Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

February 1, 2015

GOALLLL!!!!!! Task 4, Roldanillo Paragliding Competition

Mayer, Alex and I make it up to launch
I was up early again this morning to meet Alex Villa, the Colombian competitor for the Red Bull X-Alps.   Mayer Zapata was there as well, Alex's supporter for the X-Pyr the summer before.  Both of them are in the FAI Open competition, so with our wings safely on the bus up to launch, we were going to hike our way to the takeoff.

We hopped on a bus for a few miles and then started the steep hike up from Santa Rita to launch.  They knew of an even steeper, shorter way up there than I had come down the other day.  To call it a trail on the top half was a stretch...it was more of a cow track than anything, but it led straight up the side of the hill.   I really got my heart rate going, so I'll count it as my interval workout for the week! One looooong interval, that is.  It took us an hour and 10 minutes...I was soaked in sweat by the finish, it was very humid.

The clouds were looking threatening once everyone unpacked their wings, and it even rained a little.  Launch had been fogged in for hours, and it was getting late.   But this is Colombia, and eventually the clouds had lifted and we had a short task ready to fly.

Luckily the start cylinder was close to launch...over launch in fact.   That meant a HUGE start gaggle for a while, and today I managed to get high at the right time and start with everyone.    Our task took us north into the valley and then back down the other side...nothing we haven't done many times before.  The clouds started clearing and it turned into a beautiful day.   Not to say it was easy flying, but then again flying is always a challenge.   The crux of the day proved to be the turn point in the north...it came at a time when lift in the valley was very weak, and quite a few of us spent a long time circling in very little lift.

Falling all around us were thousands of half burnt sugar cane leaves falling out of a big fire thermal in the middle of the valley.  I tried to dodge them but they got in my eyes, my clothes, and inside my wing by the hundreds, I'm sure.  Unfortunately the lift from the fire thermal was mostly gone, but it still got me high enough to get back over the hills.  From there it was easy, smooth flying all the way back to goal.  I think the wind even changed halfway through the day...it felt like it was always behind me.    Goal was a popular place as a lot of people made it in.

As usual, results are here.  I'm hoping that making it to goal for a second time has moved me up a few places. I'm competing in the Sport Class as well as the Women, and doing fairly well in both but not great.

A very BIG centipede I saw on the road
Hiking up the canyon to launch
Waiting out the rain on launch

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