Tuesday, 31 January 2012
Monday, 30 January 2012
This pic was taken after a 100km O&R record attempt before the comp a month ago. The day started @ 11 am with a 28 km run to the start and I was on the ground before 3pm. On a good day you can fly until 6pm. Imagine what a world cup field would do there!
Sunday, 29 January 2012
That we managed the start and two TPs was impressive enough, but not even the squadrons of little black raptors showing where the scant lift was saved any of us except for a handful who squeaked another half an hour out of the day. If yesterday was the 'Jacques Martin' of tasks where everyone wins, then today was its' antithesis.
As always there might be one or two freaks who will blow minds by their ability to remain aloft in the dark, but that seems unlikely today given the company I am in driving back on the recovery truck.
Saturday, 28 January 2012
Friday, 27 January 2012
Thursday, 26 January 2012
Results are out.
If the cumulative points look weird consider the 25% daily discard of the worst task... for example, look at my two scores: 975 & 927... take 50% of 927 = 463.5 and subtract that from my total (975 + 927 - 463,5 = 1437). So after four days we will subtract 100% of our worst task from the total. Got it?
The run to Divisidero was fast and furious from 3,500m ASL. Primos threw his backup after taking a big collapse with a twist. Looked like something that just wasn't going to recover low down. He landed in the trees a few seconds after the white pumpkin blossom bloomed. He got airlifted out by the resident chopper which was hectic according to the hapless pilot who said the wash from the rotors broke the branch/tree he was snagged in dropping him a couple of meters.
The return was interesting with the majority of the field stopping to climb at least 1km off to the right of the course line giving HansB and I a free lead out bonus run to Maguey and Espina before hooking up again on the way to Llano. Llano proved to be relatively easy and a tidy gaggle got up shortly after to make the glide toward Monarca.
This turned into a bit of a dog show as we got to the plateau 10km out from Monarca a little lowish and had to scrape to get up before re-grouping and taking Monarca on the tree line.
After that it was a free for all with about twenty pilots in the running behind one solo pilot who slipped the net. The run to CG was fairly straight forward with everyone staying out of trouble and completing the task. A strong showing by team USA with Eric, Josh, Jack and Nick all arriving with the first group along with my team mates, LucasB & JeremieL plus one or two Swiss. We were all going pretty fast at the end and I could not detect any advantage between the Ozone & Nviuk at the top end of the speed range.
Our team (Niviuk) was first yesterday and probably top three today!! Rock on!!
Wednesday, 25 January 2012
An interesting TASK was set requiring some thought and decision making and several changes of pace.
Start was an exit 5km from Piano with entire field on course above 3,500m ASL. Then off to Santa Maria which is normally tricky, but today proved to be easy and most got back to Maguey unscathed. The run to Elefant started fast and furious quickly deteriorating into a slow and painful phase with many pilots low and slow pushing back into the 10km/h headwind after Elefant. With 15 km to go there was some serious jockeying for position to take the last tp before the sprint to the end of SS. I decided to take the line left of the course closer to the hills which proved to be good. At least two pilots landed in the trees including our illustrious chairman, Goran. Veteran ex-world champion Hans Bollinger took the task from Raul Penso, Dusan Oros, AndreR & MarcusM. First lady was Petra who is the only female flying a two liner (and maybe Seiko). Elise Houdry went home after a day here. She was sick and some say she did not have a two-liner...
Full results can be found here
Tuesday, 24 January 2012
Everyone made goal in short order and the guv rocked up with a batch of mean looking body guards who watched us closely standing in the aisles while he declared the comp open before being whisked away Hollywood celeb style in big American cars with blacked-out windows.
My glider turned out to have a mild deformity. I got another one from Joel so we are all set for some hard flying starting tomorrow. Still no clear distinction between gliders.
Monday, 23 January 2012
The paragliding world cup super final is intended to be the ultimate competition whereby all the top in-form pilots in the world along with various 'legends' get together for an extended event to determine the world cup champion. Pilots qualified during the 2011 season by finishing in the top ten or fifteen places in any of the qualifying world cup events or by winning a pre-world cup. In addition every ex-world cup, ex-world or European champion is invited along with a handful of other notable pilots.
We have two SA pilots present. RusselA qualified in Colombia last year and I qualified in Porterville in December.
The paragliding world was cast into a sea of confusion after a world class blunder by the FAI last year when 'they' banned open class gliders from cat1 competitions and issued a strong advisory to cat2 comp organisers to do the same. Almost every NAC around the globe decided to uphold the ban and the world cup association followed suit after much deliberation. The result? Glider manufacturers scrambled to produce certified versions of the awesome open class gliders that have been developed in the last few years. At least four Manufacturers produced two-line EN D certified gliders in time for this super final. This has not been without controversy with the testing houses downing tools after the veteran test pilot, Alain Zoller, ended up in hospital testing a new-age serial wing (rumored to be one of the Valic brothers' new offerings under their '777' brand).
Ozone and Niviuk came up with a medium and Gin produced S,M & L. Swing also has a glider. It is probably too early to determine which Glider is best, but it seems they are all similar. Some would have you believe the Ozone has best glide, the Gin best climb and Niviuk best speed. In truth Valle is a tricky place to fly so minor differences in equipment performance will be negated by conditions and decision making.
I happen to be on the Niviuk. After two days of flying in the convergence at full speed and cranking it up in boisterous 6m/s thermals I think the glider is sweet and not too far off in performance to my beloved R11 albeit significantly slower at the top end.
Valle is famous for booming consistent conditions and it is expected that we will fly every day. The rules allow for a rest day after five consecutive tasks so we will have a maximum of ten days. The rules also specify that one task can be dropped every three days but not on the last last two days. This means we will drop two or three tasks (not really sure exactly how it is going to be done, but something called FTV will be employed which achieves discards but progressively on a day to day basis).
The safety briefing was especially entertaining... We were told that the 'G-Spot' is a turbulent place where a rescue team is strategically placed for our safety.
Official practice day is on Tuesday. I am flying on a Niviuk team with two French pilots Jeremie Lager and Lucas Bernadine.