Friday, September 01, 2006

Task 3 Sun Valley

It's really cold here--yesterday morning the sprinklers were encasing the green lawns in ice as we drove into Sun Valley. Launch was moved back an hour to let things warm up, but the thermals were still pretty weak as we slowly climbed out. I was quite concerned with the winds aloft, which were predicted to be very strong. I've flown enough in Idaho to know that high winds aloft can sometimes drop down to the ground and provide a high-quality ass-kicking. We went over Trail Creek again, and there was a bit of a shear at around 11,000 feet but nothing too nasty. Overall the air was substantially more "growly" than it had been on task 2--Brian commented, "It's clear that when launch is nasty the air is nice, and when launch is nice the air is nasty." Weird.

We had a good aggressive pace going to about the 40K mark, when the day really slowed down. A few pilots went to 17,000 feet and did a long glide to goal, but most of of us battled for the last 20K. I could see there was a valley wind at goal, so took my final climb until my 5020 said I had goal at a 4:1 glide. Of course I came in 2000 feet over the ground like an idiot (waste of time), but I was not going to come up short on my final glide as several pilots did. The Red Bull six-wheel drive vehicle was there with music and a barbecue, pretty good scene. I haven't seen yesterday's results, but things are going to be shaken up pretty seriously due to the top two pilots not making goal. Matt Dadam is likely in first, he had a great day, as did Tom McCune and the hungry Josh Cohn. It was another crazy good day of flying here, and today and tomorrow are both supposed to be better. I'm packing more clothes today, it was below freezing at 14,000 feet, my feet are stil cold. Nicole McLearn had an interesting landing and hike out, we were a bit worried until she finally showed up around 10:00 last night, her story is here. Time to go up the hill and get it on again!

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