Saturday, January 28, 2012

Superfinal Day 4: big task!

New photos are here.

I think the task committee is trying to lessen the number of pilots in goal; today it was 145km (119km real distance) and it was gonna be a stretch to make goal in the allotted time.  Yet again we were sent all over the place, doing huge crossings back and forth across the flats and the mesa and this time no clouds to mark the way (at least initially).

We had one reserve deployment right at launch but none on courseline...we did however have some mayhem in the start gaggle as the thermals were a bit punchy and gliders were wriggling all over the place.  Every time I heard a collapse above me I cringed, anticipating somebody's glider coming down through the gaggle and taking me out as they went past, but nope all the pilots were very skilled and kept their machines more-or-less in flying mode.

The start was a 14km entry around Llano but we also had to tag the actual TP which meant we had to fly way over the flats against a cross-headwind and no clouds to mark obvious lift.  It was a bit of a stretch but just about all of us managed it and climbed out on Llano and then it was time to run the ridge to La Pila.

Tagging Serro Colorado and heading for the Monarca ridge.
Another big crossing of the mesa via 3 kings and we had to take lift away from our courseline just to stay high, but tagged Serro Colorado (behind Torre) and then headed for the Monarca ridge and lots of nice clouds.  This was actually the easiest part of the route since we had clouds to mark lift and lots of pilots were around to help us along.  We could see the lead gaggle making their way upwind to recross the mesa back to La Pila: a long slog against the SW wind and it was already 3pm.

I suspected we weren't going to have enough time to finish the course by 5pm with that headwind but our gaggle gamely kept on, tanking up on lift across the flats until we reached St. Augustine.  The wind was about 20kph and a direct headwind, and we somehow had to cross the mesa to the Wall, tank up, and then still head for La Pila before returning to the lake.

The gaggle tanked up on the last cloud over Jovan's and then we headed for the mesa.  Not much penetration despite lots of bar and most of us were dropping like flies, heading for the small bumps on the mesa, not finding much, and landing in various fields behind St. Augustine.  I landed next to the Maguey-Serro Gordo road for an easy retrieve and most of the rest of my gaggle landed within a few km's of me.  My tracklog is here.

Meanwhile the lead gaggle had managed the upwind crossing, made La Pila, and were heading for the lake.  But the goal closing was 5pm and many pilots didn't make goal before this time, so they only got credit for their 5pm location despite landing at goal.  I think "only" ~60 pilots officially got credit for goal so there was lots of retrieving going on for the organization.  Personally I was able to make 85 of the 119km which isn't so bad.  Since we still had so many pilots in goal today, I'm thinking the task committee will make things yet more technical in the coming days since we'll be allowed to recuperate during the upcoming mandated rest day in a day or two.

1 comment:

  1. Great work! My heart bleeds for you guys having to fly so much on such relentless tasks. Push more bar!!! ;-)

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