Award Winning Instruction
2009 Paragliding World Championships - Task 3
January 27th, 2009 – Task 3
Luca Dononi from Italy was the winner of task 3.
The start cylinder was set as a 2K Entry cylinder at Maguey, and Maguey was also a 400 meter turn point. The remaining turn points were Aguila, Saucos, and Diente, with Quintanilla once again set as goal on this 94.7K race which started at 12:45pm.
Pilots were getting high in front of launch, and made the transition fairly low to the Penon, and most everyone connected. People were getting good climbs at the Penon, and once again Crazy Thermal was the place to find the huge gaggle working lift waiting for the start. Pilots were getting to 9000 feet, then boosted to 9600 before leaving to get the start at Maguey.
Maguey was horrible, small bullet thermals and everybody and their dog was there….all at once. It didn’t take long for the majority of people to leave without gaining much extra height at Maguey. Pilots were in crazy gaggles scrapping for bullet thermals, the gaggle thinned out as a majority said “screw this” and were on their way.
After these pilots left the chaos gaggle at Maguey there was a bit more space for those who could stick it out. These pilots were finally able to turn in some climbs and get to 9600 feet. This wasn’t as high as pilots were used to getting at Maguey, but people just started going for it and the flats were bubbling, and people were getting little thermals in the valley while the rest of the field kept pushing onto Espina.
Pilots got to Espina, and some went around the corner and got worked a bit then were able to pushed out in front of Espina and get it. Some pilots got it at the point that faces to the north, but it was spanky. Pilots topped out the lift at these two spots before heading to Aguila.
The lead gaggle got a couple thermals on the way to the Aguila turn point and dove in pretty darn low on the back side of this shaded out, lee side, crummy looking place to go to find lift. The lead gaggle got to enjoy some time ridge soaring the lee side. There is strength in numbers, and the lead gaggle at the world championships is good company so the gaggle was likely confident they would connect eventually, but I’m sure some were looking below wondering where they would land if it didn’t work.
The fortunate pilots got high enough in the valley on the way to Aguila to come clear over the ridge and get into the sunny windward bowl. It seemed like once you hit this sunny bowl on the windward side it was teeing off good, and everybody here was getting a climb out. The climb took pilots as high as they had been on Crazy Thermal before the start. They kept bumping on against the strong inversion that was with them all day.
Pilots needed one more climb on the way back before reaching the Penon area, and lots of pilots ended up low in the gulley’s below Penon, and below the field in front of the Penon. Others got high enough at Aguila to come into the Espina spine and eventually connect over Crazy Thermal Mesa.
Pilots were headed for the Saucos turn point from Aguila and could be seen climbing everywhere from the Wall, to the Penon, and even back at launch to try and connect up with the convergence. All these routes were relatively successful, and they worked for people who wanted to get into the convergence which was starting to come together. Some people floundered at The Wall, and had to dive back into Crazy thermal and lose some time just to get high enough to make the jump across the mesa to get into the convergence.
The convergence was working well clear out to Saucos if you could find it. Brad Gunnuscio took off with Aljaz Valic and these two briefly became the leaders at this point. They saw a cloud and made a move toward it. After gliding a bit Aljaz peeled off left of course line to the stairs, and Gunnuscio went for the back side of Sacamacate and got hosed. The chase gaggle joined Aljaz a Brad pushed out alone past the junk yard and found nothing. He kept gliding toward Jovan where a crowd had gathered to cheer him on. Brad flew toward the Jovan and floated in zero’s about 200 feet off the deck for two minutes. Everybody on the ground was shouting up encouragement. “Get it Brad!” Go Brad! They screamed as he hovered for what seemed like an eternity. All of the sudden the wingtips on his Icepeak 3 bucked a bit and he started to climb. He tanked up in this climb and somehow caught the leaders again as he raced into the Saucos turn point.
They convergence had fully matured by the time the leaders were leaving the Saucos turn point and it was easy street heading back towards Sacamacate. Pilots took climbs at Sacamacate, and stayed in the convergence as they cruised over the middle of the mesa clear to the G spot, and onto Crazy Thermal, and it was all converging on that line the whole way.
After the Saucos turn point the pace had picked up with the convergence going of so well and pilots were staying high and covering ground. Some pilots came into Diente high while other mashed bar and came in low. The lower pilots pinged a thermal right of the knob close to Diente. The higher pilots didn’t find any booming climbs, but managed to tank up here and there and come back into the ridge line on the west side of Crazy Thermal, and ridge soared it till they got into the lift and pinged out of there. These pilots went to the wall and pinged out again, and this was essentially their final glide to goal.
The group who had come in low to Diente was the lead gaggle, and they were ahead of the others who had come in higher some time later. The leaders had a harder time. They came into Espina, and some of the leaders went to the North side of Espinosa which was windward. The others peeled of to the lee side which was in the sun. The gaggle on the north side got it, and jumped ahead. The lee side crew scraped onto the mesa, limped to the G spot, and didn’t get it. They came to The Wall and had to be patient as the north side crew trucked across the mesa toward goal. The lee side crew had been in the saddle all day, and realized they had let the north side gang get away. They shifted gears and climbed high wanting to be sure they would make goal. This group finished the climb and went on final from the wall as well.
The glide form the Mesa to Quintanilla was much better than yesterday. Pilots were arriving higher and we could see the glide was buoyant as team leaders informed pilots to mash bar into goal. There was 85 or so pilots in goal. We are a quarter of the way through the 2009 PG worlds if we get to fly all 12 scheduled days. This is going to become a game of mental sharpness, and physical endurance as these athletes challenge themselves day after day.
Rob Sporrer reporting from the pit
Back to Top
Back to Top