How much variety do we expect? Roldanillo has more than a bag of mixed nuts in a single day. From the romping joy of the first day and the schizophrenia of day two, to the plodding gloom of day three.
Today (task 4) was une salade mixte: A little bit of rock 'n roll with a strong infusion of utter desperation topped with a dressing of relief, joy, hope, surprise and, ultimately, disappointment. The latter was on account of the fact that we did not see the winning group scream into goal from the west ten minutes ahead of our fabulously fast gaggle smugly threading the cumulus cloud-street needle to imagined glory.
Ah well! you can't win them all. At least I got to fly with some friends. In particular I spent a large part of the day sharing thermals with Carlos, Juan, Chris, Nick and Guy Anderson whom I so famously "discovered" in Montelegre some years back (see 'the future of English paragliding' here in 2012 and here in 2014). Guy has a low number on his wing which casts a credibility aura and appropriate following in the air. Low numbers (less than twenty) are earned at the world cup super-final and are not to be taken lightly.
The splurb on my blog says something about flying with fascinating people. I have never honored this pronouncement properly so I thought I would start 'at home'. Here are some things you probably didn't know about the people I am traveling with:
Anton Naude: Eight time senior protea national team pilot. Attained Northern Transvaal Schools colours in Judo & Target shooting. Anton has also represented SA at the PPG world championships on the tandem & trike. He has a Bcom. in Accounting and a Btec. in internal auditing. He has two children and two grandchildren.
Chris van Noord: Two time SA protea national team pilot. Provincial colours as part of the south eastern transvaal youth choir touring France & Italy in 1988. He was a motor-cross-maniac breaking at least six bones per year for four years. Before paragliding Chris was an avid sky-diver with 3,000 jumps, 300 wing suit jumps, and 100 base jumps. He spent a week in the infamous Pretoria central prison (where they keep the blade runner) in 1991 for stealing a general's official car while in the air force. Two ex-wives and two kids. Proudest moments were when his kids were born and when he scored for the SA team the first time in task three.
Russell Achterberg: Three time SA protea national team pilot. Schools, provincial and national .22 shooting (despite the shaking). Achieved senior national colours in the Tornado sailing class for world champs in 2000. Springbok scout. Phd. in electrical engineering. One divorce, two kids. Second wife more to his liking. Prefect in junior and high school. Never been locked up. Never in naughty corner. Doesn't play bridge very well. Specialities include: spilling booze on Andre whilst travelling; losing stuff; general clumsiness.
Khobi Bowden: Three time SA protea national team pilot. Her Grandad was the first British man to break the sound barrier in an aircraft. Two degrees: Bsc. in mathematics from London School; Bsc. hon. in business and computers from belfast university. Khobi ran a restaurant/bar in st. Lucia in the Caribbean in the nineties where her guests shot one another on occasion. Arrested in st. Lucia for parking offence.
Theunis de Bruyn: professional student with a Bcom in business management and about to complete a mechanical engineering degree. School prefect in junior and high school. Provincial school rugby and six years provincial road cycling up to U19. Clarinet grade 5. Rock climber.