Saturday, August 22, 2009

US Nats August 22

There was some discussion about cancelling the day due to possible high winds and the fact we've had 6 valid tasks already, but the task committee decided a 7th task was in order. I had volunteered as a driver today (my knee is doing much better; I can walk around on it now if I'm careful) so I took a load of pilots up to launch.

The original task was a short 49 km flight north to take advantage of the predicted south winds. However after the task was announced and everyone was suiting up, Mark called the FAA (his daily courtesy call to let them know what our route is) and was told that a brand new TFR (temporary fire restriction) had just now been issued for a forest fire directly on our courseline (this fire apparently was set last week during the t-storms, but only flared up now after a week of smoldering). That put the kaybosh on that task.

So the task committee had to come up with a new task that didn't involved that TFR and yet was simple enough that retrieve would be easy (so everyone could be back in time for the party). So a 54 km task was set that would take people north but not so far as the fire, then turn around and fly south, and then goal would be at the school LZ directly below launch (so in essence a double OR).

By this time it was getting late and some high cirrus was coming in (the approaching front). But people were able to get high and cross Provo canyon no problem and get their way on course. I was assigned to the goal LZ to take people back to HQ as they came in, so I got to watch most of the flying as most of that particular course can been seen from there. We had about 15 pilots in goal I think. In the end the high cirrus came in and developed into some more substantial pre-frontal stuff, and most people sunk out around 6pm. It was a 1000 point day though!

The pig roast (a whole pig that had been simmering in a ground oven all day) and awards ceremony was at the north side of POTM. Lots of satisfied pilots there tonight stuffing their faces with food and beer, and at 10pm we had a visit from the police. Apparently in Utah you can't have parties or noise after 10pm so they were going to give us all noise violation tickets (70+ tickets!), but Brad convinced them to let us continue the awards ceremony (our cheering was considered too noisy).

I can't remember who all won what categories, but the overall results will eventually be found here. Surprisingly, I was able to get 3rd place in both the Sport and Women's categories, but fell from 22nd to 50th overall, despite me not flying the tasks for the past 3 days.

This was a very successful US Nats part 2. We had 7 flying days out of a possible 7 (a first for a US Nats I'm told), and a variety of flying conditions and routes to challenge us all. A lot of the local pilots were stoked about flying routes that they don't usually get to fly (either because of weather, retrieval issues, or just not enough pilots to gaggle with to make it easier). And the visiting pilots were blown away (myself included, and this is my 3rd time flying here) by the scenery and the awesomeness of the mountains here. If you are into strong mountain flying, I would recommend SLC as a destination (just check the weather beforehand, and be prepared to do other things if it's t-storming or gotten windy). Previous experience in Golden or Pemberton would be an asset, and you'll want to be comfortable on your glider and using your speedbar to cross the umpteen canyons with their associated canyon suck.

I'm off back to Vancouver tomorrow morning. I'll probably split the 16 hour drive over 2 days so I won't actually get back until sometime Monday. Hopefully by then my knee will be more or less back to normal for regular walking (fingers crossed), and we'll see what the recovery schedule to resume paragliding will be.

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for your great reporting on the Nationals. And sorry about your knee injury. You'd have won for sure if not for that! Best wishes,

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  2. Yeah, I agree with Ralph. You were flying super-great and would definetely kick butt big time if not for the injury... Next time, girl!

    Nataliya

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  3. Knee smee - you should have downed a bunch of advil and had the rest of team canuck just toss you off the hill in a good cycle :) I know you could have done 3 more soft one footed landings :o)

    Congrats on crushing it on the first 3 tasks! Take it easy on the drive back!

    Cheers
    danny

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