Friday, October 31, 2008

Pictures by Nico Glennon

Mike Glennon's son Nico is here with us. He's just 16 and learning to fly and doing a fantastic job of being my personal photographer. All of these great shots are his.


Dustin won the day by a huge margin today, close to a minute ahead of everyone else. Obviously the last two months of preparation really paid off for him!

We had the strongest winds I've experienced here in Canoa. The 20 or so MPH wind in launch made for rather scary conditions and after watching Mike Glennon do a full 360 right of of launch, hugging the uprights, completely out of control, I questioned whether it was just too much for me. In the end I worked up the courage and had a fine launch and lovely flight despite nursing a nasty cold.

OB came in second, Daniel Velez third, Mike Glennon (happy to be alive) fourth and Mark Dowset rounded out the tip five.

Hoping for more of the same tomorrow!!!

Sent from my iPhone

Gry Keeper

It seems people all over the planet are vying for the job of the Gry Keeper. Jeffo first had it until Jack stepped in. Now the Norwegians have heard about her. Anyway, she's a sweetheart and we're happy to have met her.

Practice Day

Fantastic first full day of flying at Canoa!! They have lengthened the course a bit from the last two years and have us flying further north out along cliffs with no landing possibilities. It's pretty scary flying across the flat town of Canoa, ending up at the cliffs low with no place to land just trusting that the lift will be there. I tried the course twice yesterday and scared myself pretty good the first time, arriving much lower than I would have liked.
Lots of new faces here this year.  This is Pablo who is the nephew-in-law of Felix Ruelle.  Pablo and I actually met in Cucco this summer where he was learning to fly.  He's a great kid!  

There go the boys, racing down low!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Canoa At Last!!

For the first time since I've been coming to Canoa, the ferry crossing was a breeze! The line was short and our caravan managed to make it on the first and second ferries coming in. We rolled into the Sol y Luna on the beach just a bit after five and rushed up the hill for a quick evening flight before the sun set. Wind was light and darkness came quickly, so we only got maybe 30 minutes in, but it was all smiles packing up on the patio. After the long drive we were all itching to get our feet of the ground again.

We found great Norwegian girl, Gry, alongside the road and brought her with us to Canoa. She did a tandem with Dustin in Guayaquil and had so much fun we talked her into coming on to the beach with us. She's out doing more tandems now and I'm guessing we'll have her hooked in no time.

Photos from Teresa!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bolon con Queso

On the road through the Ecuadorian outback. It's about a six hour or
so drive and here I sit with my iPhone. Funny thing about the
technology of our day...haven't decided if it's good or bad that I can
sit here on the equator having a nearly realtime chat with someone on
his evening commute in a city thousands of miles from here where it's
snowing. On the positive side, I very rarely feel alone, no matter how
far I am from the people that mean the most to me. On the other hand,
I often wonder if it keeps me from truly being where ever it is I am??

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Hombres Pajaro Copa

Big day for us - they held a press conference at the hotel introducing us and really playing up our titles/accomplishments. It was fun to be a part of, but hard not to laugh at times, particularly since we were all doing our best to make the others laugh during their interviews. All of the major television stations in Guayaquil were there and it took up most of our day, so no flying. Raul's energy and dedication to our sport is fantastic. Wouldn't it be nice if we could gather so much attention (not to mention major sponsorship) for a hang gliding comp in the US.

We will leave first thing in the morning for the long drive to Canoa...just one full practice day before the competition starts on Friday. Meanwhile, the boys are having fun hiding each others' parts at the hotel. Dustin is freaking out because his 9 kilos of lead ballast (just enough to give him the same wingloading as Jeffo) has mysteriously disappeared. I'm guessing it will magically turn up again before we head out in the morning.

Thankfully, they didn't make me do the interview in my pitiful Spanish. Left to right at the table are Mike Glennon from Colombia, me representing Germany, the press guy, Raul, the bossman putting on the show, Mark Dowsett from Canada and Dustin from the US.

Es Paseo

There have been a group of young local kids out at the paddock each day. Sweet and incredibly polite boys who are so curious to see what we're up to. Yesterday as they were leaving, they went around to each of us and shook our hands saying goodbye. It was the oddest thing to see in young kids - I was totally impressed.

Good thing yesterday was our last day towing in Guayaquil. Apparently a few of the jetliners were complaining about hang gliders "cutting across their flight path" and we were finally shut down late in the afternoon. The approach to Guayaquil airport takes them right across the paddock about 2000 feet or so AGL. We laughed in amazement every time one came through, but the reality is, it was crazy for us to be there.

After a little press conference this morning, we'll finally be on our way to Canoa!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Another busy day starting with a tasty fish soup breakfast and heaps of flying. Turns out conditions weren't so great for an xc task, either that or we were just lazies. We hung out around the field dodging jetliners on approach into Guayaquil, taking with the kids (I'm finding I can actually hold conversations in Spanish...with children) and doing some spot landings. Here's OB's who was closest to the spot today.

We've got two trikes out at the field, one for taking people on rides and another for towing. Jonathan, a young pilot from Quito has been doing an amazing job of towing. He can't be more than 20 years old, but he's clearly a natural pilot - as smooth as my favorite tug pilot Lisa Kain at Quest. We're very lucky to have him!

Went for a run through the tiny streets of Guayaquil today. Apparently running is not such a popular pastime in Ecuador because everyone I passed looked at me as if I had lost it. Maybe the problem is I'm a Gringa ;-)

Task 1

We've called an open distance task following the river to the north. Conditions look just like yesterday, soft and light, but we should be able to get well out of the city into the green countryside. Manuel and Elle on the film crew will be following us north. I hope we get to see the documentary they're working on before we head home. Manuel is a pro surfer and filmmaker from Ecuador and his beautiful fiancé Elle is a Brit living and working here as a photographer.

A shot of our tow paddock with most of the gliders huddled under the Redbull tent...

Poop & Boobs

It's always fun being the only girl traveling with ten guys. The topic
of conversation is so predictable.
We had a little media show yesterday out at the tow paddock right on the edge of Guayaquil. Two trikes and non-stop towing all day. The totally overcast sky didn't stop the thermals, but made it reasonably cool on the ground. We were all treated like rock stars and handed a Conquer beer to drink while being interviewed. Dustin took one of the cameraman for very exciting little tandem flight with a bit of an overshot landing into the set up area ;-) I had my first towing flight without Elvis and, like Dumbo and his feather, quickly learned I could do just fine without him. I guess Elvis stays on the ground from now on.

More of the same for today!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

International Traveling Circus


Conquer is a new Ecuadorian bear and the sponsor of the Canoa Ridge Race this year. They're taking very good care of us in Guayaquil for the first few days of the trip. Today we're towing for the media, flying right on the edge of the city. It's a bit on the dusty side and reminds me of Santa Ctuz Flats, but not so hot and with lots of friendly spectators. The boys are testing out all of their equipment and still talking plenty of smack re who will rule the ridge.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Mental Resolve of a Faberge Egg

I'm here at the boarding gate with the boys. So entertaining watching
Princess Dustina talk crap to OB about who is going to win the race at
Canoa and the $4000 prize money for first place. OB reminded us that
he brought the winner's black panties from the European tour, so I'll
make it a point to post photos of the winner in them.

All five gliders made it on fine, we had our round of tequila shots
and we're on our way!!

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Teaching Max some very useful skills!!

His girlfriends will thank me, but his daddy is gonna kill me when he
sees this ;-)

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Cheese Stands Alone

Back at Quest for the weekend after a few weeks of yucky weather. So, so good to have my feet off the ground and I have to remind myself every day how lucky I am to live in Florida where we're still flying in our shorts and t-shirts while everyone else is starting to pack up their gear for the winter. I feel much less like a girl now and that's a very good thing!

The streets were lining up all the way to Georgia even at sunset, but I because of a training run this morning and the 2-hour drive from the beach, I didn't get in the air early enough to take advantage of them. Instead Lauren and I just sat on top of the boys, like we always do ;-)

Dustin likes to pretend he's gonna land on the dragonfly.
I'm super happy to report that Nicole has solo'd and has been tearing up the sky in the Falcon. A bit more airtime and she'll be ready for the women's worlds!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Life as a Girl

Ok, this is an old video, but I'm feeling way more like a girl than I ever wanted to. This really makes me laugh about our gender and how difficult we (we meaning the female gender, not ME, of course ;-) can be.

Grumpy Lawyer

Rotten weather for the past two weeks and no flying has made the naughty lawyer into the grumpy lawyer, so no posts for a while. Lucky for me, I'll be on a plane for Ecuador in a little over a week, with my buddies flying till I can't stand it anymore.

In the meantime, I get to play auntie every day, actually catch up on work, and learn new words like COMMUNIFAKING. Yep, we've all done it, just didn't know there was a name for it - pretending to talk on your mobile to avoid having to talk to a real person standing in front of you. Apparently, there are actually rules for this! For instance, its acceptable to communifake to avoid unwanted male attention (you're waiting for a friend at the local pub and don't want to be hit on), or to avoid looking like a loser at a party where you don't know anyone. However, it's NOT ok when you're expecting a call and the phone rings mid "conversation" making you look like a total idiot, or on the subway where everyone knows there's no net anyway.

Yes, this is how bored I get when I'm not traveling. Sad sad state.