The first day of the US Nats and it was high pressure and stable-feeling, but I've been told the thermals are nicer out near to the Central Valley, so I was glad when the task was to take us out that way. It was a shortish task, about 58km, but it involved crossing a bunch of low hills out to the main valley, and then upwind to another TP before downwind into goal in Squaw Valley.
|Getting a climb before heading to Orosi|
I'm actually rather glad there are only ~30 pilots in the comp, since it made the start gaggle very nice and manageable, which is a good thing since the air was extremely snarly over launch and Delilah. Lots of glider management going on and I saw several whacks, so I was glad to have lots of clearance in case I needed the space. Even so, I was very glad to see the start time finally tick down and we were allowed to start.
Some pilots chose a more circuitous route via Bald but most of us took the direct line over Granny's and it was slow going! Lots of slow climbs and wind, and I was forced to take some climbs downwind and stop in EVERYTHING. But even though I took a different line I ended up meeting up with the lead gaggle out at the final foothills and we then tanked up for the push out into the flats to tag Orosi. I saw many pilots low and landing out on the flats, and I was almost one of them as I finally got a climb over the gravel pit and then I was back in the game.
|Flying the foothills on the way to Jesse|
But it was still slow going and I was stopping in everything that was lift, even stuff was taking me away from the courseline, just to stay in the air. It was low save after low save over the foothills until finally I was able to take the Jesse TP and then it was the downwind push to goal. It was only when I had goal on a 6:1 glide that I actually believed I would make it, since there had been big sink before and I've seen 8:1 downwind glides go bad ;)
I estimated it pretty well and arrived over goal with maybe 200m to spare. I was super-stoked since the entire flight was basically a series of low saves and low climbs; it was probably the most technical flying I've done in a very long time. But because it was so hard, it was very satisfying to make goal when so many others didn't (only 6-7 pilots made goal).
Task 1 results.
|On glide to goal!|
Pretty tired now after an afternoon of glider management a
nd lots of active flying; tomorrow may be windier so we'll see what kind of task the committee sets up!
|Packing up at goal! Photo courtesy of Brett Zaenglein.|