Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Laundry Day 2 (From Zero to Hero)

Today was the second task of the Nats and I was anxious to recover from my bomb-out after the start in yesterdays task 1, and the shame of having to watch everyone (almost) skyout and flying far. Today looked nice and the task was a 65k trip over the back and out over the flats in fairly desolate high desert plateau. Everyone launched and Bob managed to climb away and get high while I was left unable to get up. So, after about 40 minutes or so of yoyoing around infront of launch, I bomb out on the edge of town and I figure I have 20 minutes to relunch before the official close of the start. I go and run for my car at the hotel and Alex comes to join me. We load up the car and rocket up to launch and get in the air again. Ray is also there,and the three of us relaunch. Into the strong cross conditions we go. Ray goes up, Alex goes down (sorry) and I end up somewhere in between. Eventually I find something to climb in and throw myself over the back into what I forsee as a butt kicking. The butt kicking never comes and I scratch and sink my way across the valley behind and approach the turnpoint. I look below and I find a hawk thermalling up, things are looking up, I park on top of the hawk and we fly for a bit to 11g's or so, then we head on our own separate ways.

I go on glide and i am still going up, I head for the next likely trigger and look over my shoulder to find Ray headed to me via a different route. I find us a nice thermal and we share a great climb back to 12g's hooting and hollering the whole way. We hit glide over a huge high plateau and right at the edge where the plateau drops i hook probably the best thermal of my life. i start climbing and look down at Ray who is still in search mode. Every once in a whike I glance down from my giddyness and possible hypoxia ( 16g) and see that Ray is still a speck on the landscape below. I actually write him off as landing near the turnpoint. See ray's story for more on his improbable adventure.

There are a line of distinct small clouds popping above and amazingly a glider is far above me underneath a beauty. I head out on glide and am amazingly still climbing, my hands are frozen and I look at my GPS for Goal and see that it is 16K in front of me. But at 16 grand, 16 kilometers is almost beheath me. I arrive at goal at a respectable 12 grand, and spend 15 minutes doing anything I can to burn off the substantial altitude ( it makes me wonder how far I could have gone with all that altitude and the convergence keeping me high. I land at goal with an unforseen 18th for the day, a cheap beer and a long van ride. We pick up ray on the long drive home. Nice.

Posted by Fireman Dave

1 comment:

Nick said...


It's a good thing you're like an olympic athlete! The air is indeed very rare up there. I want to know what kind of gloves you have! My hands were freezing at just 8g's! Did you have a open face helmet too? Hard core!

Congrats on making goal!