Linda Salamone's Blog

Thursday, January 17, 2013

FForbes Task 7 and 8 and 9 and 10... Well task 7 was just horrible for me. It was windy, gusty and the climbs over the paddock were crowded and difficult. The 249k task was pretty much straight downwind so after my scary tow, I figure all I gotta do is turn and drift all the way to goal. Except I didn't. I went on my first glide with 2 guys below me and the huge gaggle going back for the second start. I saw a glider turning high-ish to my right, on the upwind side of a long ridge and a guy way left and low on the lee side of the ridge. One of the guys below me picked left, I chose right thinking upwind of slope was better. I got under the guy and found nothing and when I looked he was gliding to the lee side away from me. So I followed but now I'm pretty low. The two gliders climbing behind the ridge were going up fast and I just got there too low. It was a gnarly snaky spit-me-out over and over piece of shit and at 200' I finally stopped turning and landed. I kept thinking I'd get in it solid and get back up. On the ground, moving my glider in stiff wind to shade to break down I see the WHOLE gaggle fly over my head. UGH! Really bad day. Jamie had landed already and Rob was still flying for a while and Mike and I went to pick him up and grabbing James when we passed Polona. Lots of good (horrible) retrieve stories since the area all the way to goal had zero cell coverage. The guy staying in my house has kangaroo hunters shooting at him and wound up sleeping in his vehicle at a closed gas station along with Mitch and his driver. Long day for some of them. Not so for me... I'd trade (well maybe not the getting shot at part). Task 8- much lighter winds. In fact it was L&V a lot so the launching went really slowly. The tow was really nice and the boomer I pinned off in was 800fpm smooth all the way up. Problem was that I was alone. Everyone had left. It was a big triangle task with 2 starts half an hour apart so everyone was just plain gone. I went on glide to the start and almost decked it right then. I stuck with a climb on the edge for so long I got the 2nd start. Then I was completely alone for the rest of my flight. It really makes for slow going but I took the entire time taking in the scenery and just enjoying the hell out of my flight. The climbs were smooth and nice and getting to around 6k and spaced perfectly like 5k apart. I found the rhythm of the day and it was really sweet. I had a couple wedgies at the 1st WP that were being polite. On the way to the 2nd the day just sort of ended. It was late and I had been in the air a long long time. But this time I was relaxed and less sore. Jamie and Rob kicked my butt, but I was in a much better frame of mind than the day before. And I landed really well. Task 9 I pretty much have had enough of flying alone and with a radio on but no one to listen or talk to so I begged the guys to let me on their frequency. I promised I wouldn't say anything unnecessary and I would have gone so far as to scrub their toilets if they hesitated. But it was cool and after an easy tow, I got to hear what the climbs were like and how high to expect to get. And it made me go a lot faster plus I had pilots around most of the flight. On the way to the first TP, I almost got sucked right into a cloud. Great smooth huge climb and I pull out and go on glide right under this fatty and I pass some pilot who is just turning and turning and turning. I feel the suck and I stuff the bar to my knees to get to the edge, just getting halfway whited out. I look to my left to see this idiot still turning in the dome when he realises what's about to happen he dives right towards me and I get a little terrified that we are going in right next to each other. Nasty little scare. Oh and I should say I got stupid low before the start and almost decked it right away again. Guess I need that incentive to stay HIGH. This task was a huge one and I just wanted to keep moving. Before the 1st TP James and Mitch landed and then after it, the whole sky shaded over with some high stuff and still big dark cu's producing lift somehow. I got alone for a little bit but then I found my "hat"- Canadian Rob Clarkson. Did you know that Canada is just America's hat? That of course, makes us the pants... but I digress. Rob and I bumbled towrds the second TP and almost made it. The sky opened up again but after another almost 5 hours in the air I just ran out of steam. I could tell he was also and the other guys were closing in on the last TP and heading to goal. But I was done. I saw a glider down, thought it was Rob and went to land in his field - after making a pass 1 k further to make sure I had him beat... I yelled down for a wind direction as it was pretty light at the moment and saw it was Tove. She starts kicking dirt but it was not clear, then I yelled BEND OVER. She seemed confused and I just guessed at what she was getting at but it was clearly downwind on final. I had enough altitude to turn 90 degrees right but a thermal was literally kicking of and it was everywhere and nowhere. I pounded in pretty good :-( Poor Sandee... Tove had a similar bad landing with a stuck zipper and no wind. I found myself stuck in my harness as my zip was hung on on a leg strap. She helped me out and my handy dandy driver Mike (part Magellin, part McGyver, part Dr. Laura) arrived with Glen Jamie and Rob so we had to leave Tove out of cell service. That's the biggest retrieve problem- noservice anywhere. Thank God for the Spot that Jim Prahl loaned me! Heaps of kangaroos playing chicken with the car on the way back. We never seem to get back in time to get real food in town- everything closes at 9. But we just made it back fast enough to grab the last dinners at the Inn and that was the end of Task 9. Task 10 was a big out and back with a waypoint halfway on the way back. For some reason I thought that was on the way out so there was some confusion when during the first leg I saw people already coming past me and thought they were super duper fast! But I was slow on this day for sure. I broke my first weak link since almost a year behind the trike. I just got ridiculously high on him and went to release at 100' but it snapped. I landed in the huge thermal we just flew through and in front of all that were left on the launch line- thank God it was a decent one or I'd still be getting critiqued. The seond tow put me in a fatty and when I got off it was straight up to 6k. I yoyo'd for awhile while I listened to the guys make headway. I had been feeling really nauseous on the ground and it was getting worse in the air. I didn't want to puke in a full face helmet. The air was HUGE and the climbs were all 8-900fpm. I thought about just landing- this being the last day and I am so tired and sore and sick. But then I thought about being on the ground at 42degrees C... screw that! So I just tried to make my way along the course as best as I could. Once again alone, but on radio with the guys. Zac at one point asked if anyone had seen Paris (who had no way to communicate ). I said I had never been to France even, and Zac came back, a little irritated and asked if I had seen him. I said I was so far behind there's no way anyhow, but then I had to ask why I was seeing pilots going the other way if the lead guys just made the 1st TP and were still 50 k away from the second one FURTHER north. That's when I saw that the 1st was the furthest out and then we head back. Aha moment there. Shit, I just plug the route in and follow the stupid arrow and try to push upwind. Silly me... Damn blogger just lost the rest of this... ugh- I have no time left... Later... I'll finish - IN WORD!! Ok i found it: At some point these huge climbs (to 11000' agl) got really strong. There were thin-ish cu's, not like the day before, but it was really lifty. At one point I had a solid 8.4 on my 20 second averager for several turns. CRAZY! I'm just hanging onto the bar and praying not to find the edge of that sucker. It was 1600fpm for people not using m/s. Crazy. But now I am feeling much better and even the wire twangers aren't getting me all tense. I finally make the 1st TP and I am 3.5 hours into my flight. That sucker was 88k away. On the way back I got low, found my hat above me, and followed him from below. Then I lost him and the thermal at 6000' (which was feeling super low all of a sudden!) I was on my own the remainder of the flight and got another climb back to 10k but it is getting late. My final glide I knew I was just going to go for as many Ks as possible. My last flight in this great comp and I have a perfect landing with a bunch of sheep and watch the sunset as I pack up. And Mike comes strolling across the vast field with my wraps at the exact right moment- which is amazing since I have had no communication with him since I landed. And we head off the clean up for the party. Rob had me by a bit but he was already in the car. Jamie landed right near me but Glen already had her picked up. The party was actually a shitload of fun. The best part about these races is spending time with this eclectic bunch of people. And what a hoot they all were tonight. After so many days in the heat and the air and no time to socialize much, everyone seemed to just let go and enjoy themselves. Davis was all over the dance floor along with Zac and Mitch and Annie and Robin was playing the bongos with the band. Hilarious. Polona is such a blast to hang with- too bad she quit smoking though ;-) Okay so I'll try to come up with a link to pictures- there are so many on my Facebook. I just need better internet to do stuff like that. I'll also recap at some point general thoughts about this comp and a bit of my disappointment for not scoring better. But I learned more here than all the other comps I've been in combined. I'll elaborate later. Right now it's time to see Australia.


  • Thanks for the stories. Very nice to read. I enjoyed it.
    Jan from Belgium

    By Blogger Jan L, at 7:21 AM  

  • Great reporting Linda! Truly fun to read. If you have time after you get back to the states it would be interesting to read a review of the LS RX3 vs the LS S3. Fly high and far! Jim G.

    By Blogger James, at 6:00 PM  

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