Saturday, June 11, 2011
Ozone Chabre Open - Last Day and a Task!
Midway through my last flight in Provence
Hooray! We got to fly on the last day of our competition. It was looking dicey in the morning as the wind was already starting to blow, but our meet organizers were determined to get us a flight...well all of them except for Mark who said he would 'eat his shorts' if a task was called and was forced to do exactly that at the party Friday night...
With a strong-ish wind setting up we went to a site called Buc which is a lovely west-facing ridge across from Sederon. We had to wait for the sun to reach launch so most pilots hiked up, and we were lucky enough to have our wings driven to the top. Soon a 33km task was called with goal back at HQ and as soon as the launch window opened pilots filled the air. It's kind of crazy when you're used to a "busy" day flying in Canada being a dozen people and to all of a sudden be faced with about 90 other pilots in the air.
I was lucky enough to get a good thermal near launch & climbed up & away from the madness. My personal goals today included (1) not sinking out; (2) trying to stick with a gaggle instead of getting impatient & flying off too early on my own and (3) flying further than I did on the first task. Oh, and not to have the lowest score amoung Team Canaf because we made a small wager that the team member with the lowest points of the day had to buy the beer.
So for a little over 18 km I was able to meet all of my personal goals. I did end up flying away from the gaggle and almost dirted, but a low save over my planned landing zone (the light patch you see near the bottom right of the picture) got me back up high enough to make it to the next little valley. 18 km isn't a really long flight in paragliding (especially in a competition) so I was sure that my wallet was going to be a little lighter back at HQ. But while waiting on the side of the road for the retrieve bus I was passed by 3 vans full of paragliders, and as they passed I saw 2 of my team mates. That made the wait a LOT more tolerable, hee hee. It turns out a lot of people got foiled by the shade and my flight was good enough that I ended up having the 2nd highest score out of the (10) women that day, a personal best for me!
Our Venezuelan team mate won the day in our group by landing 1km from goal (go Emilio!) and the day's flying was soon forgotten as the party got going and the raffle started. Ozone had donated tons of prizes including the most coveted...a crispy new paraglider. I was so close - they pulled my name right after they gave the wing to someone else! I happily ran to the front anyway to accept my prize from the mayor who was having fun pulling names from the hat. In proper French tradition kisses were dispensed along with a "C'est bon!" from his honour when I remembered the right amount of cheek turns (3 kisses if you're in Provence, FYI). I proudly walked out with my cozy fleece beach blanket, which joined my other prize of an Ozone wallet. Chrissi & I had both won prizes for our walk down the mountain on Thursday and got a hilarious speech from Jockey about being abandoned orphans on the mountain.
We're now homeward-bound to rest up for a few days, do some laundry & pack everything up again for 10 days at the Rat Race Competition in Oregon. I'm looking forward to seeing old friends again but already miss the new ones I made here.