|Our route today.|
Task today was a cat's cradle over the back of the Ager ridge and to the east to Organya, back towards launch, and then ending at a lake beach to the north. There were cu's over the Pyrenees but nothing where we were, and it felt a bit stable. I wasn't getting very high over the back ridge (maybe 2200m) but most others weren't either, so when it was time to head over the back I went too.
Just after the start Renata tossed her reserve quite close to the cliffs, and had to use her second reserve (!) after her original one wrapped around her main canopy. But she landed OK and was quickly retrieved.
Over the back the thing to do seemed to be to climb out on the low foothills, cross the river to the other foothills, and follow them to Organya. It appeared that some pilots chose this route while others chose a more direct route over the flats. Meanwhile I and the slow gliders were fighting for lift on the west side of the river, not getting very high, and trying to figure out how to punch into the wind to achieve the foothills on the east side of the river.
In the end it was not to be (for me, at least) when I finally got over to the east foothills but not high enough to do anything about it, landing in a corn-stubble field partway up. My flight is here. While waiting for retrieve I then watched as about 50 pilots passed overhead on their way back from Organya, on their way to goal. I think in the end there was about 70 pilots in goal (with Yassen first), so most of the field which made for a busy goal field I'm sure (a public beach on a hot Sunday).
It seemed the slowest and hardest part of the course was near the beginning. If you could make it past the 30km mark, you were pretty assured of at least reaching Organya, and quite probably goal (see results for distance breakdown).
It was a bit frustrating to watch the comp gliders quickly fade into the distance but I'm being philosophical about it...I'm not here to win (or to do particularly well) but to fly against some European comp pilots, fly a new continent, and have fun. I'm sure after a week of flying against the best World Cup pilots I'll learn something ;)