Award Winning Instruction
2009 Paragliding World Championships - Task 2
January 26th, 2009 – Task 2
Back to back wins for the Americans here with Brad Gunnuscio taking day 2 in a 91km task that took him 3 hours, 7 minutes, and 50 seconds. There is a great deal of racing ahead here in Valle, but it’s nice to get off to a good start. The task had Despue launch set as a 6km exit cylinder with turn points at La Pila, Llano, Divisadero, and Quintanilla set as goal.
The launch window was excellent today. Juan Carlos the launch director had a good rhythm with the rest of his crew and everybody was away in plenty of time to tank up before grabbing the start at 12:45pm.
The 6km exit cylinder at launch put the edge of the cylinder smack dab in the middle of Crazy Thermal Mesa. The gaggle swarmed as a big cloud had formed over the mesa, and I would be very surprised if we don’t get some cloud flying complaints at the team leader meeting in the morning. It seemed like some of the pilots may have disappeared minutes before the start into the white room, and came out much higher than the start gaggle. We will wait to see if any of the air Marshalls saw violations.
The start gaggle made the move for La Pila, and most everybody took a line directly at the turn point taking climbs on the way. It was hard to stop for the first climbs because the gliding gaggle meant head on traffic if you tried to huck a turn. Pilots would start a turn and then see that attempting a 360 was a bad idea. The gliding cluster of pilots began to separate as the moved toward the La Pila turn point, and they were starting to take climbs together.
La Pila was cracking and pilots got big climbs at the turn point. This turn point was really the place where the huge cluster of pilots began to separate into different areas and get different climbs. As these pilots topped the climbs they picked their line on the trek to Llano. Some pilots went west which was all sunny, while others went to the lee side of the big ridge.
The line to the west of the ridge leaving La Pila was working as it cooked in the sunshine, other pilots stayed in the lee which was protected from the wind which allowed for lee side heating and good lift, while others split the difference. There were ripping climbs right at the end of the ridge where you arrive at the big ravine. It didn’t matter if you were west of the ridgeline, over it, or to the east here, everyone was in a hot climb.
Pilots pushed towards Llano and took good climbs where they could find them in hopes of arriving at the turn point with altitude. When pilots arrived at Llano it was shaded and not working very well. The good news was that it wasn’t windy at the turn point. Most pilots went in to Llano, got the turn point, and got out. There were many competitors very low in there.
Pilots left Llano and doubled back the same way they had arrived. They got back into the sun and found climbs. This is where people started splitting up again. A vast majority of people continued on this line for a while, while another group led by Frank Brown said lets go back to Crazy Thermal and get it there. Anders and Ronny slipped away and went right at the Peñon and did not turn to climb but surfed right at it up and over the top, then flew right at The Wall and surfed up that as well toward G-Spot not hucking any turns, then took three turns and the G-spot and left for Divisa. These pilots made excellent time on this section of the course line.
The rest of the gaggle that Frank Brown had led toward the ridge between Espina and Crazy Thermal got climbs in the lee and established themselves on the mesa. Frank was racing hard and had disappeared. The rest of the pilots finished the climb and some glided to the saddle between Maguey and Three Kings, while others went for the mesa area in front of Maguey. The pilots who stayed out front taking the front line made up some time and actually came into Divisa less than a minute behind Ronny and Anders who had such a good line from Llano. Pilots who get into the compression along the ridge can be slower if the line out front out of the compression is working. Other pilots split the difference between the front line and being right on the ridge by splitting the difference.
After tagging Divisa pilots got a hot climb on the west side out front a bit. After this climb pilots waffled along the ridge back towards Maguey. They considered pushing onto the mesa bit, or going out front, and eventually the leaders all found themselves gathered together at the saddle between Maguey and Three Kings. Everybody got up pretty good here and then once again this gaggle made the play across mesa on different lines.
Part of this lead group went for Cerro Gordo, while others took a line right at Escalares. The pilots who came into Escalares right at ridge height and got a climb, and this group would eventually be where the day’s winner connected, and many others who finished in the top 10. The group at Cerro Gordo got a climb then pushed out front a bit toward the turn point, but saw the group at Escalares climbing and came back to get a piece. Brad Gunnuscio broke away here and made his play for goal, and would eventually end up winning the day. Other pilots pushed a little further toward La Casa to tank up a bit more, and didn’t find much lift to help their glide to goal.
The final glide to goal was not very buoyant, and there was actually a fair bit of sink for some of the glide. There weren’t many pilots that came into goal with extra altitude to spare, and some pilots had the misfortune of an unlucky line to goal came up short. There were some downwind landings as pilots came in low with a tailwind. It seemed there were approximately 75 pilots in goal. Look for the task committee to stretch it out tomorrow with a task of over 100km to try and challenge the best paraglider pilots in the world on day 3.
Rob Sporrer reporting from the pit
Back to Top
Yassen Savov, Greg Blondeau, and Eric Reed (L to R)
Brad Gunnuscio landing at goal.
Huey flips his lid...2 American Pilots win the first 2 tasks...
Back to Top