Sunday, August 22, 2010

British Nationals Day 1

They called an ambitious 125km task for the first day of the British Nationals.  I was surprised because the day looked much like yesterday which was quite stable.  The only difference was we had nice south wind on takeoff.  Yesterday was dead calm all day at launch and we all ended up taking off on the north side either in nil wind or 1 or 2 mph.  

I got off the hill right in the middle of the pack and was feeling like I launched at just the right time.  Ben Dunn found a nice one for me and we circle up together well over launch, but not quite to cloudbase.  After hanging around launch longer than I would have liked, waiting for anyone to go on course, Kathryn finally joined me and we decided to go out together toward the first turnpoint.  We made a joking pack yesterday that we would fly and land together every day and finish the comp as co-women's-english-national champions ;-)  Neither of us is English, of course, but since we're the only girls here, we figured we were a shoe in.

So, the pack is intact so far.  We headed on course for the ridge north of launch where the first turnpoint was.  Gordon Rigg had given us a great little briefing before launch with heaps of tips on where to go and what works and what doesn't.  He explained exactly how and where would should work the ridge at the turnpoint which we did, exactly the way he suggested.  I was pleased with myself for being able to follow his instructions so well - usually I just end up off on my own, doing my own thing.

Unfortunately, it wasn't a normal day and his suggestions weren't so fruitful.  Kathryn and I worked the ridge together trying everything we could in the burbly air, surfed around in the ridge lift for a bit, but to no avail.  After quite a lot of trying, we had lost most of our altitude and had to glide into the valley for a landing field.  There were two others already there and another four came after us, each of them trying exactly as we had and each of them eventually getting too low and gliding out to our field.  

The view is beautiful from up there and if only the lift was smooth and beautiful, I would be very pleased.  I'm hoping for nicer air tomorrow, but counting my blessings flying with Damien feeling relatively comfortable in the somewhat rough air.  

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