|Waiting for a cycle at launch - Photo by Bad Patrick|
Saturday we assembled on launch and Jug lead an informative pilot briefing. Over 30 pilots from All over California, Colorado, and more than a handful of foreign pilots were in attendance. Notably missing was Eric Reed who had made an epic vol bivuac journey through the entire length of Nepal and was finally released from a month of house arrest in Sikkim, India, this weekend, after all charges regarding “permits” were dismissed.
Cloudbase was 1000‘ above launch, so Jug built a short task that kept the pilots within the Dunlap valley and had 3 valley crossings. I launched early and explored the area while feeling out any conditions that might be hazardous. It was a buoyant day with slow climbs but dependable lift. The start went well and I made it to Hill 49917 and Last Chance in the lead gaggle. I got a bit low at last chance before finding lift and I watched Josh and his armada of GTOs heading back to the ridge to tank-up before the crossing to Granny’s Knob.
|Note the hard right turn to "Damn Kitty"|
I should not have let this blunder cost me as much as it eventually did. I should have taken a cleansing breath, marveled at the beauty of nature, and taken the time necessary to climb on the ridge and make a sensible crossing. I also had completely missed the cues that the day had matured and the winds had picked-up from the West.
Note to self - When you screw-up, reassess and recover intelligently.
Three pilots made it to goal and deserve congrats for using the day well. Results for day one are HERE.
|A view of launch on Saturday morning.|
I made the start cylinder and caught a good climb which allowed me to get back into the hunt. By the time I had hit the first two turnpoints I was running just behind Josh and was feeling good. The crossing from Granny’s to Big Cat (Damn Kitty) went very badly for me and I spent the last 35 minutes of my flight trying to put together a decent climb on the ridge behind Damn Kitty. I eventually landed at the St. Nicolas ranch in defeat.
Meanwhile Jug and Alex were the only two pilots to get beyond the ranger station and they eventually landed in the Sand Creek area. Josh landed at the Ranger Station, no doubt in disgust that I had blown it so bad in the crossing ;-)
Congrats to Jug and Alex for the best flights of the day! Sunday's results are HERE.
It was a great weekend with many pilots in the air and many first-timers. There was very little drama and no incidents.
My personal struggle to fly well but not take stupid, low-percentage risks will be foremost on my mind next month. I need to take Mads’ advice and listen to my subconscious (The Force, if you will) but temper the crazy 25-yr.-old that wants to dash around the course without the intelligence to fly with my buddies and not venture out on my own early in the task. I need to mature as a XC pilot. When I was a kid I wanted to be a pilot when I grew up. Since then I've heard it said that, “You can either be a pilot OR grow up . . . but not both.”
Well, I’m going to try.
Fly Safe -