spirit. - Lift was very strong and the edges of ice cold dry air rising through even colder air were quite turbulent and not much fun. - It was almost like flying in July.

I decided give in and to push out and land in the LZ just to stop the freezing. - It took forever and I had to push way out to get in front of the lift band and the imbedded thermals.

Doc flew over and then I think completed his double ridge or maybe just set up to land as I did - in any event his report was about repeated frustration and inability to get down so he ran east to find a place to sink. - Crossing the canyon he went on out to the winery and found a nice patch of sinking air and "warm" ground.

It was just sooooo cold. - And soooo fun. - Dress warm and join us next time. - Curt also soared his speed wing and Greg through down some kiting. A good day had for all.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

New mark set - Down and back max

Set a new best for time and distance on a double down and back ridge run at Kiona today. - 1hr 27 minutes for the full 30k flight. Got 46.42 Leonardo points also a personal best while keeping on the ridge. Not XC - landing at take off.

Fun but cold - Didn't turn a single circle either.
Boring? What did you do this afternoon?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Last day - Nice flight - a thorn of a landing.

Last entry for the comp.

Today looked bad and turned out great. – At the start a number of us looked at the clouds / winds and projections and determined not to fly. – But as the launch window progressed it looked better and better.

The start line had formed and it was looking like it might take more time than I wanted to wait so I checked in with the launch director who confirmed the priority line was for the top 50 pilots. Cool – I was 47th at the start of the day so I got to slide right and move ahead of the line. – It made a difference – I made the start gaggle just fine and had a great start.

The glide across to Kings was fine and a very easy push in lots of lift avoiding clouds and pulling big ears on occasion made for an enjoyable Divisidaro run – 2 k cylinder there and then a push to the 4k at La Pila. – Lifty line to start with then cratered near the tag.]

My next call was the mistake for the day and the only one I got. – I dove for the ridge at 3kings. Those who stayed out in the valley with the light sun got up but I didn’t on the ridge. – After a valiant effort I bailed for a ridge top where two other pilots had landed.

I didn’t give myself enough height to land with the boys and I slid a bit farther down the ridge top. – No problem with the terrain but it was covered in bushes – let me put that a bit different covered in the El Diablo’s thorns. – These bushes which reach 15 feet in height are covered with spike like thorns about that are about an inch long, tough as steel and sharp as a needle. – they are so sharp that at the thick end they are less than 64th of an inch in diameter.

How do I know these details? My right ring finger has intimate experience with the little buggers. It entered in the top flesh center left of the middle phalanx. – It skewered the flesh to the thumb side and almost came out the anterior side of the finger. – 2/3 of an inch and fully buried.

Ouch – but not near the pain one would expect. – We tried to pull it out on the hill with my Leatherman with no success. So we hiked to the road where the first rig to come along was the event ambulance. – They were so excited to have a patient that the truck behind which had the recue crew had their lights flashing as we drove a few miles looking for a safe place to stop on the mountain road.

The E.M.T. wanted to work on me with the rig moving but after a couple of shots he gave up and waited till we stopped. – We worked on it for 5 minutes until while trying to pluck it out the sharp end started to hurt against the EMT’s fingernail. I complained and when I did both EMTs realized at the same time they should be pushing from that side against the sharp end and the dull end which was what they were trying to pull out would pop out. – Sure enough – pop it went and my finger was whole again.

They kicked me out of the ambulance – I didn’t pay – so it wasn’t professional medical attention and I was now on retrieve at the side of the road like everyone else.

Flight home now – Took my penicillin which I always travel with and will get a good night sleep.

Think I finished about 50th or so.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Windy with OD skies

Last night the walk round town was a community thing. – As the band played walking by our hotel all ears & eyes had to see what was up. Looking out the window a good 400 people maybe 600 walked in procession, the priest and crucifix, candles and banners in full regalia.

I almost always join in in such events and yesterday was no exception. I learned a couple songs fairly well and a couple I could humm. – It ended in a lovely mass and more communidad.

Today many thought it would be canceled or – I don’t know – I say go to the hill and fly, after all, it is Valle.

Nice task, I jumped right on the gun and was first off the hill just as the launch window opened. – The director, at just seconds later, was running to launch to say – “wait wait wait, has anyone launched?” - just as I launched it started to rain – I flew right into the beginning of a little squall and he wanted to hold or push everything back 15 or 30 minutes – but nope – I was in the air and it was too late.

It turned out great because had we delayed it is doubtfull anyone would have made goal. –
The afternoon really developed into an active system and most were happy to be on the ground in the later afternoon. –

I had to make a tight little save right after launching – it was just starting to work and a hard ½ hour of work paid off giving me a wonderful flight – I was very close to not scratching out and was the only comp pilot in the air so all eyes were on me at that point – nothing else to do on launch till the rain stopped.

Once it cleared and I got up it was routine – Made it to the very end of el spina for initial climb into the start gaggle and it worked well – The glide to the first point was easy and my line gave me a boomer right at the tag which made Meguey easy. Got some friends there and had a convergence line back to SerGordo.

Out front of that I found myself distracted and lost some very nice lift. – I never really got back into it or got high again – just sorta bebopped along in what seemed like boaty convergence but it kept letting me down and next thing you know I was looking for an LZ.

I landed with JC in a nice field and we had an easy walk to a cab for the ride back. The landing was a bit vertical – setting up over 130ft trees then dropping in – reminded me of my landing at Lion Rock. Anyway I slid in through a gap in the trees and set down sweet.

Tomorrow I have to do well to get back into the top 10 US pilots in this XC flying event with waypoints. – No competition only fun and good landings.


Thursday, February 3, 2011


Not much to report - task canceled - I thought about throwing in the towel but hadn't yet.

Had one masive colaps sliding down the back side of crazy hoping to make the rim - at about 300 feet agl - I was thrown - my instraments detached from their velcro morings and I had to reorent myself before I found nice air over and in front of the rim.
Sorry bout the spelling - blogger thinks this is spanish and it is all wrong.

maybe we will fly tomorrow maybe not.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Day 3 of comp

Day three of the comp.

Today I was much more relaxed. Launch line was not a problem and I decided to take off at about the same time as yesterday. 11:30 – This gave me an hour to get set for launch at Crazy. – It worked just fine. – I wasn’t in great lift at start but I caught some about 20 seconds later and took it up and then followed, watching the pack for the best line.

I happened to be about mid way between El Spina and Crazy so as I headed out the majority of wings were to my left. – Few if any left from El Spina as yesterday. – The effect of this was that I was just about the furthest to the valley side of all the wings.

I kept looking in to see if anyone was doing better than me but I was getting the best of it and just continued on. – I tanked a couple of turns at 3 kings and continued with a valley line that worked great – I took it all the way to Divisidaro and tagged with lots of height. – then I went back to the ridge to gaggle up to tank up for the push to La pila.

I had a couple chances to join some crews on the way out but they just didn’t seem high enough for me so I stuck around till I tanked up to 11,400 or so. Then I left with a group of 4 or 5 and we worked together to get to the 4k cylinder. – I tagged first I think and it was mega sink at the end and on the way down the canyon. –

I just hoped it was going to work – the ridge slope to my left that is. – It did and well – The ridge is a wind break and hot looking – Up I went and took a ride all the way back up 3 kings. – It was a joy to fly that ridge and it worked great. – At the top the ridge is the saddle to Meguey and I expected no problems but it was a feisty little bugger today and it took multiple efforts of pushing out and back and up and out before we caught a climb that would work to put us on the rest of the course.

At this point my lack of local knowledge killed me – I went for the convergence line which was great for flying but not for the task – I should have headed direct for the way point and then back tracked to el spina but I went out towards the convergence over the hills in the front with the idea of getting stinking high and doing it that was.

It worked for the 500m tag of the way point back near el pinon – I had 11k or so to start but the tag cost me some altitude and the move back to the convergence didn’t work. I figured to catch some lift near Jovans but it didn’t come together so I tagged the 6k cylinder and scratched for a bit and then landed for a great lunch.

Good day – but no goal. – More XC flying with waypoints.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Goal - one of many (pilots)

Day ? – task day 2

Goal for me today was goal and goal it was. Never thought about racing only about staying high, finding the convergence line – staying with other gliders who were climbing and having fun.

I thought my good flight yesterday - 18th place for one day would let me avoid the line. They gave us priority launch based on number of turn points. So I could step in front of the line if I wanted. Too bad the whole bunch had amost launched by noon and by the time priority opened the line was gone. -

It was all good - I made it out, up and over and mid gaggle for the start - I am getting better at waiting and watching and using other wings for lift lines, convergence and thermal spoting.

The run to the first turn point was fairly easy, got to Meguey medium high and several gliders were marking the lift. - I took it for a couple of spins but it was realy drifing back so I pushed out front and found the next lift down stream which took me quite high -mayby 10k or so. This was enough to push along the rim and then punch back to catch the turn point and glide back to the lift at the 3kings saddle. -

Up and off from there - got high and headed out with a group of wings below and with me. Got over or near Sergordo(sp?) and found some nice lifty stuff and had a partner at that point. We worked it up and back and pushed forward for to the next lift for a while. - At some point we seperated and I was tailing a couple of wings above me to the second waypoint.

Spotted a group climbing out in the flats and joined up with them, climbing to over 10k and it was play the convergence game from then out. - Realy quite easy flying - though I was worried all the time - realy for no reason - just was tense. - I forgot my beta-blocker this morning and felt a bit stressed with high BP and low energy.

After the 4th turn point it was just up up up - on glide to turn point 5 and goal I kept going up in the convergence even though I was on bar for most the run. - Nice job if you can get it.

Hardest part about today was my shoulders were hurting from the long flight yesterday and today was over 4 hours – task time 2hrs 51 min.

The other challenge was getting down at the end of the day – it was lift all over and at Valle I had to go out over the lake, find light lift and spiral down. – It was something else, the convergence was just so strong it was real hard to get down. – After 4 hours I wanted down.

Just a great day. - With the second day points posted I am now in 35th - lol - but I made the top 10 of US pilots. - Just fun to be in the game.

Tomorrow – more XC with turn points. – though the difference for 3 minutes into goal was almost 50 points, enough to cost me 5 places - though I wasn't racing right, it is XC with turn points. - I am coming home safe.