Linda Salamone's Blog

Monday, April 24, 2006

I will try to recap the last two tasks we flew at Flytec but sitting here at my desk in rainy NY it is pretty hard to get myself back in the groove.

Task 4: it was a big box they called around the swamp and i recall this same one from last year. mark said this would be the task, and he was right. i had landed right IN the swamp last year so this time I was determined NOT to. i was really going well right from the start, and i flew with the french woman just before hitting the swamp area. when i finally crossed the swamp, it was at 5000' under a OD'd street, and I gained a grand by the time I was across. I hit the 2nd turnpoint, and then shit got ugly. I say Mark and Lauren fly overhead on course and i tried to get more altitude there before I went on glide. it was burbly and i lost more than i gained. i also lost ground and was drifting into the swamp again. finally i see that the OD area i flew through was raining. shit! so after struggling some more and stressing out a bit, i see a rainbow has formed in the swamp. oh how pretty, how promising.... yikes! struggle some more, things are bad, i have run out of landing options now. gotta get up before I go anywhere. Another glider is struggling further out of the swamp than me, finally I get a decent climb and work it. Uh oh, now lightning a few miles away from me and no one else is in sight and closer to this storm. But it is in the same place after half an hour and i think the seabreeze that is pushing me towards it is also keeping it in the swamp. Then the lift gets REALLY good and a billion soaring birds are with me now. oh this is good, really good, uh oh, TOO GOOD. The storm is in full swing and I am proving that Hang 3 test question- ya know the one about "the really good lift near a thunderstorm" question that we all get wrong???? I have no choice but to let it get me high enough to get the freak outta there! And i do get out and high, but i am shaking. I go on a big glide to the third turnpoint, tag it and continue on glide into a field with a french guy who I think is the one who was left behind near me. I find out later it was Jack Simmons who was near me. So I landed 16 or so miles short of goal and I am pretty freaked out but the french guy helps me get back to Quest. The next night Jack Simmons told me he couldn't believe where I was in relation to that cell. somehow it helped knowing that my assessment (not necessarily my actions) of the situation was correct. it was BAD!
This was the first really "bad" day I have had here in Florida. I was riding high until now. It was amazing how quickly I sank so low emotionally. I didn't sleep very well that night.

Task 5:
Seems like an easy task, an out and return to the north (and back). I launch early after a conflict with all the french pilots at the staging fiasco we have every day. I am flying with Curt Warren and another pilot for half an hour before the start, and considering leaving very early because the day is getting pretty big. But i wait for the start stupidly and of course i see an apocolypse cloud halfway to the first turnpoint. Bill Vickery (our driver with the mostest) saves Mark's ass on course. Funny story, I will let him tell it. And I get low and slow once again after such a strong start. I saw Jack flying in a weak thermal and joined his gaggle- he left the thing lower than I was willing and I waffled yet again to the turnpoint and got a few miles past to land in the calm before the big storm. When Bill retrieved me, it was raining hard and Jack, he said, had made it to goal. Damn! Shoulda stayed with him. I figured 20 people had to have made it as well. When we get back to Quest, Michelle tells me that just one guy made it in. Holy crap. It was Jack Slocum. We were stunned. He had been having less than stellar flights and here he beat even Oleg and ridgid pilots and oh my God. Very cool, except his 1000 point score pushed him past me in the final standings! DAMN! He told me later he used that "really good lift near a thunderstorm" to get to goal. Wow.

Okay so not a bad meet, 5 tasks out of 7. I flew consistantly at least. I had gotten my hopes up early because my rank in the tough early days was high. Each day I fell further and further behind that early lead. My theory is that us Northeast pilots know how to fly in pure crap, so on tough days we excel. Then a racing day is where I fall behind because I am tenacious, not fast. So i think i know what to work on.

Quest is such a great place to hang out. The band was fun on Friday night- not the Red Elvises, but a fair replacement. We all went skinny dipping in the lake after dancing our asses off and that was a new and different experience for me! So many people were wearing our Women's Team T-shirts all week and the crowd was very generous when we raffled them off. Jeff OBrien's mother, Ingrid, and her cousin donated some cash to the womens' team after hearing our plight. I was 43rd out of around 70 pilots, so that was a huge improvement over last year. And in continuing to get ready for the World meet, it was a great experience.
Sorry for the typos.....I really should get back to work now....


Post a Comment

<< Home