Saturday, February 4, 2012

Final task!

Let me start off by saying: GOAL!

The final task of the SF and it was a medium-sized 76km from La Pila to Mesa-D, back across the mesa to Laguna (out by Divis) and then the lake.

Cloudbase over on the Wall was already 3700m and it wasn't even noon yet; a good day shaping up!  Those of us who launched early had a really fun time playing around the edges of the clouds with no crowds to worry about.

Heading to Mesa-D
Of course that all ended when everyone else joined in and then it was the giant merry go round until the start.  A perfect thermal right over La Pila and then it was time to head to Mesa-D.  This is partway to the Monarca ridge and there are multiple ways to get there: I saw many pilots heading straight down the middle of the mesa and the shade but I didn't want to get shaded out.  So myself and several other pilots diverted to the Wall where we ran the sun/clouds to the Penon and then dove over the back as well.

This was taking me to the dreaded Sacamacate area and I was determined not to make the same mistake as yesterday, so I took it slow and tried to stay at cloudbase as much as possible.  Many pilots had raced ahead, low, and were now stuck in the shade and the wind between Mesa-D and Sacamacate.

I was getting low(er) after tagging Mesa-D and was not keen to repeat my performance of yesterday, so when the other 2 gliders I was with decided to head to Sacamacate low and try their luck there, I said no way and instead turned back to the sun where I could see a glider climbing and beamed out again.  So unlike yesterday I was able to fly over Sacamacate and see that I was gonna make the Wall and Salvation!!!

With the hardest part of the course behind me I was able to relax and cruise along to Laguna on the NW side of the Maguey-Divis ridge.  A couple of hang gliders showed me the way and then I had to figure out when I had enough height to cross the lake, tag the La Pena ESS, and then tag Torre, all on one giant glide, since from that direction you are unlikely to get additional lift once leaving the mesa.  When I knew I was gonna make it and my instruments agreed it was time to leave the safety of the lift and head over the water.  The good thing about the Torre 400m, if you arrive too low to tag it the first time around, you can ridge soar your way up until getting it, and with the ESS already behind you, you can take all day to this and not get penalized.

The goal field was quite crowded but there was still a tiny space left over for the late-comers :)  My first goal of this comp and it only took 2 weeks to get it right!  And it was great to finally see what a SF goalfield full of pilots looked like complete with music, refreshments, cameras, crowds of people, and even a couple of BASE jumpers (is a tandem considered a "BASE"?).

More pics are here; tracklog is here.

I know today's task was not "big" like previous ones, but I still feel pretty happy about finally getting to goal at least once during my first SF.  And it's a nice way to finish off the comp: on a positive note with a great last Valle flight under my belt.  Now it's time to pack up the glider and head back to Canada, but not before one last party in Valle!

Note: I didn't bother taking any photos of the closing ceremonies; you can find these and videos at the PWC website.

So that's the end of my first SF.  It was truly a privilege to fly against the best in the world and I learned tonnes about efficient flying, various transition strategies, and general decision-making.  But I've had enough PG for now; in my 4 weeks in Mexico I racked up over 62 hours of airtime and 1050km of XC.  I'm pooped!

7 comments:

  1. Great eff'n work Nic!!! Give'n 'er $hit right to the end, right ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  2. Congrats on making it to the lake at the SF!
    Rockstar ;-)

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  3. Hey Nicole,

    Goal at last and on the last day too - what a lovely way to end the comp. See you later in the year hopefully.

    Kirsty x

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  4. Congratulations Nicole. It was very nice to reed your reports. I also fly a Avax XC3 and now i´m waiting for a new Icepeak 6. Your reports made me hungry for the coming competition season here in Portugal. Cheers and safe return home for you.
    Ricardo Rodrigues, Azores
    www.asassaomiguel.com

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  5. Great flying Nicole! Congratulations on beating your demon at Sacamacate :)

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  6. Nicole, congratulations with your first SF and making it to the goal! It was very enjoying to read your reports from event and hope to see you on other events!

    Cheers,
    Kostya

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  7. Nicole fantastic safe flying. WHat a great comp. Living through you as I try to keep up with my two year old. :) thanks for posting.

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