Friday, July 31, 2009


We've made our way half way down to Marmaris were we will pick up the boat tomorrow. Staying in the city of Selcek just 3 km from the ancient ruins of Ephesus was a convenient half way point and we got to spend the day in the hot sun at this site which is one of the seven ancient wonders of the world. Imagine that! And I didn't even know it was here ;-) Really enjoyed the day, despite the heat and lack of shade. On the walk back to town we found a perfect outdoor restaurant where we lounged on the turkish carpets and ate spinach in pitas for hours. Finally, long after dark we thought we should make our way back to the hotel via a little dirt road in the trees, then through a cemetery.

I like Selcek much better than Izmir where we spent last night even with little yappy dogs chasing us home in the moonlight.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Our flight finally left Milan last night and we made our way to the flat in Istanbul about 2am. The streets were still alive at that hour, even on a Tuesday night. The city is strange and very foreign, but beautiful and friendly. Although they're always trying to sell you something, the people are smiling and open.

We visited all of the usual tourist sites and came home this evening with sore feet from all the walking and full bellies from all the baklava. Claudia said she would be flying a tandem glider if she stayed here too long.

The singing voice signaling the call to prayer several times a day is odd and makes me feel as though I'm in a movie.

The most spectactular site we saw was a huge underground sistern built between 500 and 600 AD. It was enormous and eerily lit with red lamps.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Proof that I do actually work....

Claudia, Timothy and I having been sitting in the airport in Milan for about 5 hours now. Our flight to Istanbul is delayed with mechanical problems and there seems to be no end in sight. In all likelihood we'll have to spend the night here and delay our touristicating in Istanbul one more day. Oh well, at least I'm getting a bit of work done, despite being harassed by my so called friends ;-)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Bye Bye Love

We said goodbye to Ager early yesterday morning and after dropping Carl off at the airport in Barcelona, the Little Claud and I headed northeast toward Milan. It's about a 10 hour drive and we though we would just get as far as we could. It wasn't very far. We spotted a sign for the Salvador Dali museum in Figueres, his birthplace. Cool place...that guy was a bit of a wackjob though.

Shedsie caught up to us and met us for lunch and a bit of messing about. We're now somewhere along the coast of France and will arrive near Milan today to get ready for nearly two weeks in Turkey!!!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Last Day Off

David at our hotel suggested a gorgeous hike along the face of the ridge we were flying during the comp. It is little more than a mountain goat trail much of the way and was quite intimidating at times.

Friday, July 24, 2009


Another day with very high winds yesterday. It was such a pity because the sky was gorgeous.

Claudia and I wandered around the village in the morning when it was cool enough to be out in the sun.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Pictures for XC Magazine!

Anyone have any in-air shots from the Worlds? Cross Country Magazine is the best in our sport and is always lacking for hang gliding content. So, all of you that complain there's too much paragliding and not enough hang gliding in the magazine, now's your opportunity.

The Editor has asked for usable, in focus, high resolution, in-air photos. They pay regular rate. The address to send them to is: as hi-rez jpgs.

Myles Below Me

The wind has picked up here in Ager and it's giving us a few much needed rest days. Things in Spain seem to go 24/7. Dinner doesn't start until 10pm normally and it is rare to get into bed before midnight. I guess I'm old because I have a hard time keeping up with that kind of schedule for weeks on end.

The pre-Euros were a great success from my perspective. On the podium were Blay in first, Martin Harry in second and my sweetie in third. Carl needed to stay consistent on the last day and suspected that at least one pilot above him would over race considering how close the scores were between the top four. In the end, both Primoz and Jonny race themselves to the ground and with Carl making goal, that moved him into third. He was very pleased! Kathleen Rigg ended up top female at 13th overall. She's doing some brilliant flying!!

Blay Senior gave a very sweet speech on Jr.'s behalf because, as he explained "My son doesn't speak so well ;-)" thanking Moyes and Blay's mentors.

We started off the British Nationals with two great days. Day 1 was particularly good for me because I made goal!! For anyone that's been to Ager, you know that it can be a bit turbulent and there are many areas where we fly tasks that have more unlandable terrain than I would prefer. So, I was awfully nervous the first day. I have to send a special thank you to Kathleen who gave a priceless bit of advice before she headed back to the UK. She told me to just keep telling myself "turbulence equals fun!" That was my mantra for the first day. There were times, especially during the big gorge crossing to the east, where the air was not at all the way I like and her advice worked beautifully. Between that and having young Myles with me for nearly the whole first task, I managed to make my way to goal, slowly, but surely. At the briefing the next day, Carl and I got his and hers matching Buffs for our story of "love and romance" from the Meet Director. The story goes like this - Carl radio'd me from goal saying that conditions were good coming in and it was lifty over the goal field, so he would thermal up and come back for me. I was 20 km out at that point and by the time he reached me, I only had 4 km to go. But, it was very very sweet of him. At least that's what I thought until he literally started flying circles around me ;-) I have a few lessons to learn about that VG rope.

The second day was an exercise in patience and determination, both of which I am lacking. I'm sure that's why the universe serves up days like this for me. Three times when I got way below launch, I headed out to the bomb out field to give up only to find a big fat thermal that took me up above launch again. Unfortunately, the glide back to the hill was less than great and I would arrive back there too low to head over the back and on course. On the fourth attempt, I finally made it over but was not happy to see that I was completely alone. Scary prospect for a big chicken who has never gone over the back into what looked very much like a no man's land with absolutely no flat fields and no sloped ones that looked even close to big enough to land in. Oh well, off I went anyway, staying as high as I possibly could and repeating my mantra. The going over the back experience was good, but that was about as far as it went. I made the first turnpoint and headed across the mountains to the only landable valley I could see. Serious land suck came from the gorgeous flat fields there and I succumbed. Not 10 minutes later young Myles appeared again to my delight. Seems he was with me in spirit again on day 2.

Yesterday, what would have been task 3 was cancelled after driving up, rigging and waiting around on the hill for the afternoon. The wind started out ok, but was forecasted to increase and it did. In the end, 2 crazies flew and the rest of us derigged. Some headed to the lake for a dip in the cool blue water. I love this place.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Task 2

Really tough day today. It was definitely an exercise in patience and
determination. I spend over an hour between launch and the bomb out
field going up and down but not getting high enough to jump over the
back. When I finally did get enough altitude to go over I was all by
my onsies and quite nervous.

So, I have landed between the first and second turnpoints and despite
not seeing my new best mate Myles the entire flight, managed to land
right next to him. How perfect is that!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Task 6

Long and tiring day today. They originally called a 162km task coming back to Ager. However, after some grumbling from the usual suspects, they decided that the trip back to Ager from the turnpoint had a dangerous crossing over unlandable terrain (crossing the gorge we hiked into on the cancelled day). So, at the last minute, they changed the task and opted to use a turnpoint about 30km short of Ager as the goal. Unfortunately, the turnpoint was in a small village with no decent landings on final glide or in the goal cylinder of 2 km.

After a rough and not terribly pleasant flight, I landed in the Ager landing field, packed up in a hurry and rushed off to goal. While the new goal was only 30 km away by air, the drive was over an hour. I arrived at the coordinates to find the goal crew cruising around the small village trying to find a reasonable landing field. No luck. Along with about a half a dozen other chase cars, I searched around the town for a flat field. Just about the time I was ready to give up, I heard from Carl on the radio asking what the wind was doing at goal. Having no idea where "goal" really was, I had to just throw my hands in the air. I guess I must be able to smell Carl though, because just at that moment, I looked up and there he was, directly over me. What luck!! I must be the best retrieve driver on the planet ;-)

Turns out the choice of goal points was perhaps not the best. The main field that most pilots landed in at goal was not good. Spanish Ako took out both uprights and a basebar on landing. Another pilot had a bad landing and probably has a bit of a concussion. She was taken away by ambulance, but reports say she's fine but for a little confusion. My thoughts are with her.

At pin-in, Gerolf was deep in discussion with the CIVL, no doubt informing them of his opinion as to the safety (or lack thereof) of the task.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Jonny here first!!

Section 7 Dress Code

As they fly the task today, I sit in the camping HQ drafting a proposal to the CIVL for a dress code.

Some infringements are clearly more egregious than others.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Salute!!! Captain Jenny. First time in goal. Well done Jenny!!!

Cancelled Day 3

Things started out breezy at our house yesterday morning and we wondered if it would end up being too windy for a task. On launch the sky looked different than any other day with high stuff moving rather quickly. After a couple of hours and one wind dummy getting bounced all over the sky, they finally canned it.

Perfect day for getting a little dirty then! We cruised down the backside of the mountain doing a bit of exploring. Found an old car with a makeshift gravesite next to it and invented a great story.

There's a giant photo in the stairwell of a nearby gorge. We've been dying for a rest day to check it out. It was unbelievably hot when we finally left launch, so the ice cold river was a welcome treat. The car park is right next to the river and a gorgeous meadow that would make for the perfect landing field. It's about an hour hike then into the gorge.

After the hike we treated ourselves to a little spa day at the river's edge. I felt like a kid making mud pies again ;-)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Goal Day 2

Hot hot hot day at goal in Tremp. Young Blay blew them all away coming in well ahead of most everyone. Although he took the first start and many others took later starts, I'm sure he will still win the day.

Carlos had another good day. He's really getting into coming to goal with a few thousand meters of extra altitude ;-) We learned on the way home from goal that the scores from yesterday changed after a few more pilots were processed. This meant that Carl and Gerolf tied yesterday. With Gerolf not making it in today, Carl may move into first...hard to say for sure though.

Nice to see Mario at goal and he was sure happy to be there, hooting and hollering across the line.
Also great to have Aussie Cameron in fast...third into goal. Here's a shot of Hadewych with her meat ;-)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

On Course on Day 1

They're on course now and Carl is reporting that he's just coming to the last turnpoint!!! Sounds like he's doing quite well. I get to watch from the lovely patio on top of the hill overlooking Ager. But, I think it's time to head down to goal and watch my guy kick some bottom.