Thursday Jug Arrived and we had another fun flight around the valley under great cumulus clouds. The top-of-climb was low but it was still possible to move around the valley.
Saturday the troops all assembled at Dan's at 9:30 and we headed up the hill at 10:30. The conditions were forecast to be good with lift to 6-7000' and a NW wind in the valley. A task was called from launch to hill 49917 and back, then over Big Cat - and Bald, then a leg to Orosi in the flats for a total of 25 miles.
I had a good high start and barred it all the way to Hill 49917 the lift there was sporadic, but I soon found a thermal pulsing off the hill. I climbed high enough to get back to launch and caught some lift with the lead gaggle. We all headed down to Big Cat and then hit the 4km cylinder around Bald Mtn.
A few wings turned directly to Ruth Hill and were struggling low in the shade, so I was looking for alternatives. To my right (the wrong way to Orosi) was in sunlight and I thought about heading there to poach a bubble off the low hills. At that same moment, I noticed Josh coming across low to the same area. He began to circle low in weak lift and I came in on top of him. The lift was weak but soon bloomed and we climbed together to over 6000' which made it possible to pick our way past the shade at Ruth Hill and start a relatively straight forward flight to Orosi. The clouds were working well and lift was often 500-600'/min. Josh pulled ahead when it was obvious that the flight was going to be easy and beat me to goal by 3 minutes. Fredric and Steve made it to goal about 30 minutes later and Hoop made a great effort, landing 1km from goal.
Lesson reaffirmed: Don't follow others into conditions that are obviously NOT working. Look for viable options and try to capitalize on the opportunities they present.
I feel very good about the weekend for two reasons. Firstly; My indecision regarding how I was going to compete this season (and in future seasons) was resolved, as I sold my Boom 5 on Friday and ordered a new Gradient Avax XC3 on Thursday. I'm flying serial class for the foreseeable future.
Second; I left the Boom in the bag and flew my three-yr-old Avax XC2 well this weekend and placed 2nd to Josh in both tasks. I really feel like some of the effort I've put into studying the game is paying off.
The league has really flourished due to Jug's efforts. Introducing the Mentoring program and reevaluating the goals of the league to promote the participation and education of newer pilots has revitalized the league. It's going to be a great season.
Results are HERE.
and more photos can be viewed HERE