Based on the weather predictions, we set a 125 km task in the morning. But on launch, it soon was evident that things looked more complicated, so we decided to enlarge some cylinders and reduce the task to 105 km. And that turned out to be quite a tough cookie! Here's a replay of the task.
For those on the first start gate, we initially had quite fast racing along the ridge. My timing to cross the flats was a bit off. I went for a cloud that started collapsing, so I had to change my plans, go perpendicular to the course and survive on a hill for a while. After climbing out there, I flew into the shaded valley, which luckily had some small cumulus wisps under the cloud cover.
The next thermal was a weak one, but I had to take. After 10 minutes of turning in 0,5 m/s up, Matjaz glided towards me and started turning 500 m before me in a 3 m/s thermal. So close and I had no clue it probably was there all the time...
Meanwhile, Primoz had flown over our heads at cloud base. He was on his way to nice line of clouds from the power plant to our turn point. Flying straight over one of the cooling towers at 2000 m was a cool sight. Strangely, the top edge wasn't nearly a perfect circle, looked like a badly made scale model from up there :-)
While flying to the 2nd turn point along the east side of the valley, the idea was to return north along the same route, to get back into the sun on the east side, before crossing the west to take the last turn point. But, after turning around, that line didn't look very active anymore and it looked like there was some convergence which would allow crossing the valley in the dark shade. That didn't work as well as expected, but it still was an amazing glide and I just managed to get into the sun near the last turn point.
The climb out was slow and didn't take me very high, but it was enough to take the turn point and head back in the valley to take another climb before final glide. And then it became quite a struggle. The next climb was weak and only took me to a 15/1 glide into goal. I attempted it, but after 2 km on 10/1 decided to turn around and try to go further north to find a better climb in the sunny area of the valley. Flying away from goal was such a strange feeling! I had to climb out from pretty low again, but this time, the thermal was better and I could glide into goal from the cloud wisps at 2000 m.
After those detours, I was surprised to find out I was first in goal, especially because Primoz had distinct advantage on me on the second turn point. But, it turns out to be a 1000 point task win :-) Quite proud of that in this field!
The view in the late afternoon sun was just magnificent. This valley is beautiful and I took my time on the final climb to just enjoy the view. I'll definitely come back here. It's beautiful, the people are very friendly and the flying has a lot to offer due to the nice combination of valley and mountain flying.