Linda Salamone's Blog

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I'm stuck in Rochester, NY while a bunch of my buddies are slogging it out in the heat of Big Spring, Texas. But, I am picking up some serious airtime. Yesterday looked so nice for Hammondsport I left work early. Steve B. was a speck when I got there. Ed was unhappy in the LZ - I was late and he was stuck watching Steve get high. But we got up top fast and set up like nobody's business and I think I was in the by 3:30. I had another sqeaker launch. Level and all, but just no speed. There was a hawk climbing right over the slot slowly so I may have been in a shadow of a thermal, but this low slow launch thing is a great concern of mine now. Anyhow, I was below launch thinking I really screwed up, but I gained some slowly and held on to the ridge tightly. I finally found a weak climb in the big north bowl that turned awesome when it cracked through 1000' over. Then it was strong lift and easy to stay way over. Everywhere I went. I watched Ed launch and he soared the ridge the whole time. I got to almost 3500' over but just couldn't get to the clouds. It was too cold up there and I figured I could explore from less than that altitude anyways. I was thinking about everyone flying the big task in Texas, and I knew in a way I was sharing the air with them. I drove out into the valley and went over the old Hickory Hills campground and got to 4000' over and pretty much stayed there, shivering my ass off. I saw Steve way over Bath and decided to go say hi since it seemed that the only clouds left were around us there. He had about 800 feet on me so I decided to save face and head back to the ridge. It looked like Ed was packing up and ready to drive up top anyways. When I headed back I lost so much altitude that I was ridge level behind the church. I saw that Ed had no car there. I took a run towards launch and started to get back up again thinking I would top land and go get him. But as I tried to climb high enough I eventually saw him appear on launch with Mark, so I stayed up to fly with him. I was so tired after 2.5 hours of flying and it seemed to take forever for Mark to launch. But he finally launched and we flew around a while and after 3.5 hours I just figured I should try for 4 hours so I stayed in the air. I looked and saw a car in the LZ so I knew I didn't have to worry about where to land. We stayed at 300-600' over in this wonderwind and James W launched. He was flying that Falcon really fast so I thought he would sink out but he scratched and got up and joined us. My back was screaming and my feet ( I even had SHOES on this time!) ached! But I made sure my vario recorded 4 hours when I set up to land. It was an interesting downhill landing but I pulled it off okay. Ed got us all to our cars and we went to Bin Bins... never thought I would want to eat there again. After the second helping I wondered aloud where Steve was. It was his idea to go to dinner. After the third and fourth helping I wondered again. Now I was worried. After my second dessert run, I was sure the guy was dead in a ditch somewhere. Kind of a bummer because he's sort of grown on me. I washed the smelly shrimp skin smell off my hands in the bathroom and when I emerged I found out what happened to Steve. Seems he was the victim of a little road rage incident and he was across the street at the Bath police station trying to sort out the legalities of rear-ending someone. Well, we'll wrap that drama up as it unfolds in the next few weeks. So yeah 4 hours, 4K over, all over town and mountains. Good flying day.
On the Texas front, my favorite competitor, Jeff O'Brien, is kicking some ass. His blog is linked onto mine. So cheer him on along with our locals: Jack and Marcelo. He seems to be in the running for a slot on the US Men's Team. That would be cool because I can say I knew him when he was a poor lost soul looking for a driver in the Nationals a few years ago. Go Jeff!


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