Tag Archives: Greg Hamerton

A long day / Team Flybubble UK

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From the dawn start and early flight, to the ascent to col de Ispeguy, to the windy flight to some slope, to hiking to the peak and around to a better launch peak, to flying and thermaling with griffon vultures, to landing, hot hiking then relaunching, to landing beside a stream for a glorious swim, to an ascent of col de irati? Of 1000m and it seems I'll do about half of it before striking camp and resting my weary legs.

It's been tough, but today has been special. Being out in this great natural environment was energizing. Even so, I have nothing left over for a jog to Ohri.

Maybe tomorrow? And then the real flying begins...

Race report / Team Flybubble UK

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I've put together a full race report on our website for those who would like more detail about the life of a pilot during the XPYR 2016 race.


Unfinished / Team Flybubble UK

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I'm back in my comfy office chair, with the glory of the race replay set out before me. My legs will soon forget the punishment that the Pyrenees gave them, especially the final three hours where an unexpected move by Rodrigues left me no option but to ignore the pain and march along the road.


Many of my compatriots were involved in a similar struggle, right till the last minute.


My supporter James was a big part of my endurance: always jovial, quick to find me, feed me, and to hike up yet another hill, on short sleep.
I'm proud we didn't withdraw, but as we only reached half way on the massive course, I feel as if the challenge is unfinished. This feeling is intensified when I watch how soundly we were all beaten by the leading trio. During the race, I had no idea just how far and how fast they had gone.
I gave it everything, for a long time, but it wasn't nearly enough. For me to be effective and safe in such a race, much more training is required. Mountain marathons, mountain orienteering, and above all, lots of mountain flying.
I take small comfort from the fact that I finished ahead of Inigo Gabiria, a local Spanish legend and winner of the 2012 edition, who also struggled to make headway in the strong winds we faced.
The race replay is a brilliant tool, and I'll be studying it for many days to come, learning what routes worked best, where the flying opportunities were, and watching how Maurer mastered this wild and wonderful landscape.
That was the toughest thing I've ever attempted. Truly unforgettable.

Thanks to Flybubble for their support, and Inigo and the XPYR team for good organisation.

Highs and lows / Team Flybubble UK

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This morning started in a soft bed and a late start in hotel Santacristinna. I looked out the window .. it was still raining and lightning flashed. Back to sleep then.

Once it stopped raining, I took a leisurely hike up to pic Anayet. The turnpoint was cunningly hidden in cloud and off the trail but with a little scramble, i had it!

Over the back I find a decent option to lob off into the whispering N wind. As I flew down to a long descending valley, the wind quickly increased to 30kmh, then more. I surfed the sloppy descending air, expecting to slide out far enough to outrun it down to the valley.

Except, I didnt. I got drilled and had to turn to face the beast and find the safest landing I could.

Beside a narrow lake were some small fields, surrounded by saplings of 3m or so. It would have to do. I stood on full speed over the water, riding the gusts. I backed onto the shore when low, and tried to get down fast on big ears and half bar, to avoid some hellish looking swirls coming my way.

The trees gave me a nasty kicking and I had a hard landing. Theres a rock in a Spanish field that is still recovering from its headache. My South African friends will understand when I say I gave it a good snotklap. No harm done but I was lucky.

The lawn I'd chosen to impact was owned by an incredibly friendly family who insisted on feeding me a fantastic paella with beer, coffee and brandies! Outstanding luck.

I was able to surprise them with ice I'd just collected in a bottle from Pic de Anayet. Just right for chilled drinks.

To end the day off with some intelligence, i'm hiking hard till 10.30 to be in position for a good launch over Biescas tomorrow around noon, when I will fly as far as humanly possible for the final day.