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Aug 2

Written by: Jeff O'Brien
8/2/2010 11:18 PM 

Pre-Worlds - Day 2



We got our first task. They called an out and return with five turnpoints up and over a couple of ridges and across two valleys. It looked somewhat challenging on the map, and proved to be very challenging for me. We went to the north launch on Monte Cucco.



The first task briefing was a bit of mental overload for me. Lots of people talking about airspace, procedures, task parameters, etc. A lot of logistical nuance to nosh on. Flying big comps seems to add another layer of complexity to the ground bound happenings. Languages, coordination, etc.



Gaggles before the start were thick, but not unruly. I was out of position for the first and second starts, so Zippy, Shapiro, Derek Turner, and I took the third start. Zippy, Shapiro, and I were running really well together through the second turnpoint way down and off the end of the ridge. We were turning in only the strongest and leaving the moment it lightened. On the way back, I pushed out a bit and got low and had to work hard to get back up and in the game. Shapiro and Zippy would get ahead and I'd never catch up.



A valley crossing was next, and I happened to get up to a cloud just before the third turnpoint. This gave me enough to make the turnpoint and return across the valley. I was back essentially at launch and I thought it was time to cross over into the Sigillo valley to get to the sunny side of the mountains. The winds aloft didn't seem too strong from the north, so I thought the south and west faces would be the ticket.




For the majority of the day, the valleys were working surprisingly well and the peaks were not. This was unconventional characteristic #1. Secondly, the south and sunny faces were not working on this day either, but rather the shady, windward sides. (although the wind was somewhat light) The wind in the Sigillo valley seemed to be stronger than wind we'd experienced earlier in the day.





Once on the sunny Sigillo side, I realized in was in lee side rotor and a lot of sink. I tried running into the flats, but I just didn't hit the lucky lift I needed to eclipse the strong sink I flew through getting over the range. I soon found myself groveling over rolling hillsides and farmland with waning altitude.



Fought as well as I could, but ended up in a sloping field with a crown that eventually 7 other pilots would land in. At the end of the day 66! pilots made goal. Not a good start for the meet. The technical aspects of the area had spanked me.





Despite my poor competitive performance, I had a great time in the air and the surroundings are amazing. One of the things I like most about flying tasks is how it completely mentally engrosses you. You're listening to your vario. You're scanning the area around and ahead for other pilots. You're watching out for the ones you're thermalling in close proximity to. You're listening to your bros on the radio calling out climbs. You suddenly see a lovely medieval village or fortress atop a hill or perched on a mountain. You stop to stare and ponder how lovely the scenery is for a moment... Then it's time to pull rope and go!



Airtime: 3.25. Flights: 1. Miles: 43.

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