Last night we had *40* folks sign on and enjoy racing in the Slovenian landscape. This time we did a full on ridge task; the winners did not turn a single time around the whole task! However, don’t take this suggesting that the task is *easy*. Far from it; unlike the Appalachian ridges that I am accustomed to, here we are flying broken up mountains, with many bowls, spurs, saddles and changing elevations. Every second you are juking to and fro, following the snaking band of lift. Are you going to go around or over the next saddle? Slow down a bit or speed up and stay with the others that are higher than you? You don’t get a second of respite.
The trick was you had to get to ridge top and stay at ridge top. This is especially the case with a northerly wind, which forces the contestants to fly in the shaded side of the mountains. The wind was strong enough to make the ridge work, but below crest the lift was pitiful. Only around the corners that were more exposed to the sun was there solid lift.
On the first leg I made a mistake. I started with Mark Rebuck and we came to a fork in the road: left or right? I took the right line and it wasn’t as good. By the time we made it to the turnpoint I was 800ft below him, limping along. And there was Timo, our ace German pilot who had snuck up on both of us. He took another, even better route and was enjoying his commanding position above everyone!
Rounded the turn, I was looking uphill. Bad news! There were a bunch of other gliders to fly with and I was working every bit of lift as best as I could to stay connected.
Slowly, I managed to minimize the separation. Approaching the second turn, I saw Mark and Timo take a direct route. Left and follow them or go right, the long way around, but in ridge lift? Let’s go Right!
Punching through a bunch of sink, I found good energy around the corner. This got me higher and higher while maintaining a good speed. Rounded the turnpoint and stuck with the lift for a while longer. By the time I made the transition over to the next ridge, I was catching up to Timo and Mark.
Now we transitioned to the high mountains and the lift got real solid. My markers are slowing down; gotta keep my speed up, wait for the solid surge! And there it was, 12 knots and yank back to milk the lift for 15 seconds. We almost got ’em!
Now we’re at the third turn. What’s the next line? Those guys are indecisive. I yanked it around the turnpoint perfectly. Now we’re passed them!
Keep the speed up. I see the line to the fourth turn; I’ve got the next saddle made. Coming through the box canyon, I clear the terrain at 90 knots right down on the deck. Now we’re home free.
Keep the pedal to the metal, I pulled around the turn and flew at 120 knots along the final ridge. No need to slow down, the ridge got us to a MC 9.7 final glide 200ft over.
And screaming across the finish line, I managed to recover to a second place for the day!
Condor ridge races are awesome!
Great job Conrado winning the day! Conrado is a long-time Condor pilot and our friend from Brazil. He is an ER doctor by trade. We asked him about the epidemic and he said that they are starting to get quite busy too.
See results here.
We also had a great contingent of young pilots today: Matthew Scutter, a former JWGC world champion and member of the Australian team, Thomas Greenhill, Collin Shea, and Wyll Soll, Nick Oakley (NZ JWGC pilot!), Luis Saut (Brazilian 26 year old!) and of course Timo, our 22 year old German wunderkind.
It’s a lot of fun racing with such an awesome crew!
Reminder that while the Sunday and Monday races will still be in Slovenia, starting Tuesday we will be moving to other places around the world! Starting with Ridge North 2 (Mifflin), followed by Nephi, and the New Zealand 0.8. Be sure to download those sceneries!
See you guys tonight at 9pm Eastern (0100 UTC) on US Nightly Soaring here!