The mosquitoes were especially vicious last night. We were having a regular swat fest. The reason we were all sitting around swatting mosquitoes was Red Bull was here to show us their latest extreme airsport video. It was filmed in the monument valley on the Navaho reservation. In the video they were BASE jumping, paragliding, and hang gliding. They had some very interesting camera shots. It was well worth the mosquito on slot to watch. When I went to my tent to sleep, I spotted a lightning bug. I have never seen them in Florida before. They have lots of them in Pennsylvania (where I was born).
The sky was clear this morning as I left my tent. The winds are light. This is the last day of the meet. In January, I had my left shoulder operated on to remove some bone that was interfering with the nerves and tendons. The surgery worked great as I do not have any pain in my shoulder. Last year at this time it hurt so bad I was sure I had a torn rotator cuff. The wonders of modern medicine.
The rest of today's report will be short so I can attend the celebrations and possibly drink a beer. A triangle task of 57 miles was called. There was a blue hole over Quest at 1:00 and no one wanted to take off so all times were moved back 1/2 hour. Finally some clouds started to drift down from the north.
I was second to tow and was able to climb to cloud base (5000') relatively quickly. I headed north so I would have a down wind run for the first turn point. I was in good position for the last rigid start so that's what I took. The day looked a lot like yesterday. I was all by myself and under a cloud street. I was ahead of everyone until half way to the turn point. This is when I chickened out and turned 90 degrees left to join the lead gaggle. I should have flown my own course. I came under them low and was never in a good position again.
The leg to the second turnpoint was directly into the wind. There were 4 or 5 of us that were slogging it out. We came in under the lead gaggle once, but there was no lift there. I would not be surprised if it took us 15 thermals to go 18 miles. Finally, 5 miles from the turn point we climbed to 6,000' and were able to make some forward progress. We found great lift over the turn point and climbed back to 6,000'. I caught up to Mark Stump who had taken the earlier start time. We dropped off Christoff and Jim Yocom a little earlier.
Mark and I flew together on some long glides to goal at Quest. It only took three thermals for 20 miles. There were lines of lift along the way. At our final thermal, the lead flex wing pilots caught us. We were on final glide with them. I can't believe how much their technology had improved in the last two years. At that time I could at least keep up with them. Now they easily out glided both Mark and me. I guess rigid wings have improved as well as shown by the performance of the Atos VX, the V and the Tsunami.
It looked like Oleg was in the lead all the way to goal. At goal I did something stupid and tried to grab the money bag, but it was still in Steve Kroop's hand. When I went to rock up and land my harness did not and I whacked. Total cost to try for the bag, $3 for the two downtube weak links.
Ollie landed just short and John went down at the second turn point. I off to party now.