Tuesday, August 18, 2009

US Nats - Inspo, Utah DAY 3 - Task 3

Today was the kind of day that I really enjoy flying paragliders. The task was challenging, the terrain was beautiful, and the air was undeniably spanking us all at regular intervals.

A fire South of launch caused a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) that precluded our ability to task to the South. This left the only option of flying North along the range. The task committee called a task from Inspo launch 35km to Hounds Tooth Peak, then 18Km South to GOAL at the North Side of Point of the Mountain. The prevailing winds were from the West along our route but the forecast (and all the local pilots) indicated that we should anticipate the wind to steadily freshen from the North in the latter part of the day. Strategically this put us in a mode of flying X-wind along the range with 5 major canyon crossings with the knowledge that we had to get to Hound's tooth Peak before the North winds kicked in.

The winds at launch were a bit fickle and slowed the launch slightly, but all got off in good form. I got a great start and vowed to stay high on a day I knew would test my resolve to do so. The first crossing to Mt. Timpanogos went well but it was obvious from the greeting we got on the ridge that the day would be a workout. The wind was hitting the sheer rockface and thermals were rocketing up the slopes. They were the kind of lift that is so strong and fierce that you don't really even want to turn for fear of getting a serious spanking. As you can see from my flight track there was some strong lift. As we all sidled along the knife-edge of Mt. Timpanogos we could see hikers on the trails gawking at the crazy guys flying sheets around at 11,000'. The way I was whooping and hollering, I can't blame them for thinking we're crazy. I would have had more photos, but I was afraid to take my hands off the brake toggles.
The lead gaggle was screaming along by now (the winners had an average of over 32Km/Hr.) and continued on course. It was from that point on, a day of survival. Knowing when to push; we had that headwind to expect soon - and knowing when to slow down to take a climb so we didn't get stuck in a hole; was what made this task a tough one. I loved the day - It was #2 in my top ten flights. Second only to my flight in the Owens last year, prior to the Nat's there. This flight had it all, wind, gut-wrenching thermals, and tough strategic decisions.

When the group I flew with(+/-2:00)hit the last turnpoint the wind was just starting to veer to a North wind. This gave us a great ground speed of 70-80Km/hr on full bar. It also gave those behind us fits as they tried to tag the last turnpoint. Many good pilots on good wings were unable to get to the last turnpoint due to the increasing North winds.

Winners of the day were Josh Cohn who tied with Matt (Farmer) Beechinor. Their times were 1:32 and their average speed was over 32 Km/Hr.
Scores are HERE but here are the cumulative standings for each of the categories:

1 Mads Syndergaard 2601
2 Josh Cohn 2492
3 Matt Beechinor2455
4 Nate Scales 2444
5 Matt Dadam 2161
6 Jack Brown 2101
7 Brad Gunnuscio2062
8 Peter Schaefer2000
9 Eric Reed 1821
10 Jochen Rink 1810

1 Darius Lukosevicius 1560
2 Dave Hanning 1458
3 Johnny VanDuzer 1421
4 Steve Young 1371
5 Manuel Quintanilla 1232
6 Chris Galli 1165
7 Cherie Silvera 1121
8 Trey Hackney 1112
9 Riss Estes 1090
10 Jeff Ames 1066

1 Jochen Rink 1810
2 Nicole Mclearn 1341
3 Tim O'Neill 1241
4 Arun Moorthy 820
5 Matt Cone 734
6 Ty Sporrer 631
7 Gary Scillian 537
8 Natalia Bonilla 345
9 Luis Quintanilla 231
10 Sam Mulder 201

1 Nicole Mclearn 972
2 Cherie Silvera 784
3 Melanie Pfister 701
4 Natalia Bonilla 274
5 Meredyth Malocsay 137

1 Jack Brown 2101
2 Steve Young 1371
3 Tim O'Neill 1241
4 Mike Steed 1169
5 Andy Palmer 841
6 J. David Nelson 621
7 Gary Scillian 537
8 Roger Marsh 417
9 Foster Winter 157

I placed 16th for the day and have improved my ranking to 25th overall. Let's hope that the forecast for more good weather is correct - I'm having a blast.
Finally, in the 'SEEN AT THE NATS' or 'WHAT NOT TO WEAR FILE,' is a photo of our beloved Nick Greece in his unmistakeable flying attire -

Fly safe out there -

P.S. There are a couple of other quality blogs out there. Try Brett's Blog: http://ridethecore.com
and Andy's Blog: http://web.mac.com/macraeandy

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Way to put one in goal, sounds like my kinda day out there too. Good job battling it out! Keep the updates coming!