Paragliding in BC

Paragliding in BC

Monday, June 29, 2009

Rat Race 2009

I'm back at the Rat Race at Woodrat Mountain in Southern Oregon. Doing better than last year already, good thing since I've put in so much effort trying to improve my flying skills in the past year!

So my shiney new wing is making me fall in love with it more & more each day. I got discouraged after the first 2 competition days after not tagging a single turnpoint, but I wasn't the only one. The field was split with the top pilots getting away from the hill & a bunch of us pouting at the LZ. Day 3 they finally made the first turnpoint easy and the rest progressively harder, so those of us in the mentoring program could boost our egos by hitting at least one turnpoint, and the more experienced comp pilots were still challenged by the end. I tagged 3 turnpoints on Day 3, and even got more points than a couple of other pilots who did the same because I took a bit more risk by flying a little further down the valley before doubling back to the landing field.

Day 4 we were all pumped from a day full of personal bests, but the weather wasn't as epic as predicted. About a dozen of us sunk out, but with enough time to go back up and relaunch most of us decided to give it a second try. So glad I did! Tagged 3 turnpoints again (!) and felt like bouncing off the walls. Derek almost made goal but did something funky to his gps and missed the 3rd turnpoint by 50 meters, so he didn't get the points. What a bummer.

There are some great reasons to come to a comp: flying every day and seeing your skills progress daily, watching your confidence grow and your circle of friends increase. Unfortunately the learning curve is just that...a curve. Your skills don't go up indefinitely, and sometimes they take a dip. My dip came on day 6. I just made bad choices all day and barely left the hill, landing well within the 5 km minimum distance cylinder. A lot of pilots had personal bests and I had to face them all when they returned from their various exotic landing fields. "Sucking it up" is not something I do well. So a few others who sunk out early came into the pool at HQ and we had a Pity Pool Party. Things looked brighter after that.

I'm having my morning coffee before the last competition day. I'm hoping my learning curve swings back up and I have my best flight yet. Flying with all of these really great pilots is an amazing, invaluable experience and I'm just trying to sop up as much knowledge from them as possible before starting the drive home tomorrow. And hoping my name isn't at the very bottom of the score sheet at the end of the day. ;)

----Back home now. Last task of the comp was cancelled due to strong winds. My final standing was 8 out of 11 women, and 56 out of 65 overall. Not last, and nowhere to go now but up!!!----

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Officially an Addict

I got a new wing...3 weeks ago. And for 3 weeks I've been sick with one of those colds/coughs/sinus things that just won't go away. Still, I've managed to get 6 flights on my new Ozone Addict 2 and after yesterday's flight I can finally declare that I love it.

They say you learn something on every flight. On my Addict's 5th flight I learned that if you fly with a head cold you're not going to have much fun. Unfortunately I didn't figure that out until a week later. It was one of the most frustrating flights I ever had, like I couldn't do anything right. I was angry after landing...mad that I couldn't "figure out" my new wing...mad that I didn't bond with it right away. My emotions (that I swore would be left behind while flying...oops) resurfaced and when a couple of people asked how my new wing was I went looking for sympathy and told them. No, I didn't throw a big fit this time but did express my frustration at not being able to understand my wing.

Fast forward one week to where my head wasn't quite so stuffy. I flew yesterday and it was amazing. THAT was the flight I wanted! I sunk down to 400 metres when it shaded out and scratched my way back up over launch. My new wing turned tightly and quickly and I loved it. After landing I realized the reason my last flight had been such a struggle was because of my congested sinuses. That's why I had trouble 'understanding' my wing. It made perfect sense and I was happy to figure it out and excited about my awesome flight. Then a pilot came up to me at the LZ to congratulate me on my nice landing and see if I liked my new wing 'yet'. Since she hadn't been there to hear me moan about it my last flight I asked what she meant. She said that she heard that I was having "DHV 2-itis" and wasn't ready to fly a higher performance wing. That really bummed me out, especially since that comment came from someone who is always telling me I'm a great pilot.

So that's my rant and rave today (isn't that was addicts do?). Ranting at colds and gossip, Raving at loving my new wing. Lesson learned? Stop caring so much what other people think and just have fun!