Sunday, July 24, 2016

Willi Muller XC Challenge July 24

After a grey start to the comp everyone was eager to go down range on a strong sunny day. Cloudbase wasn't that high, 2700m near Golden, but enough to try for an out and return to Invermere.

However in the air things were a bit too strong from the WNW to realistically do the return so I changed my mind to open distance. I actually had the first 45 km or so to myself, as the gaggle was always a thermal or three behind and I was maintaining my lead.

Approaching Invermere.
It was at this time we heard about an accident near the peak of Mt 7, involving a helicopter rescue. Since we were downrange and nothing we could do about it, we kept flying. It wasn't until later that we learned the pilot had died from his injuries. Since nobody saw the actual cause, we don't really know what happened, but the helicopter extractions supposedly very efficient, partly due to the organization knowing exactly where he was, but also due to Danny's professional handling of the situation with SAR and the RCMP (who had just dealt with a mountain biker fatality on Mt 7 the same day).

The air was rough but not particularly useful, weakish climbs. So it was slow going downrange. 4 hours to get to Invermere. But cloudbase was going up and the day was still going strong so I pushed on to Fairmont.

At Fairmont peak I climbed to cloudbase 3400m, and announced I was final gliding to Canal Flats. As I was gliding along the lake, I could hear pilots behind me saying they were going to do the same ;)

On final glide from Fairmont peak to Canal Flats
Arrived over CF with about 1000' to spare and started sussing out the nice-looking LZs.  The usual LZ was brown and dry-looking, and there was a beautiful ball diamond in the centre of town with nice green grass.  An easy choice for me!

It was kinda funny to watch the following gaggle land facing every which way with the growing crowd of CF kids watching, as the wind was very light. Vincene and the Muller-mobile were waiting so we even had a ride back to Golden!

On final glide to Canal Flats, looking at the back route.
In the end we had something like 15 pilots in CF. It was a personal best for both Martin and Kevin, and everyone was glad to have made it on a rather difficult day.

July 24 flight.

Goal in Canal Flats with lots of smiling faces!

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