Friday, September 17, 2010

Santa Cruz Flats 2010

The exceedingly pleasant Francisco Grande Hang Gliding resort, (well it is this week anyway). Former San Francisco Giants (baseball - a bit like cricket, but with a schedule) winter training facility ;)The last couple of days have seen some very nice racing conditions, here we are jockeying for position in the start circle.
Conditions on course vary radically depending on the terrain you are over. I have found it very challenging to read. This part of the course was good.
This part of the course, not so good and while I thought I would climb out of here...
I didn't and landed in a lonely spot.
With a tricky retrieve, I was very grateful to Jamie and Jon Sr for helping me out of the sweat pit I landed in.And just when you think hmm well the cliffs aren't *that* high, you look down to see what you have been walking on !
Landing at goal is by far the way to go :) Green grass, the pool and margarita, high spirits :)
results :
Jamie has great up to date write ups
And Jonny is doing his on air in the air video reporting too, check it !

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hang Gliding Tips

Gerolf Heinrichs on the litespeed
Gerolf in Laragne : Sprogs Talk 1/6 , 2 of 6 , 3 of 6 , 4 of 6 , 5 of 6 , 6 of 6
Measuring Sprogs

WW articals , Sailcloth , Polars , performance airfoils

Q and A with Jonny, Zac and Gordon

Setting up your Flytec 6030

Making a Task

Uploading a tracklog for competitions - Davis Straub
Comp tools - Davis Straub
Going to Oz - Davis Straub

magnetic camera mount -Jonathon Dietch
remote Camera Shutter Release -Diev Hart
other shutter releases

short packing - Mark Dowsett
unshort packing - Jeff O'Brien

Using Mylar to stop wear

Stopping flutter or Retrofitting mylar to the trailing edge

Reading Winds Aloft

And just like that 10 days was up.

Sadly it was all over way too quickly, the balance of rushing around trying to make use of the time we had verses being too tired and rushed to take in the experience is a fine one. I think we did well.
The journey home was a bit stressful, We got up at 4am to get to the airport extra early to deal with the glider. My parents drove down from Castellane through the night with the glider in a huge storm. At one point the road was an inch deep in hail. At 5am the heavens opened at the airport and the power went out. Ground lightning everywhere. Not the best start to the day...
When I got to the counter with my glider the staff had the look of "you have to be kidding me" all the computers were going up and down with the power. They just came up to me and said you cannot take this.
But I had prearranged it and had a small piece of paper showing this. After an hour of checks they accepted the glider, only to take away the relief moments later say security do not have the infrastructure to process it. Politics... Grrr.
Well in the end I had to get on my flight and my parents took my glider to freight.
I am very grateful for the help. I am praying the glider shows up in one piece.

Once home in San Francisco I had a day to unpack, repack, find out what was happening with my glider and head to Arizona. My glider might show up Monday. I had to leave Friday... No Glider and one hour into the drive my truck started misfiring :(

Brian Porter and Randee to the rescue! I rode with them from Merced.
Kraig sorted me out a glider to fly, and here I am Santa Cruz Flats Arizona.
What great friends I have (and am very indebited too)
Thank you !!

Rafting the Verdon

After Mont Blanc Tracey, Jessica and I headed back to Castellane to go rafting on the Verdon river. Its a great way to see the Gorge.The scenery is of course spectacular, and everyone is smiling.
Our river giude Arno (sp?) enjoyed bouncing us off the walls of the gorge, everyone else enjoyed it too.
September turned out to be a very good time of year to do this as there we few other boat on the river.
Every once in a while we would stop for a dunk in the river to cool off. I am not going to say I needed cooling off though ;)

And just like that the 25km float was over. It was fun to see my folks tracking us down river taking pictures here and there. Thanks for that :)

Really up in the French Alps

We really lucked out with the weather on this particular day. 20 odd years ago My Dad and I hiked up the first cable car stage, and took the second on up to Aguile de midi into the clouds. We got an occasional glimpse of snow through the cloud.
Today was a whole different thing, the wind was even light enough that we could take the cable car across to Italy, which I hear is not open that frequently. It is all for the views. Many climbers come up here see them on that spine ?
And there it is the Massive de Mont Blanc.
Looking across into Italy.
This is the scenic cable car ride across the Mer de Glace.
Tracey was pretty excited to be in Italy !
If you look closely you can see 4 hikers walking to the left of the crevasses.
It is difficult to express the sense of scale of this place, pictures do not do any justice !
More hikers.
This is the french side, Chamonix. What a day !!!

Up in the French Alps

Tracey and I met both my sisters, Mateo, Fabrice and Simon in Annecy. Another beautiful medievel town, this one is on a lake, with some Canals running through the town. The water is very clear.
We had a bite to eat and explored the town.
Lac Annecy is plenty big enough to sail, swim, water ski, and enjoy. I spent some time as a kid Mountain biking and windsurfing in the area while Dad was Hang gliding. I was fun to see the place after so many years.
The next morning Tracey and I walked out of Tamsins back door to see stunning views of Mt Blanc.
It is unusual to get such cloudless views. We were excited about the prospect of seeing Mt Blanc up close and personal the next day.

Meeting the parents

And here we are back in Castellane. It was fun showing Tracey round a town I'd only just explored a few weeks eariler.
On the road to St Andre there is an old ruined village up in the hill, we had a nice walk around there and upto a Chapel that has been restored. It is way up in to hills like a refuge.
Down below is the dam which houses the biggest sun dial in the world.
We did the math and found ourselves about 2 minutes fast.
Not bad :)
We did a couple of other walks around the area, and saw some Manatee fossils stick out of the limestone cliffs, I really enjoy the accessibility of France.

Reunited in nice Nice

I am a couple of weeks behind now, so I'll hurry back up to speed. After 6 weeks of me in Europe my girlfriend Tracey came to visit. It was her first time in France and I was excited to see her and show her around a bit. I took the train down from St Andre to meet her in Nice. Its a ride in itself.We stayed in Nice a couple of nights, to explore a bit. The headlands south of Nice have a park with a mixture of roman ruins and man made waterfalls.
The views of the city are good from there too.
We rented a scooter for a fun efficient way to get around.
It was so fun we ended up in Monaco. Which is not quite France but not quite its own country either...
There is evidence of affluence to say the least! This unique statue stands over the Monaco Harbor.
The rock at Monaco is the prominent feature with the Palace and and various spiritual centres.
From Monaco we headed back through Nice to Antibes for some dinner.
I think Antibes is quite a stunning town with its medieval architecture right on the mediterainian coast.
We went back in the morning to get some breakfast and look round the market. The market was spectacular withall kinds of weird and wonderful things. Donkey saussice, amongst many other animal meats.
The fresh provential herbs were amazingly arromatic, of course it was harvest time, but still !
And many types of Olives too. The fruits and veg were also of exceptional taste, delicious !