I thought I would wait to post about yesterday's task until I had a chance to sleep on it and hopefully feel differently (or better). But, I guess that did work...woke up this morning feeling just as crappy about this whole competition as I did when I fell asleep last night. Oh well.
After making it only maybe 25% of the way around the course yesterday, I spent the entire evening with my girls "support group"...ha ha ha. Kathryn and Hadewych are fantastic for hearing all of my thoughts about the flight and most importantly, they understand exactly how I feel and can relate. I'm very lucky to have good friends.
Here's the conclusion that I have come to: No matter how good a pilot I may or may not be, competition flying is so much more psychological than anything else I do and it most definitely requires a particular personality type to do well. Take the Russian girls for instance, who have been amongst the top for as long as I've been competing. Russians are generally very rugged people (and I honestly do mean this in the best possible way). Historically, they have struggled and have had to flight for everything they have. Compare that to even an average American (and I don't consider myself average in this sense). We have it easy....very easy. I have had it easy my entire life. I've had no hardship of any kind to speak of. I've never had to fight for anything. That doesn't make for a very tough girl. That doesn't make me a pilot that's easily able to push my way through the rough stuff.
So that was my day yesterday. The air was rough and I was scared. Hadewych told me about how her flying mentor explained it to her and I really like it. He said that we all have a "cup" where the stress accumulates. Depending on the size of your cup, you can handle a little stress or a lot of stress during a flight. Once that cup is full, that's really it, the stress starts to overflow and there's not really much to do but land. Some people have cups that are really big and others aren't so big. Sometimes it feels like it might be nice to have been born Russian. Maybe history has made the Russian cups huge ;-). Either way, I know for sure that mine isn't big enough. At the start of the flight I had two particular times in very turbulent air, not feeling like I was much in control. I managed to keep it together and flew to the first turnpoint, then back to launch and across the lake to the second turnpoint. But there, my cup was 9/10 full and when what felt like the hand of god grabbed hold of my glider as if to smite me, that damned cup started to overflow, like Niagra Falls!!
On the really bright side, the one landable field where I went down was gigantic (comparably) and flat and grassy and slightly uphill into the wind. How perfect is that!!? The only thing that would have made it more perfect would be an ice cream truck driving by on the little paved road beside me.
Today is another day and the sky looks glorious. I'm going to do my best to keep a good (better) attitude!!! ;-).