Monday, July 6, 2009

Progress check

Well let's see. . . "The guy who has the most fun wins."

I try to live by this rule. . .er, recommendation.. . . ah, tenet.

But it's not easy. I mean, I AM having fun most of the time. But I'm a competitive guy, and I'd like to stand on the podium as much as the next guy. It's not that I want to get a trophy (although it's nice, before paragliding, the last I got was when I was 12). And I don't need to win so I can swagger amongst the launch queue. But I want to do my very best at the sport that has my attention.

How do I do that? In short - Practice, Practice, Practice. I need to make good decisions and learn from those that aren't. One of the reasons I started writing this bloggage was so I could relive the tasks that went bad, as much as those that went well. The only way to learn from the bad decisions is to remember them.

In order to plot my progress I've built a crude Excel graph of my placing in the last eight competitions. No compensation has been made for field quality or for the fact that I was on a DHV 1/2 and 2 for most of these comps. My present wing, a Gradient Avax XC2, is an EN-C (almost a 2/3) that I am very comfortable flying. I don't have any qualms flying it in angry conditions because I know what it is saying and how it will react. I also own a Boomerang 5 that I have flown a few times now. The Boom 5 has obviously better performance but isn't a wing that I enjoy flying - right now. The handling seems unresponsive and almost untrustworthy. I imagine that I will get some confidence on the Boom, with time, but until then I will be competing on the Avax XC2 - that includes the U.S. Nat's in Inspo UT in August.

So - looking at the graph, it seems there has been some progress. I'm happy competing and learning while flying in the Serial/Sports class. I'm also getting a taste of the Boom on days that allow some altitude.

Looking forward to Utah next month.


Dizzy said...

Its not a valid comparison, because # of pilots was different in all comps. Divide each number on total number in category to normalize your results.

Tim O'Neill said...

Hey Alex - I agree. I called it 'crude' because of the factors you mention. I'd rather fly than fight with Excel and results sheets for 8 comps ;-) Besides, the same top 30-40 pilots make most comps, so its validity is fine for my 'trend' usage.


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