Wednesday, July 27, 2016

2016 Euros, Day 6, Task 5

Task 5 was a 145 km task around the valley. Matjaz, Sasha, Mario and I had the most relaxed wait for the start gate at 2000 m above the valley. Others were being thrown around in turbulent thermals above the mountain. That was already a good start to the task :-)

We nailed the start and a lead gaggle formed in a washing-machine-alike thermal above Barakova. That was hectic! Luckily we left it pretty early and headed further into the direction of Pelister, the 2600 m high mountain West of Bitola. The real racing started from then on with 3 m/s thermals to 3000 m and long glides. We touched the Greece border and headed North, heading into quite a strong NE wind. I charged hard because it was my only tactical plan I had to try to win the task. 25 km from goal, my 3 m/s thermal quickly attracted Antoine's attention and we were both leading. Sadly, it suddenly stopped at 2000 m, which meant we needed an extra 300 m to make goal. The north turnpoint had a little hill in front of it, so surely the SW area, which was lee-side in the NE winds was going to provide the thermal we needed. But because the day was dying, we took it conservatively and stopped racing.

Arriving at the North turnpoint, we found some light broken lift. We searched the area for a few minutes until we saw the gaggle coming our way. That's when we made the mistake to leave for the next thermal hotspot. The following gaggle found some lift and easily made it in. Antoine and I struggled on the last turnpoint and barely made any height. At this point, Antoine was at least 100 m higher and when the thermal died, I decided to glide to goal in a direct line, over the spot which generated the last 3 m/s thermal. Alas, that didn't work and I was 3 km short :-( Antoine glided more North and arrived with excess height... Ouch, what a missed chance to make up quite a number of places!

Lots of leading points, but that's not worth much compared to making it to goal...

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