Monday, 17 June 2013

Barberton Open Day 2 Task 2

It's never a good thing to be on the ground when the wind shifts over the back.  So when eight or so pilots get off the ground and the rest have to watch them take the start from the launch you end up with grumpy people.  I was one of the lucky ones making goal in second place behind Henry Schurink.. Not that it matters... I had to leave due to work commitments.  I hate leaving a comp at the best of times,  but to leave after two nearly flawless days in the lead on a crispy new wing burns my arse more than a little.  I guess there will be enough pressure to invalidate today and I feel that's right despite being one of the lucky ones who managed to launch.

Then again it was a pretty special day with Sebastian landing the electric model airplane by himself AND doing his first tandem on a paraglider with Stef Junker.

I hope to return at the end of the week to get a couple more tasks in before Bulgaria.

Barberton Open - World Championship Team Training

Everyone knows about Porterville our local world class summer flying site near Cape Town.  Very few international pilots know about our winter flying site, Barberton, situtated near the Swaziland border in Mpumahlanga or the 'low veld'.  It is as popular with the local pilots and possibly even has a longer tradition of attendance.  It is certainly the family friendly comp and many SA pilots' first comp site given the gentle and safe flying conditions.  Barberton is a small town tourist town nestled in a bowl of ancient hills:

Wikipedia:   The mountains around Barberton are the oldest in the world dating back 3.5 Billion years, and these mountains include some of the oldest exposed rocks on the planet (only rocks from the Isua greenstone belt in Western Greenland are older). These volcanic rocks, which scientists call the Barberton Greenstone Belt, have given up direct evidence of conditions of life on the surface of the very early earth.
The first form of life on earth, a bacterial micro fossil Archaeospheroides barbertonis was discovered here and has been identified as being 3.2 billion years old.
It is no small thing to experience flying over this area.  The tasks may be modest by most standards, but what they lack in grandeur they more than compensate for in technical subtlety and picturesque appeal.
With a month to go we decided to make this a team preparation event as well as a fund raiser.
In this respect we had a very well attended auction and spit braai.  It is humbling to experience the broad generosity of our flying community considering how few people ever get to go to the worlds. 
Day1 Task 1
It was looking like a great day, so we were given a spider web of back-and-forth racing with multiple start points and routes.
I unpacked my brand new Boom Boom and launched early taking a 5 m/s freight train straight to cloudbase @ 2,200m ASL within minutes.
The temptation to wax lyrical about my GIN B9 colour 'apple' is almost too much to resist, but I will simply refer you to an earlier post (The (long, skinny, sexy, awesome) Glider)

The apple carried me around the course in just over an hour without interference from any competitor until the very end where Anton snuck by while I was site-seeing on half bar.  Forgive the pompous tone of this last paragraph, but sometimes, once in a rare while, you just get the lines exactly right and flying feels effortless.  My family spoiled me for fathers day and my glider played along too.

Weight Shift

Who would have thought that the there would be a positive spin-off of the EN-D comp-debacle?
Around the globe we find a bunch of extra large men munching on carrot sticks, sipping Perrier and nibbling on calorie deficient foodstuffs as though a metro-sexual revolution has swept the global paragliding ranks.
The reason is simple:  If you want to be competitive at the upcoming world championships in Bulgaria, then you have a choice of glider and size.  Order anything you like as long as it is a medium GIN Boomerang 9. 
I was deciding how to go about trimming down for this season, so I asked my son, Sebastian, for advice. 
It went something like this:
Dad: I need to lose, weight.  What do you suggest?
Son: Why do people get fat dad?
Dad: If they are not sick, it is probably because they eat too much or don't get enough exercise.
Son: Is aunty Dorothy sick?
Dad: Not as far as I know, why?
Son: Are you sick dad?
Dad: Never mind.
...And thus, armed with the wisdom of a seven year old, I cut out beer and carbs and voila!  My target of 13 pounds shed in six weeks with four weeks to go .. I may even have the luxury of ballast this time.
I thought I was the only one with this problem, but it turns out there are several big lads out there turning lean.  The difference this time is that it looks like none of the manufacturers are having much success certifying anything other than medium size gliders so it has to be a lifestyle change rather than a crash course.  Time to stop weight training and start swimming again I guess...
Come to think of it, there are probably a whole group out there with the opposite problem.  What are they doing?  Sumo-style feasts, steroids and heavy weight training maybe?