Saturday, June 03, 2006

Rat Race Task Two

This morning looked grim--foggy, windy and building high clouds. Somehow it all cleaned up by about 12:00, and a short (42.5K) task was called. Waiting for the start in the air was interesting--it was very windy above about 7,000 feet (I use feet in US meets to keep it simpler), we kept drifting downwind at high rates of speed up high. But the cloud flying was amazing--I think there was some sort of wave action, we were able to surf the front of clouds at least 1500 feet above base, a rare treat in paragliding.

The task was a couple of laps around the local Wood Rat valley, then off into the small hills of the Rogue valley. I had a solid start and hammered around the first two laps in the lead with Eric Reed, the conditions were really nice with smooth glides and fast climbs. Eric and I were able to glide the first two laps with only one thermal, but had to use a lot of bar on the into the wind legs. Most of the field wasn't far behind us, which lent motivation to pushing on the speed bar. We then headed out into the Rogue valley and got slowed down--Bruce Goldsmith, Bill Belcourt and a couple of others caught us, and we all climbed together in a weak thermal. I was sure that there had to be something better and left to go find it. I thought the hills were going to work better than the flats, but got flushed out of them and very low, about 200 feet above the ground, but I could just tell it was going to work and sure enough I was able to slowly grovel back into the sky. Unfortunately Bill and the others had gone on glide to goal by then, with Bill into goal first. I'm pretty sure he won the meet as he also did well on the first task. I played it conservative into goal, once I've lost the lead I'd rather be solid in getting to goal than land early as many pilots did. In the end there were probably 20+ pilots into goal, amazing given how the day looked. I don't know where I placed but had a great flight. It's always better to end a meet with a good day of flying!


Last night I hit the Rogue Rock gym again, and started out by learning how to slack line instead of climbing for about 45 minutes, super fun. I've only tried slacklining a few times, I'm going to have set one up in my yard for the future. Got a good session of bouldering on the crew there, we ended up in keeping the gym open to beat ourselves up on a cool hard route into the night, a great workout. I really like visiting different gyms as I travel, I always meet good people and have a good time. The Rogue Gym is a good gym if you're ever in the Medford area, well worth a visit.

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