Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

May 14, 2015

Red Bull X-Alps Section 1: Salzburg to the Dachstein

It's Day 1 of our route reconnaissance of the 2015 Red Bull X-Alps route.  We are in Salzburg, having spent a day in the city getting necessities and another SIM card to make our phones work in Austria.  The route starts in the city center of Salzburg, and then we have to hike up to our first launch on top of the Gaisberg.

We started from our campground hiking up rather than the city center.   But our camping spot was the official LZ of the Gaisberg, who knew...it worked out perfectly for Jim to land by the motorhome so he could chase me later.

Today the conditions were marginal, and most of the pilots who launched before me sunk out, but I was able to get up just a little bit, and let the thermals push me back.   The route on this first section is filled with little bumps of hills, which climb from about 1100 meters up to the Dachstein at 2,995 meters.   Somehow I kept bumping along from hill to hill, eventually going 40km and almost to the Dachstein!

I landed halfway up a ski hill to avoid sinking all the way down to the valley.   From there I hiked back up to the top of the ski run, getting up to a place where it looked like I could launch from either side.  Unfortunately the wind was opposite where I wanted to launch, and the trees looked a bit thick right below launch...a tail wind and sinking air would put me in a tree.  So I went off to the west instead, a forward launch off a snowfield.  It was late in the day by that point and I was only hoping to glide down to the valley to meet Jim in the motorhome.  Immediately I could see that if I didn't land back on ski hill, the valley below me was filled with trees.   So I landed, packed up again, and hiked back up to the top where I could fly down to the valley to the north.  Not where I would have gone in the race, but I really just needed to find the motorhome.  This is practice after all!

That's the trick of practicing for this race...I'll be taking off and landing in places where normal pilots don't go, so I need to be very careful to pick good launches with places to land below me...or even better, winds to let me climb out and keep flying!

Here was my route for the day (I didn't make it quite all the way):  http://xcplanner.appspot.com/?l=free&p=_vvbHyksnAuf@%7DpK%60%7B%60AglcBigw@dvtF%60l%60AxamGzdvFjcU%7Djp@bfmEnisA%60ldL%7C%60%5bd~yC_~Bpk%7CBvrxKc~fF%7ChCeyB&s=20.0&a=0

The whole route can be found here: XCPlanner.Appspot.com

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