Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Neddles? Where?

The forecast today looked good - still have some strong winds from the NW, but we were excited about the possibilities.  We got up early and did a sledder this morning.  Jeff and Werner got some good shots as it was smooth and we were all able to fly together.  We did a quick pack-n-turn and grabbed a ride back up the hill from Nigel to be ready for the cycles to start around 11am.
Strong cycles were going up launch and take-offs were difficult, but once in the air there was abundant lift, but very strong NW winds.  We were all able to make it North to the antenna's but could not push further upwind.  I got high, and headed back toward launch.  Once I made it to the end of the ridge I caught a nice thermal and rode it up to over 6500 feet.  At this point I had been flying for about 50 minutes and was absolutely freezing, so I decided to head back to Marks.

In a descending glide over the town, I started to warm up.  I arrived over Marks with over 2000 feet of altitude so I headed to the ridge to the SE, that leads to the Crete de Chamatte.  I arrived about half way up the hill and after about 15 minute of the most intense, low-level, tree kicking scratching I've ever done, I as at the height of the ridge.

I happened to see Jeff coming back from the South.  He had made the same transition and soared the length of the ridge to the Chamatte peak.  There was plenty of lift along the ridge but it was a mix of the NW wind and thermals and was quite rowdy.  I started getting cold again and tired of fighting the turbulence.  With the gite in site, and knowing there was cold beer in the fridge, I made a couple passes along the ridge and then set out for home.

Jeff and I arrived over the house about the same time and the entire valley was full of lift.  We were actually coordinating radio calls of where to find sync so we could get down.  We both landed at the same time and were met by Mark in the LZ.  Steve showed up a bit later, having crossed the valley at the Antenna's and made a nice triangle taking the 'Tour de Chavalet".

Werner and Jackie had flown tandem that day.  They had side hill landed near where I was scratching.  I was right over them but never saw them.  Werner insisted on hiking up the ridge and relaunching, which took them 2 hours of bushwhacking.  They relaunched and joined us at the house just in time to make a run into town for pizza and beers.

During the hike, Werner had tromped thru some sort of bush with small thorns, which collected all over his clothes.  Some of them worked with way past his pant line and down his butt-crack - thus he named his new launch accordingly on XContest!

To celebrate the day, Steve and I cooked a big meal - mushroom soup, steaks, sausages & potatoes.  And of course beer.  We even splurged and got some fancy Belgium ales.

Not a bad day and a nice 24km flight for me, although Steve ruled the day with the most XC points.

Here's a Doarama of my track.

And the XContest tracks for Jeff, Steve and I.  

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