Linda Salamone's Blog

Thursday, April 30, 2009

So no pictures, because I've been lazy/busy. Yesterday, Wednesday, windier than the previous day, and forecast to get stronger. So.... the task committee calls a big task - 87 miles or so, over to near Apollo Beach. I see by Bill's map that most of the same swamp will be below me for a chunk of the trip. I know we'll fly, even though it's pretty stiff by 11am, and I am already set up. A change in the location of the launch line put me in good position and I towed up behind Jeff James pretty early. I followed OB around the tow field from above him, thought I was toast and would have to relight a few times, but I was bolstered by the fact that he was still cruising around down there in much the same (well, worse) position as me. Finally I took what little climb I had out of range of the paddock. I saw another gaggle doing a bit better to the north but I didn't dare leave what I had. I think it was Jonny that came sniffing over and deemed my scrappy lift unworthy. But I stayed with it and we all sort of joined together on a search for something better. Jeff Shapiro and I tried to grab the same thing at the same time along with a rigid, and up until the first WP we were no doubt in each other's way. But after the WP, things got dicier, and I lost everyone but my rigid buddy. We were working less than great lift separately and then we parted ways completely and I was alone. I did get some decent climbs later and heard Mark and Ben were a few Ks behind me. They were catching up and I was going to let them so I'd have some help. But Mark passed me up without me knowing and then when I thought I was headed to land I saw his glider up high and raced downwind to get below him. I was rewarded with the best climb of the day so far and got up past 6K fast. He and Ben were long gone ahead of me (Ben pretty much stays high all the time it seems....) and then I came to a town and saw a glider really low. I had almost been sucked into a cloud a short time before and I was pretty high still. Ben called to Mark, who was in that low glider, and tried to talk him into a climb, but Mark found nothing until it was too late. I planted myself on top of him when he said he was landing but there was lift just behind him and over a forest, and again, I was rewarded with a screamer of a climb- more than 1000fpm average all the way to base. After that things got tougher, the climbs were few and far between but still pretty strong. But so was the sink. At 4 miles out I didn't think I'd make it and at 2 miles out I unzipped and picked a field. I still didn't have a visual on the goal field (where Ben had tried to describe it to me some time earlier) so I set up to land. Down to 300' I found a strong climb and got the hell out of there. I kept climbing until FINALLY I saw the airport(?) that was goal. Lots of gliders there, but what the hell? I never thought I'd get there so I was glad to have arrived. I know two of my teammates went down early but the rest of us three got in, giving the Blind Squirrels a lock on third place again for the day! Because, you know.... even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while... I told Shapiro that I didn't even have to ask him if he liked thermalling with me in shitty lift; I figure he'll probably avoid me in the future. Oh and I actually landed on my feet for a change (but I almost hit the fence again to remain true to form). Stats later.


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