Award Winning Instruction
2009 Paragliding World Championships - Task 4
January 28th, 2009 – Task 4
Task 4 was 84K, and had a start time of 1pm. Despegue Launch was set as a 6K exit start cylinder, The turn point order went from the start to Divisa, Monarca, Despegue Launch, Cerro Gordo (which was the end of the speed section), and the Valle Lake LZ was goal. We believe the top two finishers were Andy Aebi and Chrigel Maurer. It was hard to see who won since the end of speed section was well across the lake at Cerro Gordo.
Things were pretty punchy before the start. Crazy Thermal was working well, but it was super spanky. Pilots were blowing tips flying through rippers that dropped out once you hit the edge. The inversion finally broke and the climbs got sweet and higher. Pilots topped out at almost 10,000 feet just before the start. A majority of the armada got a nice start.
The fast line out to Divisa saw the leaders driving toward the turn point diving in and scraping the ridge pushing hard. Pilots who had gained advantage on other tasks by taking the front line found that today it was the slow line. The wind on the ridge wasn’t as strong as previous days so the pilots who raced along the ridge made very good time. This tactic proved to be the proper choice today, and this plan was pretty much the same coming back to Maguey. Pilots hucked a few turned in good climbs since the drift was taking them to Maguey, but for the most part they just pushed on to Maguey
Once at Maguey pilots got climbs on both sides of the saddle between Three Kings and Maguey, and it seemed like the better climb was on the south side of the saddle. The lead gaggle took a climb here that was very hot, and then made the move across the Mesa on their way to the Monarca turn point.
The leaders took a line to Cerro Gordo after tanking up on the climb. This group got a climb on the north side of Cerro Gordo once they arrived, while others got a nice climb directly over the top of Gordo. The leaders came back to the climb happening over Gordo and the lead gaggle doubled in size. This group topped out at Gordo and made a line directly for Sacamacate.
The chase group got climbs at Gordo as well and took climbs more to the north a bit away from the mesa. The lead group and the chase group were both well defined with at least 35 pilots per group.
These two groups ended up coming together as they made their way out toward the Monarca turn point. They pushed towards Saucous, and Yassen had made a move and was flying hard and fast out in front of the others all alone. He took a line right over Saucos, and pushed into the wind a bit which was blowing from the SE. The huge gaggle followed on the same line, then a good size group of people made a move to the north, which was left of course line as they saw clouds popping on the mountain ridges in this area. These pilots got good climbs, but ended up fighting a headwind into the Monarca turn point.
Most everybody got out of there and continued on course looked for the sweet spot in the convergence to allow them to maintain altitude on the way to the Despegue turn point. Pilots pushed on the convergence line all the way back to Sacamacate turning if they needed altitude or were in a core strong enough to warrant a turn.
Pilots were on glide between San Ramon and Sacamacate and got a very strong climb which boosted them huge. This was the heart of the convergence and it was screaming up to the clouds. Pilots found the edge and took hits as the convergence unleashed its fury. There were a few cravats all in this one burst of rising air and pilots were screaming skyward keeping their race ships pressurized.
After this climb the leaders pushed on to Sacamacate and got another ripper on the north side, and took this climb to cloud base. The leaders then made a move over the Penitas toward the Despegue turn point (launch). These pilots got the turn point, and pushed out in front of launch looking for a climb, but didn’t hook anything as they searched in front of launch.
The group behind the leaders saw the pilots in front of launch were not climbing, and found something right at the Despegue turn point, took a climb, and then ran back to the convergence at Sacamacate. This turned out to be the winning move. After getting back into the convergence at Sacamacate this group became the lead gaggle and made their move to Cerro Gordo after getting nice and high. They came in fast to Cerro Gordo which was the end of the speed section, then got some altitude and flew to goal at the lake.
The rest of the field missed the moved back to Sacamacate. They all filtered into launch, the Penon, and The Wall, and some even back tracked as far as crazy thermal to get high enough to make their play for Cerro Gordo. Some of these pilots came in at the very bottom of Cerro Gordo and ridge soared up the side to get the turn point. Cerro Gordo was working today both times pilots needed it. Day 4 ended with over a 100 pilots in goal. You have to think they are going to call a big one in the next two days with Saturday scheduled as a rest day if we get 6 tasks in by Friday. Seems like they are going to stretch things out to the corner of the map here in the next two days and take the field into some new territory.
Rob Sporrer reporting from the pit
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