Sunday, July 05, 2009


Day 7 had a great forecast, possibly getting way high. Once on launch, the wind techs weren't getting as high as we hoped, it looked like another slow starting day.

The task committee discussed our objectives for the last task of the comp: keep retrieve simple, keep difficult sections away from the beginning of the task, and try to get a good number of pilots in goal, typical stuff.

Then Nicole, one of the wind techs, found a climb and just specked out, stratosphere baby... We also noticed some of the other wind techs were experiencing huge sink. The task committee met to set start times, but some of the locals weren't happy with conditions towards Rabies Peak, I think the large areas of sink made them think about safety. A vote was put out to the committee, it was "Who wants to keep the task the same". It was voted to keep it the same. About 5 minutes later, another vote was put out, it was "Who wants to change the task" and it passed... So the task was shortened.

I just wanted to get off launch, out of the heat and get boosted to 10 grand, so I launched first and started going up right away. The vario just kept getting stronger and I kept flying straight. When it was about 800 ft/min I started turning and the ground dropped away. I saw 1200 ft/min up for sustained periods, and topped out over Burnt at about 10k. I flew towards Rabies peak and found convergence. Then I found sink, like 2:1 for minutes, all the way back to a couple thousand over launch, found another core and rode it to 10k.

Others were heading towards Rabies Peak, but I noticed the rest of the field heading towards Longswords winery, yup, task cancelled. Conditions on launch got funky.

Landing at Longswords was not easy, very hard to get down, very thermic everywhere. This comp was the best comp I have been to in a long time, really consistent conditions, good organization, 5 out of 6 good task calls, and the mentoring was a smash hit, I heard lots of pilots say things were clicking into place like never before. This event is fertilizing the next batch of comp pilots. But not just comp pilots - XC pilots are learning serious skills at this meet too.

Huge thanks to organizers Mike and Gail Haley, all the volunteers, Bill Hughes for scoring, and the rest of you for making this event so much fun and good times.


Brett Hardin

Final Results are Here

Friday, July 03, 2009


Conditions were suppossed to be like yesterday, so the task committee wanted to do a big task. The task we ended up with was very similar to the longest task ever done at a Woodrat competition, just 4.7 km shorter.


But the conditions weren't like yesterday, we weren't getting as high on the upwind run to Grants, and after Grants conditions really deteriorated - the thermals were small and very drifty, and when they weren't falling apart, they would only get you to about 1400 meters, which is less than half our big climbs yesterday.

I got stuck with Bill B and Josh C at ridge top height about 10km after Grants. We were joined by Brian Webb. It was educational to see how the gears got shifted, I had the urge to bail and run downwind - it would have been a mistake. It seemed the plan was to stop and ridge soar until a thermal came through. We found small ones and several times turned in them and drifted over the back, but they fizzled and we would push out in front of the ridge and wait and search for something better. This went on for quite some time.

Finally we found one that held together, barely, and we drifted downwind over the valley and saw that a few gliders took a direct line to the downwind arm of the valley, but they were really low. We basically repeated the above procedure for the next 30 minutes, and 2 valley systems, and waited as more gliders arrived and increased our chances of finding lift, but we were drifting closer to the Gold Hill TP, and would have to make a move to run out and tag it, and then run back to the hills.

The next turnpoint was called Naval, and is in the Medford Valley, away from the foothills. After a few drifty bubbles and it became clear that I was going to drift past the Naval TP, so I had to run at it crosswind. Only Josh was ahead, but he is not in the comp, and Meredyth was slightly behind and still in the foothills, but she was climbing when I left. She later said after her climb, she was downwind of the TP, and had to push headwind to get it. That was a better move, as if you are high, you have options, even if you have to burn some altitude going upwind for the TP. When I get low, I get panicky and tend to run which isn't as good as focusing on getting back up at all costs.

I aimed at a good trigger but got there too low to search and it was getting windy. I picked the last decent LZ, and set it down short of Cemetary TP. Meredyth was the only pilot in goal, she took almost 1000 points for winning the task, well done! I think I came in 7th, Webb, Belcourt, Farrell and a few others flew over me.

Tomorrow is the last day and I bet we have a task that puts a lot of pilots in goal, it makes for a happy ending...

Results are here

stay tuned

Thursday, July 02, 2009


Forecast was for 100F and top of lift at 9500 ft. Task call was pretty good, but we didn't expect as much west wind as we got, and so the run towards Grants Pass to Bald Hill required heaps of speed bar, but we were getting very high. Race started late at 3pm.

Task was:

Woodrat LZ 1.5K Exit
Burnt Ridge 400
Bald Hill 1.5K
Poormans 400
Donato's as Goal

To get to Bald Hill fast required leaving the lift when it dipped below 400 ft/min, and then pushing as much bar as my speed system is set up for, which is 1/2.

After Bald Hill, we turned 180 and headed back towards launch, grounds speed was 50+ k/hr and just a couple climbs to get to Donato's which was shaded out by high level cloud which was from OD to the south.

Just after Poorman's TP, I found some light lift and Rick Ray and Lindsay from OZ joined me and we climbed until we had goal on an 8:1. Lindsay left, and I was right behind him. He was pulley to pulley, I was 1/2 bar and we raced the last 10km. Rick was a little lower but close to Lindsay. We were doing over 60+km into goal and of course there was gobs of lift from Dark Hollow to goal so we got there stupid high.

Paul Murdoch was way in front of us, lone wolf and into goal first. I was next, then Lindsay and Rick. 25+ pilots in goal.

Two more days to go.

stay tuned


Wednesday, July 01, 2009


What a bizarre day. The buzz about today's conditions started a couple days ago... I think the world epic was heard, and off the chart, and so forth. On launch, we came up with 2 tasks, one 70+ Km, and a shorter one. But the wind techs could barely get above launch, and we ended up changing the task 3 times, each time making it shorter. The start got pushed back to 3:15.

Woodrat LZ 1 km
Woodrat launch 400m
Burnt Rigde 400m
Rabies Peak 1.5km
Cemetary 1 km
Donato - Goal

The task above was perfect in the end, worth 973 points to Brian Webb who crossed first. My day was very interesting - unlike yesterday, today I stuck to the game plan, stay high and keep a handful of gliders in front. It sort of worked, but the handful of gliders turned into 3 gliders, and about 10k out the way ahead grinded to a halt, and the full on survival fest began... only 2 gliders ahead now, and Paul pulls off the low save, with me 150 below missing the bubble. I went on glide to the last trigger source which was bubbling and I made 5-6 turns, started to climb, and then it was gone.

Now on the ground, I watch a few gliders join the leaders, and survive, and a few drop out, and then a giant mob of gliders drifts across the last leg, high and in a slow but boaty line. 22 in goal. A LTF 2 class glider came in second, amazing.

This is my first comp on a comp glider, and while I am really enjoying having the ability to be in the lead gaggle, I am also realizing that on days like today, it is a double edged sword - you are blazing the trail and if the trail disappears, you got to bush wack. But more than that, when the trail disappears, sometimes the essence of paragliding becomes crystal clear, we bungle through a sky full of invisible thermals and it is so amazing how often we bungle into lift or pull off low saves...

Tomorrow's plan is to embrace my inner loser! TEAM LOSER, I LOVE YOU GUYS!