23 January 2010

Warming up

In Finland we're experiencing a true winter, after a couple of years of "warm" winters that almost made us forget what the real thing is like. For the least couple of weeks several pilots have enjoyed the ridge soaring possibilities that open up when the lakes and sea freeze over. The frozen lakes have also been put to good use to introduce new students to the finer skills of paragliding. The picture shows a group near Ähtäri that had an excellent day in approx. -18 C.

Me myself and some other pilots have fled the cold, for the traditional trip to Valle de Bravo in Mexico, for the Monarco Open competition. Finnish pilots Karo, Make and Jyrki have been here already for a while, but I arrived only last Thursday night. As usual the place is buzzing with pilots. After some strange weather early in the month, it has now again been flyable for the whole week.
Yesterday made a 1,5 hours flight. The first half hour really needed to get into thermal flying again, little time after launch I found myself very low at the foot of the Penon and a lot of scratching and patience were required to get back up again. I then continued to fly the "task" that the Norwegians had set for themselves. This took me to the Espina corner and then over the valley to Aguila. But there I was on my own and that probably made me leave it to fast, too low. On the way back didn't find any good lift and landed a few km south of launch (track). After a long walk plus a lot of driving made it back to Valle.
Today had a much better flight 3 hours zig-zagging over the Mesa plateau. IWe started at La Case and from there tried to go to the infamous antenna. I made a nice transition to the Magay point but then a relatively strong head wind seemed to make it very hard. It also meant I significant risk to end up in some bad leeside turbulence. I couple of pilots were well on their way but all were very low and I didn't see anyone getting up. So turned back overt the plateau towards Gordo and then noticed that some pilots tried to get to the antenna along the northern ridge. That seemed a reasonable idea so I started flying that direction. When I was 5 km from the turnpoint I did again not see any of the pilots in front of me going up. Moreover I was now getting a bit tired so decided to fly "home" to the landing zone in Valle. On the way found some good lift which allowed me to make a bit of a detour and check out some other turnpoints (track). After 3 hours landed at 14: 30 and then enjoyed the warm weather, some 28 C, with a torta and a cerveza!

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