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2010 Monarca Open - Task 1

January 25th, 2010 Eagle Paragliding News Archive


TASK MAP (view in Google Earth) (download Google Earth)

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January 25th, 2010
The flying has been good in Valle the past week. There has been no recent cloud development with the high pressure upon us.

The Task Committee members for the 2010 Monarca Open are Josh Cohn, Ronny Helgesen, and Matt Beechinor. They called a nice 66km task today with a 1:20pm start time. The start cylinder was a 3km entry at Maguey. The turn points were Maguey, Divisa, Santa Maria, Quintanilla, and Iglesia, with goal at the lake. The air was manageable today. It was fairly turbulent two days ago.

Pilots who launched early were lucky to get to 9,000 ft. at launch before heading over to the Peñon. It seemed weaker than previous days, but things started to heat up and pilots got climbs at the Wall. The Peñon hasn’t really been kicking, and pilots have been passing it up and diving in to the Wall or the spines below the Wall in hopes of getting established.

The huge bait ball gaggle hovered over Crazy Thermal Mesa the before the start. There didn’t seem to be many pilots maxing altitude on the mesa above the Wall, or out toward Espina. The edge of the start cylinder was about 1Km from the huge gaggle above Crazy Thermal. The swarm got to just under 10k before the armada made its move for the start.

Those going pulley to pulley on the glide got the start cylinder first and arrived a few hundred feet above the Maguey turn point. The leaders pressed on past Maguey without stopping for climbs. There is prize money at the Monarca Open this year, and it’s clear that the theme is “Mash for Cash”.

As the leaders mashed bar pushing toward Divisa, the field began to separate a bit. There weren’t many turns as pilots took the line along the ridge toward Divisa. Those who did huck turns in strong cores saw the leaders slip further away as they continued to press on towards Divisa into the wind we always find as we make this trek. Nobody seemed to be taking the line out front, and the few who sniffed in that direction came up short. It was just too windy to take the deep line over the mesa toward Divisa, and the drift was beating the lift making it a lost cause for the most part.

The leaders seemed to fester a bit at Divisa after getting the turn point. It seemed they were willing to wait a bit for a big pulse that would give some extra altitude for the glide to the Santa Maria turn point. The field started to gain some ground as the leaders waited for something big to release. After 5-10 minutes of searching for a big pulse the leaders decided to press on. The rest of the field saw this and didn’t spend anytime at Divisa looking for a big climb after getting the turn point and ended up making up a small bit of ground on the leaders here.

There were mostly small climbs on the glide out to Santa Maria, but nothing too juicy for most. There were a couple of pilots who got really nice climbs on the way, but nobody else got a piece. There were a great many pilots festering near the Santa Maria turn point, while the leaders had moved on to get a good climb at La Pila. The others who were low just before getting or after getting the Santa Maria turn point had to really fight to hang on. Some ended up landing in small canyons in the foothills as they fought to the end looking for a piece of lift, while a few patiently worked light lift which drifted them down course line. It seemed the pulse that had given the leaders a nice boost was not there when the stragglers came through La Pila.

The lead gaggle went on glide together after the climb at La Pila. The gaggle would have to decide if they would make a play for the Three Kings spine and head back to Maguey or come into Diente and try to connect to Espina, and the Crazy Thermal Mesa. Josh Cohn pointed it toward Espina, while Ronny Helgesen decided he may go the way of Three Kings. The leaders had to decide which way they wanted to go. A few peeled off toward Josh, then a couple toward Ronny. Then a couple who went with Ronny decided they liked the Mesa line better and peeled off in that direction, and Ronny decided to come over and take that line as well.

Pilots got established on the Crazy Thermal Mesa and pushed on the mesa toward Sacamacate. Other pilots had to dive into The Wall and ridge soar up to the top before getting high enough to make a play for the Sacamacate and Saint Augustine and hook into the convergence. Later groups also had a tough time making it on top of the Crazy Thermal Mesa, and some pilots were flushed off the Maguey side of Crazy Thermal. The lift was not plentiful on Crazy Thermal Mesa late in the day, but if you found the right core it got you to over 10,000 feet. There were a handful of pilots who skipped making the play a Crazy Thermal mesa, and made the Three Kings and Maguey line work just fine. This route may have been 5-10 minutes slower, but these pilots made it work.
The convergence was set up in a shifting line between Saint Augustine and Sacamacate. Plots climbed as high as 11,700 feet here. Those who got to these altitudes were able to glide to the Quintanilla’s turn point on a buoyant line with a tailwind without losing much altitude. After Quintanilla’s pilots fought a headwind back toward the mesa on the same convergence line. Those who were high leaving for Quintanilla’s did well, and seemed to have an easier time finding nice climbs as they made their way back on to the edge of the mesa at Sacamacate and Saint Augustine. Pilots at lower altitudes had to fight more wind and battle to get onto the mesa. There were a few really nice low saves by pilots coming in low to Sacamacate.

After getting established on the edge of the Mesa pilots had a pretty easy glide to Iglesia and goal at the lake. There weren’t many climbs on the way to Iglesia or even at Iglesia before the glide to the lake. It seemed like those who tanked up before leaving Sacamacate and Saint Augustine had everything they needed to hit the Iglesia turn point, and then glide to goal at the lake. There were approximately 30-35 pilots in goal. Josh Cohn and Brad Gunnuscio finished first and second, with Marco from Croatia taking third. All of these guys are flying the Niviuk Icepeak 3.

Rob Sporrer reporting from the pit.

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Josh Cohn arriving at goal

(Left to Right) Marko Hrgetic, Josh Cohn, Brad Gunnuscio

A very small portion of the start gaggle

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Open Class - Task 1
Womens Class - Task 1

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