There were a couple of competitors around me, Dave Turner (USA4) just a few miles ahead, and 3 people just about 10 km behind me. So it was a footrace to get to the Kampenwand and Turnpoint 3 before the flying cutoff at 9pm tonight.
My route was fairly flat, wandering past Lofer and Kossen before finally climbing up to the checkpoint. I had considered flying off of a couple of places along the way, but the flying conditions said otherwise. With north winds as usual, and needing to fly to the north across a wide valley and some shallow hills, I just didn't see how it was possible. No matter how I did the math, it wasn't worth climbing up 1000 meters for a sled ride. Plus I knew I could walk to the checkpoint in time to fly off, but if I gambled on climbing up instead, I might not make it. That made the choice easier for me. All three athletes behind me did hike up the Fellhorn at various times in the afternoon, though. Guess it was too good to pass up? But they all ended up landing in Kossen and still needed to walk up to the turnpoint, which would take them until the next morning.
By afternoon it was really HOT. Jim walked with me for a while, then met up with me again in Kossen. There I picked up more water and an umbrella (for the sun!). And I took another dip in the river, this time getting my whole body soaked. Once past the town, I took the trail and was able to stay in the shade for a while of the forest, but it was still absurdly hot.
Another soaking in the next town, in a horse trough that had just been built. Fun for my supporters to take pictures and a great place to cool down. Waiting now was my first climb of the day, up to the checkpoint at the Kampenwand. I was feeling pretty good and powered up it. Fueled by the fact I could see wings flying around up there, I made short work of it. About halfway up, a car came by and offered me a bottle of water. I gratefully drank some cold water, and the owners of the hut I had just passed, parked and walked up to the summit with me! Chatting with them helped pass the time.
Lots of people at the turn point, and even a loudspeaker system where I gave a short interview. My supporters were hurrying me along though, knowing that the day was waning and conditions were getting weaker. I flew with Jarek and Cano, and managed to flying quite a ways down the valley.
I packed up quickly and hoped to get launched of a shallow hill in front of me to make it down to the Inn River that evening. It was another 500 meters of descent so would have been a nice flight. Alas, the owner of the pasture where I could have launched from didn't want me smashing his grass as it was quite tall and ready to cut. At about that point it started blowing down anyway.
So I walked down my first hill of the race, slowly and painfully with my shins not very happy at walking another 10 km for the day. I didn't quite make it across the Inn river but close enough I could make a good launch in the morning.
The big race controversy of the day was a penalty imposed on 28 athletes for a slight route deviation on the climb up the Gaisberg. While it might have saved us a couple of minutes, we had all done it accidentally, and the proposed 6 hour penalty seemed absurd. I complained, as did many others I'm sure, and it was reduced to 2 hours. Still quite silly.
Waiting for me at the motorhome was a big plate of pasta....Yum.
|A very nice place to stop and soak my feet...even if it was still raining at the time!|
|I got to walk along some nice rivers today|
|Late evening flight off the Kampenwand, Turnpoint 3!|