Santa Cruz Flats 5.0 Day Two

posted in: Jeff O'Brien | 0

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The sign that was plastered last year is gone… Utah DOT has put up a new “canvas” to decorate. See below:

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SCF 5.0 Day 2

Woke @ 7am and went straight for a run. Hard to motivate, then the miles meditated away. I found myself pool side staring at blue electric light waves contemplating the plunge. (I’ll take a photo tomorrow) The morning swim post run has been therapeutic.

Flytec USA and Steve Kroop came through with a vario to borrow, and I spent time customizing settings. Flytec has the market cornered, but Steve serves customers as if he exists in a highly competitive environment. His service is always lightning fast and thorough.

They called a very similar task to yesterday, adjusting us over more desert, more mountains, and less agriculture. The green ground suppresses lift. It was sweltering on the ground out at the paddock and I spent just enough time out there to suit up and get in line. I was the first flexie to tow up after the rigids and got Johnny Thompson on the trike to pull me up. It was a slow ride, but he can fly the hell out of anything.

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Spent over an hour fighting traffic for meager altitude gains. The daisy chain demeanor with light lift and lots of wing wakes was an unpleasant equation.

As pilots started heading out on course, four or five of us gathered just outside the start circle as the lift was getting better. The second start ticked over, and no one seemed interested in going. Dustin was still struggling @ the hotel, so we waited to hook up for the third. I’d been in the air for an hour and forty when we took the start and headed for the hills.

I shaded over the mountains while Dustin and Davis went around them to the south. My line was better and I kept an eye on Robin Hamilton as we pressed on. We had a really long glide to nearly the first turnpoint when things slowed down.

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Davis hit a ripper behind us and jumped ahead at the first turn while a lot of us groveled lower. It was slow, conservative going between the first and second turnpoints. Davis and others would land, while the rest of us shifted into survival mode. The second turnpoint was positioned so we’d have an opportunity to get on the big mountain range.

I finally got high enough to slide into the range and could see three unknown pilots reasonably high in front of us. Dustin and I hooked up as we scooted along the impressive chunky cliff faces watching birds dive and soar the cliffs. There must be a bullet of a thermal nearby…

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The mountain range we toured.

Dustin found it first and boosted off the cliffs. I muttered, “That a boy” on the radio and tucked in underneath him. We went tip to tip then side by side and egg beater style riding the solar radiant rocket into orbit. Topped out somewhere over 9000ft. and went hunting for the three I’d seen earlier.

Soon enough, we saw them, Hazlett, Coomber, and Bostik. We were catching them, but they were always higher. We were out over the flats again, time to downshift and be patient. Our numbers incrementally got better toward goal, there were light thermals regularly spaced.

I hit a nice punch 20km from goal and took a conservative 8 to 1. I’d fly reasonably fast, but need most all of it to comfortably make it in. Dustin evaporated from my sight, got a few hundred feet on me and shadowed me to goal until he had a cushion to pull in and dust me by 30 seconds.

Hazlett edged out Bostik, then Coomber, then Dustin and me. There was a long gap, and gliders came raining out of the sky. Many more happy faces at the resort this evening. A challenging day.

Airtime: 4:00. Flights: 1. Miles: 60