Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

February 17, 2015

Ozone X-Alps Sponsorship: Testing the Alpina 2 and Ozium!

So as I've said recently, Ozone is sponsoring me for the Red Bull X-Alps race in July!  This week was my first chance to take some practice runs in the setup I'm going to use for the race.   While I've been flying a Delta 2, and love it, of course I'm going to want something lighter.   The Alpina 2 has the same design as the Delta 2, it's just made of lighter material, and it weighs almost a KILO less than the Delta 2.   My harness also got a lot lighter, I'll be using the Ozone Ozium, and the manufacturers tell me my race harness will be an even lighter version of the one I'm testing now, which weighs in at only 2.4 kilos.   The Alpina 2 weighs about 4 kilos, and my whole kit should come in at about 8 kilos, or under 18 pounds.  That's before I add a bit of water and food, etc.  What I know already is that on my back it seems really light...I've carried it up a 9 mile hill (and 3000 vertical feet) to launch a few times already, and I've been able to keep up a great pace!  Not to mention being able to fit my pack into small places after flying down here in Colombia (taxis, buses, motorcycles, etc!)

I'm carrying it all with Ozone's 62 L backpack, which is barely enough room to fit in this harness,
Hiking up to launch with everything on my back.  
helmet, reserve and wing. (I'm using the standard foam in the harness rather than the lightweight stuff for training).   If I sit on it and stuff it in, I can get the zipper closed.  Which makes it a perfect fit.  There's plenty of pockets on the outside of the pack for water bottles, snacks, etc.    I even snug my trekking poles on the elastic strap and I'm good to go.

But it's not enough that it's light and small and I can carry it up a hill.  Can I fly it and will it work for me?   And that's a YES to everything.   I'll start with the harness, which I love.  The Ozium is similar to the Advance Lightness, which I liked except for the fact that I had to have a front mount reserve.  With the Ozium, I can mount my reserve underneath (see red handle in photos), and not worry about it.  I like the harness for the fit as well...right out of the box it was really comfortable and I haven't adjusted anything.   Yesterday I had a 5 1/2 hour flight in the Ozium, and never got stiff.  In fact, I've just flown 17 hours in 4 days, and it felt comfortable the whole time!   I have added a bungy cord to the pod (connected to my shoe) for getting into the pod easier after launch.   It's a definite must so you're not kicking around looking for the footbox while hanging in the harness. The speed system seems to push pretty easily and with one rung I can go to either 1/2 or 3/4 speed bar.

Lightweight harness or not, there is still a small deck, which I am easily able to adjust to see my GPS screens.  I love the side pockets for radio and camera, and there is enough room in the storage areas for extras...I hate having to cram everything in and the Ozium has plenty of room.  As long as you don't bring the kitchen sink.  I think even a Vol Biv would be possible if you are very good at packing your kit into small spaces.

As for the wing, I love the Alpina 2 as much as I love the Delta 2.  I can't really tell the difference between the two wings in the way they fly, which is fine with me as I am flying great in both of them.

My first 3 flights in the Alpina were 68 km, 72 km and 84 km....I think those numbers speak for the
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mselves!   Check out my flights on XContest for the 9th, 11th and 12th of February :)    My first flight, I got rained on a little bit right out of launch, and thermal'd up next to a rainstorm (Kids, do not try this at home....Colombia is a special place to fly).   Check out the cool photos below of flying near this rainstorm!   The rain (ok, sprinkles)  didn't seem to affect the handling, although since the weather wasn't very good I almost landed.   What got me hooked into a thermal only 100 meters off the ground was the thought that I didn't want to have a first flight in the Alpina 2 and land with my wing all wet :(    I was able to get back up, fly away from the rain, and have a really nice day of flying with Jim in his new Delta 2.   Matt Beechinor was kind enough to come along as well, and provide us with some really cool photos!

My first flight in the Alpina 2....with some gentle rainstorms in the background!
I added the tiger tail to the zipper pull, don't worry that's not standard :)
Jim flying his new Delta 2 in front in front of the rainstorm...
....Believe it or not, this was the view looking the other direction from the rain in the mountains!
Photos (aside from selfies) taken by Matt Beechinor