No personal drama today, lots of clean socks and underwear. My glider was in good shape this morning. They posted the results at 12:30 this morning. Gerolf is in first place by one second over Oleg. Four pilots took the 12:45 start time and had quicker times than Manfred. Christian (if he had longer hair would look like a young Paul McCartney) is in first place in the rigid class. The first four pilots in the rigid class had faster times than the fastest flexwings.

They moved the pilotís meeting to 10:00 (10:08 in pilotís time, always late). There were some awards for the first place in each class (a Moyes T-shirt?). Each pilot told us his secret for winning (get high and find the best thermals). Gerolf said Oleg almost ran into him at goal, less than a meter separation. Clair, as our newest American citizen, led us (reluctantly on her part) in the pledge of allegiance.

A 65 mile out and return task was called with 3 turn points: Quest to the north; 17-92 intersection to the south; and a point in between. A few minutes before the tows started, the meet director announced a secondary task. The main task would end at 3:00. If you did not make goal, it was strictly a distance-completed contest.

I towed up at 11:30. The lift was OK, about 100 to 200 fpm. I boated around for an hour. I seemed to be doing better today, staying closer to the top of the gaggle. I thought I had a good start; I was at 2800í, 3 miles out right at 12:30. I took the first start gate because I did not think anyone would make goal and distance would be more important (I was right for once).

I donít know how these top rigid pilots do it, but soon after the start it looked they were already a couple of miles ahead. At 12:30 I could see the flexi gaggle at the edge of their start circle 2 miles further out. I donít know how I can ever catch them. At exactly 12:30 all I could see was the back of their sails. This lead gaggle slowly pulled away as the day continued. By 3:00 they were about 7 miles ahead of me.

I did much, much better today. I stayed above 2,000í most of the day, most of the time above 3,000í. Only once did I get nervous about my altitude. I slowly caught up to the lead gaggle stragglers (flexieís). Once again I caught up to Clair and thermaled with her for a short time. I swear I was catching up to other rigids, although I donít know how they all got in front of me. Any time I found lift and I was below 2500í I would turn in it. If it did not get better than 400 fpm after a few turns, I would look elsewhere. A few times the lift was better than 1000 fpm. The air was never rough enough that I could not fly one handed or with the bar to my waist. So far the thermal cores here feel like they are surrounded by light lift (a 800 fpm core might have 100 to 200 fpm 400 yard away). Many of the western thermals I find might start right at the edge at 800 fpm, with a core a few hundred fpm better.

At 2:50 PM I went on final glide, while heading for the last turn point. 3 miles from the turn point I saw the lead gaggle pass under me. Several of them raced to the ground. I was a few tenths of a mile short of the turn point at 3:00. Many of the pilots either did not hear about the 3:00 stop time or forgot. I passed 6 to 10 pilots who were still thermaling a couple of minutes before 3:00. No one made goal. Manfred was the closest, 48 seconds short of goal at 3:00. Bob Blazer, my driver, said he saw 5 to 10 other rigid pilots pass before me, so I might have made the top 10 in the rigid class today.

I got the last turn point just for the heck of it (and so I can use this flight for our local club XC comp - take note Scot). There was a rain squall heading toward the course line about 5 miles south of the Ranch. The lift in front of the squall was so good that I only made 3 360ís on the 10 miles back to the ranch. I flew at 40 to 45 mph most of the way back. I wanted to get on the ground before the rain. I landed back at the Ranch. It never did rain. Total flight time was 3:47. This included the hour between the tow and the start time. On yesterday's flight I was in the air 3:45. I am very soar (pun intended). Since Labor Day of last year, I have had less than 2 Ĺ hours of airtime. Now I have over 7 hours in two days. To say that my muscles ache is an understatement. Thanks to modern pharmacology, Iím able to keep going.

I beat Rich Sauer today by a few miles. He took a later start time and never caught me. Since no one made goal, we are all scored on miles completed only. Steve Rudy landed at hwys 474 and 27. We got the radio problems worked out. We had good communications today. Bob drove all over the place trying to stay in contact, even though Rich and I made it back to the Ranch.

Another word on the death gaggles. I donít remember if I wrote this already, but I can hear a lot of other varios in the gaggle. And, I had to keep my head up for almost an hour at the start today looking for traffic.

A couple of final rants. They donít have enough electrical outlets in our motel room. We must have 6 or 7 items to plug in each night to charge. We only have two lights we can use since we had to unplug the rest to use them for our chargers. And all the gas pump nozzles we have used do not have the lock-on feature. You have to hold the nozzle on the entire time (which I had to do in the rain yesterday).

The weather for the rest of the week looks good. We might end up with a 5-day comp.

My vario trace for the flight. (click on it for a larger version)

Vince