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|
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!