Sunday, March 04, 2007

Vegemite for breakfast, thunderstorms for lunch

The scene around the breakfast table this morning was grim; seven pilots and seven small containers of Vegemite, seven pieces of dry toast. Nobody made goal yesterday, it was time to pay. Keith went with the "A moment on the lips, a lifetime in the stomach" tactic and skipped the toast to slam his like a shot-glass of congealed axle grease. The rest of us went for the toast, and it went down well enough except for Nicole, who had to try a couple of times after the first bite went down slowly and up fast. Personally, I didn't find it too bad after the initial rotten taste. I've had far worse foods over the years (the very worst was rotten shark in Iceland), but I can't say I'll be trying to bring any back home with me. We pledged another Vegemite session if we don't make goal next task, but were given a reprieve on flyng after we drove up the hill with thunderstorms all around us. Even if the sky had been blue I don't think I would have flown with those cells. On launch Godfrey chose to send us back down the hill, but it was fun to get out of town a bit.

We've had a lengthy discussion going for days now on why we're such losers at this event (with the exception of Tom and Josh, who did well until yesterday), and the general conclusion is that turning endlessly in the gaggle only happens when you really, really want a result. I don't think many people would argue flying in rush-hour traffic for hours is all that fun, but you do it when you want something else badly enough to tolerate it. We all ran out of patience yesterday, as did many of the pilots who are normally in the top at PWC or other major competitions. This style of flying just isn't what I enjoy about the sport, and unless you're in the running for a podium placement the motivation for flying in this style is in short supply. It would be really fun for an hour or two with some friends at local site, but with 140 other gliders for five or six hours, well, it's not, at least for me. But we have a new, stepped up motivational plan: Tomorrow we're all going to fly with little packs of Vegemite strapped to our shoulder harnesses; if we even think of leaving the gaggle in search of a better climb (which doesn't exist in these sodden conditions) we'll open the pack of Vegemite, get a sniff, and stay in the gaggle.

I do have to thank our "caravan park" hosts, David and Lee, who are a big reason we haven't headed for the beaches of Sydney yet. In fact, the Manilla area is good, I'd really like to come bak here again. Those epic days during the XC comp are blazed into my mind, and I think this competition would be very different if we had XC comp conditions during the Worlds. One person described yesterday as, "Worse than Brazil," which had bug-flatulence conditions for a lot of the comp as well. Anyhow, I know we're not seeing the bes of Manilla flying right now, and with the good local scene I'll be back.

In other news, Petra is winning the competition overall. On launch today there was a discussion about a woman possibly winning the overall competition. I think that would be pretty cool, but it does raise the question of whether or not they will declare a "Male Champion." I'm just sexist enough to think this would be stupid... If Petra does win then perhaps competitions will drop the male/female categories, a female world champion would be a strong argument for the idea that flying skill is not based on gender. There are several sports based more on skill than physical strength where they don't split the genders into different categories (race car driving, equestrian events), maybe it's time to drop that distinction in flying as well...

Hopefully we'll get to fly a few more tasks here, I'm feeling psyched to fly. A lot of that is understanding what's required to do well at this sort of event (gaggle up in micro-lift, fly in styles that I normally never would), and what I love about flying (freedom and exploring the world). I'll do my best to gaggle up and relax about it, but I'm not willing to take the same risks as yesterday, this competition is important but not worth a mid-air accident. I always find it a bit harsh to finally understand that something I put a lot of effort into isn't what I actually want, but that's part of figuring this game of life out. No regrets.

OK, that's a monster rainy day post...

6 comments:

Smint said...

:))))

I almost laugh-choke this morning, reading vegemite post :.)) Looks like vegemite motivator is working ;) But.. come oone.. You should bet on something healthier than this engine grease. Some thing like 2 mile run or 100 pushups in 5h or 50 1 leg crunches in 5 h or..
.. washing dishes or 2h sex :))

Yoke on a side, by NASA satellite looks like 1 OK day soon. Then some more rain..(

Yeah, I'd have my 1. O7 frontal collapse in 5m thermal core and it works out surprisingly well :) But, 6kg is going down !! 2kg over the wing limit is a touch to much..

Grin on you lucky bustards, I'm going to loose 8h in boring office glued to 19" screen !!!

Big Rigs. said...

For Christ Sake...
Stop WHINING!

You'll be cherishing these memories over dirty diapers soon...

rbarbs said...

Will,

Great posts, vegemite is much better with lots of butter!

Richard
PS Vegemite is nothing compared to to Marmite - the convicts had to invent a milder version :)

John G - Boston said...

G-man - you need to be singing the Vegemite song! Here you go..
http://www.vegemite.com.au/Our_Heritage/Vegemite_Discovery/vegesong.wav

gareth said...

Also - when you put the vegemite on, use about an quarter of the minimum you originally thought you'd need!

gareth said...

Forgot to say that technically - since you didn't fly you didn't make goal... anyone for vegemite?

Also, i'm enjoying the reporting from my boring desk in Sydney. At least the surfs good from all the rain and wind!