Thursday, August 4, 2011

2011 Belgian Nationals, Day 5, Task 5

5 Tasks in 5 days, who thought that this was going to happen in a European comp in 2011? Well, it's happening at the Belgian Nationals. And, if we're lucky, we're going to get 7 out of 7 :-)
There was some concern that we were driving up the wrong launch today. We rigged on the lower north launch on Chabre with light north winds and a serious chance for west winds in the early afternoon. Were we going to lose the day with the best forecast of the week?
We set a 104 km task over Aiguille, Gap, Montagne d'Oule, Sigoyer and return to the camping.
We launched as early as we dared to make sure we wouldn't be stuck on the mountain due to increasing west winds. It took me some time to find the first thermal. But the west winds didn't turn on and everybody was able to have a nice and safe launch.
It turned out to be a very interesting task with W to NW winds and a moderate cloud base (2200 m, max 2500 m). I made a first mistake when I crossed the valley near Veynes in an attempt to attach to Pic de Bure. I was to low for that and ended up in light lee conditions. I lost half an hour there. By the time I took the turnpoint near Gap, Mart, who started 20 mins later, had already overtaken me and Malcolm (also 2nd start) was right below me. I returned over Ceuse and had an easy glide to Montagne d'Oule. Had I only taken this route the first time as well... d'Oule wasn't active and I found a weak thermal on the foothills west of it. Only just enough to attach to Aujour where I couldn't find the expected strong thermal. I got low a second time, between Aujour and St. Genis and lost another 20 mins. A climb above the camping allowed me to go on glide to the last turnpoint. I enjoyed the final glide very much and flew into goal in ground effect :-)
Mart Bosman flew the task an hour faster, but after the difficulties along the route, I was happy to be in goal. 3rd for the task, 1st Belgian and 4th overall. On track for the Belgian title and the podium in the general classification is now a close battle between Malcolm and me.

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