Linda Salamone's Blog

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I am so bummed I have to try to write this all again. It's never quite as good the second time around! There was an error when I tried to post on Monday and I was unable (even with the help of my IT guy) to recover it.

Task 4: a "box the swamp" like last year. Mark predicted this would be the task today and his Tarot Card mind was ON IT! I had a great start, great climbs, great lift line at the edge of the swamp that I ran all the way across gaining 1000' to boot. Last year I frustrated Dana by landing square in the MIDDLE of the swamp, so this was looking rosie. I tagged the 2nd TP, and tried to gain a bit more altitude before going on glide. Instead, I floundered around in weak broken lift and drifted back into the swamp a little. There was a cell that was dumping in there, a couple miles away from me, and I thought- Oh shit. Then as I was desperately trying to make my air turn into a real thermal, I saw a rainbow superimposed on the rain, and I thought- oh how nice, must be an omen of something good. As I continued to struggle- and drift into the swamp further, I saw lightning, and I thought - OH SHIT!!!! and I was all alone save one glider struggling much further away and out of the swamp. To give up now would be to land IN the swamp, and likely IN a gustfront. So I kept at it and then suddenly the lift got really good, eerily good, and a bunch of birds joined as the lightning continued and I knew I was in that "really good lift" near a storm that they mention on the hang 3 test! I guessed I had little choice but to use it just to get the hell out of there. And the other glider joined me and it was enough to get me back to 5K and snag the third TP. But not much else. Besides, I was so freaked out by that whole predicament I doubt I could have done much more. Later the pilot that was with me (Jack Simmons) said he couldn't believe how "in the swamp and close to that cell" I was. I landed 16 miles short of goal with a french pilot who gave me a ride back to Quest.
This was the first bad day I had had since I came down for the meets. It was amazing how my mood sank. I was determined to fly faster and not lag behind so much the next day.

Task 5: out and return for 66 miles total. Seemed like an easy task and I launched way too early. I think I should have left before the start clock since the OD was what kept us all from goal. Well all of us except for one pilot. I was having a grand old time and keeping up and all, until I wasn't. Then I was in the same situation as the day before with crappy climbs, and apocolyse looking cloud this time on my left, and not enough gliders in climbs within reach. I saw Jack leave a climb low and I thought no way was I going to follow him since he wasn't doing too well lately... So I tagged the TP and went down shortly after, taking a downwind landing since the brewing storm had switched things around on the ground. Bill (the driver with something EXTRA) got me after the rain forced me to find refuge, and said that Jack made goal. When we got back to Quest we heard that just one unknown pilot made goal. Wow. You all know the rest of THAT story! He really needs to retire since that experience will be tough to top!!!!!

Anyways, the whole trip was a great experience. Even though the Flytec meet I spent mostly slipping in my position overall- I learned so much. I think us NE pilots are so used to flying in pure crap that we excel on the tough days. Then the racing days put us in our place because we aren't used to going fast and counting on good climbs. The crowd at Quest was so generous when we raffled a Tshirt, and Jeff O'Briens mom made a big donation with her cousin to the Women's Team. Just a great bunch of people.

The first time I wrote this up it definitely came out a bit more cohesive- Oh well... this is all I got for now!


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