Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

February 16, 2015

Flying with Red Bull!

I've had some big flying days this week (and month) but today topped it all.  Today was my 4th time of hiking the 9 miles up with my lightweight Ozone kit.   It still feels really light...almost like hiking with no pack at all.  Perhaps I'm getting in shape?

There was a south wind in the valley, so I went north.  Very good choice.  Base was higher today,
Thermaling in the cloud
and after making the first big crossing, I thermaled up into some clouds, then got to fly straight for at least 20 km.  I was cloud surfing at 2400 meters...legal in Colombia, scary anywhere else!   It's still a little disorienting...after I while I think I'm turning in circles when I'm really going straight.  It's hard to believe the compass on my GPS but my eyes are glued to it because nothing else is visible!

Ahead of me near Ansermonuevo were a couple of pilots, so I decided to catch up to them.  They led me a merry chase for a while, it was actually difficult to get up to them.   When I caught them, I realized why...it was the Red Bull posse flying from Cali to Medellin!  I'd thought of joining them (they offered) but decided I could get more flying every day from Roldanillo.   But, I'd been following their progress via online tracking.  For 2 days the North wind had stifled their attempts, but today it was finally on to go north.   I introduced myself to Tom de Dorledot in the air (HI, I'M DAWN!), (HI, I'M TOM!).  I guess you could say we did a wingshake.    Actually I kept looking down at their wings, thinking..."That's what mine will look like in the Red Bull X-Alps!"

I thermaled and stayed with them for about 30 km.  It was actually pretty easy to stay up with them on glides...I'm not sure what wing they were flying but the Alpina 2 kept me right there with everyone!  Near the end of the narrowing valley, we crossed and got on the high ridge above the Risaralda launch site.  That's about 80 km north of where I launched btw!  At that point, I let them continue without me to the north while I turned back south to try to make it back home.  We were actually driving to Medellin the next day...unfortunately I hadn't packed yet or I would have just had Jim bring my luggage so I could have kept flying north!  

But it was pretty easy to go south, too...at least from where I was at 2900 meters...screaming high!   More cloud surfing kept me pretty high for a long ways until the ridge gave out.   Then it was time to check the map on my iPhone to see exactly where I was.   The hills kinda gave out for a while, and I think my energy was too... I landed in a cow pasture near a gas station....thankfully so I could get some snacks and water for the bus trip home.   I shared the bus with a lot of passengers, 4 dogs, and a pet bunny rabbit.

Here's my track log:  http://www.xc-hikeandfly.com/flight/1210

Thermaling with Tom de Dorledot and the Red Bull crew
Still in the clouds, very high

City on a ridge top...I think it's nice up there, a lot cooler than down in the valley!

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