Monday, August 31, 2009

Lucas' Latest

Here's the latest work from Lucas Ridley. I think its super cool and really appreciate what he does to get hang gliding into the media and advertising. Check out the video and follow these instructions to vote for Lucas.

Go to:

This should take you straight to the 'Top Entries This Week," if not click "View + Vote"

Click Lucas' video  -   "Life is My Adventure - Lucas"

Click the Thumbs Up that appears to the right of the video when it begins playing.

Vote early and often!!

BOS Day 3

The sky didn't look so spectacular today, but we decided to go up to another launch that was lower, but facing into the wind. That didn't exactly work out as planned ;-)
So we opted for another comp in the warmth of the indoors. It was a close race right down the last task. But in the end, Carlos was the champion, even after bombing out on one task.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Heather Covered Hills

It's so pretty here in mid-Wales...such a pity the weather hasn't cooperated much. Yesterday was cancelled without going up the hill for rain and high wind. Today we all went up to the Long Mynd launch where the wind was howling. Nevertheless, they called a 82km task heading downwind - no other way to go really as it was blowing 20-30 on launch. I rigged and walked up to launch twice to give it a shot, but in the end it was just too much wind for my wimpiness. The flying here is so different than anything I'm used to and I can only recall one time launching (at the beach) in 25mph wind and that was in a rigid wing. I guess it's something I need to get used to if I plan to do much flying in the UK.

We heard that Gary and Grant made goal but were likely the only ones there. Quite a few landed back on top and others like me didn't launch at all.

Tomorrow's forecast looks like rain, rain, rain, so we will likely find something else to do for the day. Keeping the fingers crossed for Monday and Tuesday.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Leaving Paradise

It was really difficult leaving Slovenia. We made so many great new friends there and I can't wait to go back next year. On Sunday a big group of us decided to hike up to where Alan had crash landed on the side of the mountain and try to retrieve his flight instrument. We had coordinates, so we thought it would be easy to find. No so! The hike up was very steep and the grass and bushes were quite tall so in the end we never found it. Anyway, it was as great day with friends and an incredible site to see where he crashed on the very steep side of the mountain. He is so lucky to be alive!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Last Day

We had spectacular thunderstorms during the night last night. It was quite a show, but brought with it the high winds. The organizers tried to be optimistic and sent us all up the hill, but it was kind of clear there would be no task. Not to worry though, Gerolf brought up a Malibu and we all had fun playing with it.

This was a pretty good comp for the girls - 9 total. Here we all are (minus Regina who had to leave early)...left to right are Julia from Ukraine, Desiree from the Netherlands, Ute from Germany, Maria from Colombia, Maria from the US, Crista from Germany, Nicola from Germany and Zhenya from Russia.

About a dozen or so of us ended up at a giant airfield near the first turnpoint. The thunderstorms held off to the north all day, to our surprise.

Matjaz gets a little crazy after a long flight ;-)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Maria y Maria

....together again ;-)

We didn't make goal, just the first turnpoint. But, we both had a
fantastic time trying. There were about a dozen of here at a nice
airfield. Have I mentioned that I love this place? ;-)

Secret Weapon

137km task today and I've got the infamous "yellow" speeds sleeves for
good luck!!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My Name is Maria and I am Stupid

"I feel I must apologize for my vile use of the air today."

Ok, if I thought I was full of stupid mistakes the first two days of the comp, today tops them all. Straight off launch, I seemed to hit nothing but sink. When I finally noticed a few gliders going up off the spine in front, I headed that way, only to see one of them go completely vertical and into a dive. Well that was enough to convince me I didn't want that thermal. Unfortunately, I guess it was the only one at the time. I searched for another ten minutes until I was completely without options and couldn't even make it over launch to get to the main landing field. So, only choice then was to go around through a little slot to the south. Lucky for me that worked and made a field just at the base of the west launch, narrowly missing landing on top of a nice Slovenian factory. Even before landing I was on the radio with Maria seeing if I could have a relaunch. The organizers said sure, but the window closed at 3:00, so I better hurry. I derigged like a madman and waited for Timothy to speed down the hill for me. Unfortunately, by the time he arrived it was clear that we couldn't make it back up before 3:00.

Not my best day, for sure. But, I'm trying to snap out of it by reminding myself that I'm lucky not to have landed in the trees or on top of the factory....I'm lucky not to have a broken collar bone like Alan, who crashed into the side of the high mountains today. We're all very happy that he survived that one.

Only thing left to do today was drown my sorrows in the cold cold river and chase whimpy Austrians around threatening them with cold water.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Task 2

I was rather pleased with myself and feeling quite happy about my flight until I looked at the scores tonight ;-) My four and a half hours of effort moved me from 28th place to 33rd! Oops. Oh well, still loving this place and hoping for an even better day tomorrow.

The official blog is here

Monday, August 17, 2009

Day 1

Another beautiful day in Tolmin. Unfortunately no task as the thunderstorms encroached on launch a bit quicker than we all anticipated. They initially set an nice little 102km task going up and down the valley twice. I think it would have been a perfect task. However, after a dozen or so had launched, those of us standing in the launch line started hearing thundering behind us. Shedsy reported from the air that there was rain first about 10km from launch, then 5km, then 2km. At that point, the lightning bolts started along with the wind and we all started scrambling to get the gliders derigged before it really hit.

Pity, because the day started out so lovely.

Shedsy took this one from about 15 km on course looking back at launch as the rain caught us.
Either way, we're still having a great time here. There is a really nice relaxed group of pilots and everyone is in a great party kind of mood. Maria and I are already making plans to come back here next year.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Heaven, I'm in Heaven....

....and my heart beats so that I can hardly speak, and I seem to find the happiness I seek.

After wandering around Italy for nearly a week trying to decide whether to go to the Italian Nationals or the Kobala Open, we finally ended up here in Tolmin, Slovenia. It seems I've found a hang gliding Mecca here. If I could create my ideal flying site, it would have steep alpine mountains, smooth grassy takeoffs, green green forests, huge flat meadows for landing and soft fat thermals at every turn. Well someone has already done it. We arrived in Tolmin yesterday afternoon and I knew as soon as I drove into the main valley that I would love this place. The scenery is spectacular (Dolomite looking rocky peaks all around) and the pilots have welcomed us like we were family. The town itself is so neat and tidy - reminds me of a perfect little Swiss village.

We had a practice flight today and I couldn't be happier to be here. I went up to cloudbase straight off launch in a nice slow smooth climb. Shedsy and Maria and I cruised around the area a bit before having to land somewhat early to beat the coming thunderstorms. My teammates Christa, Ute and Regina are here along with a total of 8 girls!! Some top guys are here as well - Primoz, Tom Weissenburger and Gerolf. It's also fun to meet an entirely new group of pilots I've never seen before. I think this is going to be a great comp!

On Launch at Kobala

Brescia Baby

Ignacio Bernardi (the one behind all of the great Icaro photos you see in Cross Country magazine) runs a very popular little school in Brescia. There's a beautiful green grass training hill with a pool right at the bottom. He teaches a lot of pilots from scratch and also does a lot of towing conversion courses for those who need to learn to foot launch. Ignacio is quite a character - he has a great sense of humor and is full of energy and enthusiasm. We had a blast spending a day at his site. He recently bought the land where the upper launch is located and it's just beautiful.

Here's a shot of the training hill and main landing area.

The lift is soft and smooth and it's quite easy to reach the higher peaks behind launch, opposite the lake. I've had a bit of bug since halfway into the sailing trip in Turkey, but I had been dying to get in the air and was enjoying the view and the super smooth lift...right up until I got a second look at my risotto and decided maybe it was best to land :-(

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Italian Job

After some potential concern about my hang gliding loyalties and a bit of actual concern about the state of the car and gliders, I'm happy to report that I'm still a Moyes pilot; the car is all in one piece, shiny and clean and driving quite nicely; and of course the gliders are completely unharmed ;-) Not a thing to worry about!

So, here we are still in Italy. The original plan was to go to the Slovenian competition, but when we realized how close we were to the site of the Italian Championships in Parma, we decided to go for a quick detour and check it out. While the landscape is beautiful, as is most of Italy, the choice of landing fields around here leaves a bit to be desired. We found HQ yesterday and the organizers of the comp - they are wonderfully friendly and helpful. Alessandro showed us launch and then took us to the two official landing fields. It was too late in the day to fly - this is a very early site and they explained that during the comp, launch will open by 11am or earlier most days. So, we went up today, hoping to give it a try. Unfortunately, we were a bit late and after rigging and hooking in and hanging out on launch all ready to go for quite some time, I gave up. The wind was consistently over the back. Shedsie opted for the "over the back" launch which consisted of a ski slope slot cut in the trees off the backside. Even after his fine looking launch, I couldn't work up the courage to run down a narrow slot straight toward tall trees. Maria and I packed up and headed down to retrieve Shedsie and have a little picnic before the late afternoon thunderstorms rolled in.

Tomorrow we will try Brescia, another site on the opposite site of Parma. It's a bit more in the flatlands. Although they say conditions are soft this time of year, any airtime will be great I'm sure.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Night Sail to Gocek

We left Rhodes not long before midnight night before last and sailed through the night arriving at Gocek just after sunrise. The night sail was lovely. There's something magical about sleeping under the stars and moon on the deck of a moving boat.

Gocek is an odd little town. The marina is the most posh I have ever seen with marble bathrooms, beautifully manicured grounds and even a valet to park your boat ;-) The little village next to the marina looks like something Disney built. It is rather sterile with perfect little shops and restaurants neatly placed. Someone has clearly put a great deal of money into this place. There's even a waterfront housing development with gorgeous western style homes. Anyway, it was a fine place to sleep and work the day away. Everyone was spent after being up all night.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Cruising on Rhodes

We spent nearly 10 hours on the scooters today, cruising all over the island, doing a bit of swimming and snorkling and just exploring in general. About 50km from where we parked the boat is the small village of Lindos. We were told it was "more or less" 10 miles away...ha ha ha. Either way it was a great ride and we had a chance to roam through the village and see the acropolis at the top of town. On the way home we wandered through the mountains on gorgeous curvy roads....perfect for two wheels.

Tonight we're preparing the boat for a night sail under the almost full moon. The winds are perfect and we should arrive back in Turkey in less than the expected 9 hours.

Monday, August 03, 2009

My love across the sea....

sand between my knees, warm ocean rushes over me.

So nice to finally be on the boat. We arrived in Marmaris Saturday afternoon to a very busy tourist port town. I had never heard of this place before, but obviously many others have. It is a busy, busy city on the water revolving mostly around the boats coming and going.

An afternoon of shopping for produce and "geniune fakes" and an evening of nightlife later, we left for Ciftlik.

Some of us are practicing for the Cirque du Soleil tryouts next month.

Today we went across to Rhodes, then spent what was left of the day dealing with customs/immigration stuff for coming back to the EU, even if only for a day :-/