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Haase July 18

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Our final race was hugely eventful and incredibly fun given poor flying conditions in an otherwise super simple flying location. You know it’s never a good sign when the vultures are sitting on a wire watching a paraglider for signs of lift… huh?

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The mandatory “time out” session allowed us to connect with friends and rest up. Unfortunately I learned about 2 friends who had died this past week in separate accidents. The penally and accidents certainly left a bit of a black cloud overhead knowing we had ran out of time to each the beach. Without the penalty it’s possible we could have reached goal. Considering everything, Tracy and I hatched a plan to make the final race day a solid push with hopefully a brilliant flight past TP 6 Puigmal. We think our departed friends would have wanted it no other way!

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The day started out hiking heaps of vertical meters, something like 1700m, over 19.3km to reach the Cadi. There the winds were blowing SSW providing ridge lift. Dark clouds with the bottom dropping out were seen to the south where another athlete lay in wait to fly. Down the course line we had disappearing sun with less and less up slope winds. Now was the time to GO and make the most of the day.

22 Km’s more or less were managed until all up slope winds and convection came to a calm rest. This portion of the Cadi is a place where if you dropped bricks out the glider they SHOULD fly as it is not technical in the least. The calm air slowly and surely allowed me to glide to a landing place. A quick pack and time to hike another 8km and 900m

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Nearly complete with the hike the sun graced us with it’s presence and the up slope convection turned on like a light switch. We were off for another short flight until Señor Sol decided it was time for yet another siesta. Hike 3 started from 10km of TP6 high on the ridge. Some remain gin up slope winds and steeper terrain caused me to hurry for short hopper flights.

Next several short hopper flights were made anywhere from 3km to 300m. Sometimes these flights ended with a running kiting session to a feature where another short flight could be made. After several short hopper flights I was below TP 6 needing to soar up to reach the 1500m cylinder. Soaring the ground within 20cm’s at times and steering though bewildered cows was something never to be forgotten. Eventually the lift gave way, the glider was balled up, and I hiked the remaining 400 vertical meters to the pleasant sound of the flytec 6030 indicating I entered the turn point.

Without hesitation I threw down the balled glider, stepped backwards charging the A’s and took off to end the day. A wonderful landing place in the town of Ribes was seen with children playing football. Not being able to resist the green grass and smells of cooking food after a long day spirals and wing overs were made to a cheering stadium of locals.

Standing there, I looked up and thanked my friends, both living and departed, for the experience and support. Just then the black Five Ten van rolls up with a smiling Tracy and we knew it was time to say hello to our good ol’ friends, pizza & beer after finishing the final day having given a complete push.