Finally after several days of grey skies and weak conditions, today dawned bright and sunny. There was, however, lots of moisture on the grass so I figured it would quickly go big as it heated up.
|Watching it start to blow up over the volcano|
Aguila is across the flats to the south and it was a long let to get there. A bunch of us were at cloudbase when we left 3 Kings but not much on the way across to Aguila. I passed several small hills and considered stopping at them to sniff around for lift and tank up, but the group I was with just kept going and I preferred the safety-in-numbers concept vs. going it alone so early in the game.
The hill we were heading for is bordered by a canyon, high tension power lines, and a river, all great things to be heading for, low! As I dropped lower towards the hill I knew I had made a mistake in staying with the gaggle as they arrived slightly higher than me and were able to climb out, while I (and a M4 pilot) were stuck on the wrong side of the canyon, river, and power lines.
There was a house with a clearing just short of the edge of the canyon and power lines, so Luciano and I bit the bullet and landed in the front yard as the rest of the gaggle climbed out above us. I had no idea where we were, just on the wrong side of everything, but fortunately the farmer was home and gave us both a ride to the nearest town in a pickup that I thought was gonna up-n-die at any minute, where we hooked up with the official retrieve and Darya, Marina, and David who had also landed.
Meanwhile there had been a reserve toss just behind the Penon with the pilot landing on the ground safe and sound, and no damage to either his Enzo or his reserve. I also heard reports of a second reserve toss but I don't know specific about that one. As we drove past Jovan's we picked up part of the lead gaggle who had raced themselves into the ground a few km's short of goal; not very happy campers! It was completely shaded out and OD'd to the north and east so many pilots got low and landed in the shade as the cu-nim blew up over the volcano.
I'm not quite sure I really "enjoyed" the flying today. Irrespective of how I did points-wise, today was just a bit too bouncy for pure enjoyment. It was tough to keep the glider pointing in a straight line on the transitions with lots of pitching (apparently the new gliders don't do this as much, better for plowing through rough stuff)...many other pilots reported bumpy conditions with lots of glider-wriggling going on. Even though I would have preferred to climb out on Aguila and at least make it back to the Penon (with the hardest part of the task behind me), I wasn't that broken up by landing early as it meant I could relax and enjoy the heat and sun on the ground vs. a couple more hours of being bounced around in the air. And at least I wasn't last today too :) I am maintaining an average of ~107-110th spot per task so at least I'm being consistent!