Lots of convergence flying at the Copa Intrepidos January 9

Classic Valle today as we had light winds, high base, and the convergence right in the sweet spot.  Today's task was out on the flats to La Pila for the start, then off to the Monarcas, back  to the mesa and Divisidaro, recrossing back towards the Monarcas, and then landing in goal at Casa Viejo for about 74 km.

Today's task: La Pila-Monarcas-Divis-Monarcas LZ-Casa Viejo goal
Cloudbase initially started out at 3200m but it rose throughout the day to around 3500m by mid-afternoon.  The field split into multiple groups quite early on: after the La Pila start, a group of pilots opted for the 3 Kings-Maguey-Serro Gordo route to get to the Monarcas, while the larger group (myself included) went back to Espina and the Wall to jump to St. Augustine.  The 3 Kings route was actually sunnier than the Wall route, but that group of pilots got held up at Escalaria, enabling the Wall group (which had a lot of shade to contend with) to catch up.

Cruising the convergence into goal with Alex.
The convergence seemed to fade and then reappear which made the going quite slow at times.  A lot of times I would see a group ahead of me quite low, so I was very slow and stopped in everything once I hit the shade.  If it was 0.3m/s, I stopped in it :)  Eventually those slow climbs would speed up and get me to cloudbase so I could continue the course.

Near the end of the flight I noticed the convergence seemed to be breaking up a bit, in a good way, with not so much blanket shade and a lot of sun patches, so once making it to cloudbase for the last time it was easy to cruise along to goal.  Just before my final climb I met up with Alex who was struggling below me, we found a nice unexpected climb in the shade which took us to 3400m and an easy glide to goal.

You can see the convergence getting big back towards the volcano.
Lots of other pilots landed up near the Monarcas TP as the shade was quite epic back there and it was hard to get back out with enough height to reconnect with the clouds.  Greg landed near the airstrip after getting too low coming back from the Monarcas to reconnect with the clouds and the Divis TP.  Ty and Dave had to land early as they had to catch a plane back in Mexico City later on.

We also had some mishaps...Benjamin ended up in a tree near La Casa (not sure if he had an event or simply got too low to make the glide out).  Andrew was nearby and was able to relay Ben's info to Radio Control, while at the same time ridge soaring a small hill with a long glide out of his own, good job multi-tasking Andrew!

Al also had a mishap, having a full-bar blowout resulting in double-tip cravattes and multiple line twists which wouldn't come out with full-stalling, so he tossed his reserve.  Despite having a Beamer 3, he was unable to get to his steering handles, partly due to reserve line twists, but also because his Camelback hose had been routed through one of his handles so was caught up in it (Camelback users: check your routing!)  However he came down quite softly in a field near the garbage dump where the military police arrived, checked him out, and gave him a VIP ride to Valle to get his gear untwisted and sorted.  He'll be back tomorrow after getting his Beamer repacked!

Al's glider and reserve after landing softly in a field near the garbage dump.  Posted with Al's permission.
I think in the end there was something like 30 pilots in goal.  I wasn't last, but I was close, but I was just glad to actually make goal after not making it yesterday!

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