I’ve made use of the miserable weather we’ve had in the Alps lately to reminisce about what a great experience we had during X-pyr. What a great place the Pyrenees is! I’m very happy to look back at photos and recount my story (https://sharemyjoys.wordpress.com/2014/07/28/x-pyr-the-race-across-the-pyrenees/ ) and to think that I managed to cross the whole range from west to east. The full report is on my blog at www.sharemyjoys.com
After Maurer-Theurillat team won the race on Thursday, Durogati-Dilitz was the only team who reached de finish that day. It still remains an exciting day on Friday, when it would be decided which teams will reach the goal at Port de la Selva before the end of the race at 10:30.
Third place is well decided, because Coconea-Pisica ended on Thursday at barely 20 minutes to the turnpoint in the small church of Santa Helena, where crono stops. Tomi has to sleep in the very track he was walking, wrapped into his glide. Friday early in the morning, they are already walking at 5:30. Tey are coming up the road exultant, still in the dark. They reach the finish just in time to see the sun rising from the sea horizon, like a giant, red, deformed balloon. They are so happy. They both cross the gate in a fake sprint, and making constant jokes to the cameras.
Mayer-Kosthrun team ends in the fourth position. Also them have been very close to end the race the day before, barely 9Km. They arrive over 7:30 in the morning, with Standa walkin very fast over the road.
Ciuhandu-Ciurea team is next. They reach the goal at 9:30, after a hike of about 15 Km in straight line. There is a parking about 100m before the finish, and there are here more pilots as the time goes on (Criegel and Aaron sleeped here), and the welcome is warmer each time. It is a pretty thing to see all pilots cheering the teams that are arriving, who daoes not even stop until they reach the finish line aside the small church.
Beñu-Seliga gets there in sixth place, over 10:30 in the morning. I met them walking on the road, each side their van. Nobody is driving the van. They have just leave it idle speed, and walk at the rythm the van marks, correcting the trajectory through the window, by means of small touches to the steering wheel. They are passing the van each other, just a ping-pong ball. When they reach the parking, they are distracted with cheers and the van goes into a dangerous path. It remembers to me the fishing boat of Forrest Gump.
It is terrible hot. At the mid-day hours, when the hot is more burning, Neynens-Forster team reaches the goal. It is 14:30. The shyness of nick does contrast with the constant conversation of Carl. They will be ther first team not to fly towards the beach, because the wind is very strong now.
Nobody was expecting more pilots at the finish. But after we have been welcoming the teams arriving to goal, we realize taht Krysta-Polach team has cutted a pretty good distance. When they started at the morning, 55Km in straight line separated the team from the goal. Will them get it? The incredible speed live-tracking is is showing make us believe that they will. At 20:30 it is clear they will. Michael is coming up the road. He es exausted, after a long hike of more that 90 Km, just in one day. Everybody is thinking that he is pushing his strenght to the limit. But everybody is wrong. About 1Km left to the top, this czech beast bursts out running. This is not a pose for the cameras. We who are fresh and well rested have real problems to follow him. He has no one single reason for doing this, because he has time enough to reach the finish peacibly. He does it because he wants to. He does it because he can.
About 25 Km from the finish, near Figueres, team Barcena-Echevarria is resting. It will be the first team who won`t reach Port de la Selva.
The dream is over. For this time…
Aterrizando a mas de 130 k de la meta las posibilidades de llegar a la meta se desvanecen. Se hace un intento desde un despegadero oficial el día 6, pero 10 minutos antes se enfría, se crean algunas lluvias y solo se puede hacer un corto vuelo….Lo demás caminar hasta las 10PM….Hasta el final!!. Que buena experiencia. No premian al que mas caminó?…
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?
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!
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
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.