Friday, September 7, 2007
Today I headed to Cuesta & met Eric & Patrick at the top. Winds at launch were brisk but not too high between cycles. Patrick launched first & wasn't having much luck getting above launch for a while so I decided to work on some tweaks to my stirrup & new 3-step speed-bar. Eric launched after a while & the two guys were able to get up & move around the area.
I got into the air & found the air to be quite buoyant. Within 6 minutes I was bouncing around at the inversion at 2600' (500' over) I had fun exploring the area & noticed that today there were a lot of birds of prey & vultures soaring today. I was struck that many of the birds were just out enjoying themselves - flying for the same reason I was. One medium sized raptor was flying along just upwind of me as I flew a lift band - as he went by, he folded his wings & dove 100' only to 'zoomie' back up to my altitude and bank over the top of me. He looked at me with a "Try that" look.
I headed up towards the towers & got closer than previously. I didn't like the way the air felt up there so I came out front to avoid getting caught back on the shallow slope of the ridge.
The RamRace harness I'm flying is completely different than my last - it is a much more supine design and utilizes a stirrup. I have been getting some quite twitchy rides on it. I've been feeling like the signal to noise ratio was a bit low until today. Today I played with the chest strap quite a bit & got it dialed in. I was able to feel the core of the thermals as my wing cut into them - it felt, at times, like a strong bubble was moving laterally along the span of the wing. As I learn to interpret this information, my flying will improve & become more intuitive.
After an hour and a half of fun, I landed at the base of the ridge in some very active air. I packed up & hiked the hill to get back to my truck. On the 900' hike up the hill I stopped to rest a bit & was treated to a pair of adolescent vultures playing follow-me along the ridge. They explored lee-side & rotor areas in a kind of chicken game that I hadn't observed before today.
It was a good day.