Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Belgian Paragliding Open. Laragne, France 2011

Photo: Marko Väyrynen

Well last week we had the Belgian Paragliding Open in France in windy Laragne. Unfortunately we only had one task due to the Mistral conditions. The one task we did have was an ambitious 101km square task taking us over some of the breathtaking scenery of the Pic de Bure quite someway north of launch. Conditions were quite bumpy with strong thermals and a few inversion layers so I had the glider do a couple of funky things but sorted it out quickly. I had a great start and was leading for some of the way at the beginning but was caught by a few others and we formed our lead gaggle. Multiple choice of routes past the Pic de Burre towards the last turnpoint meant that we split up and went various ways. I chose the more direct line that had a large section of flat lands to traverse while others did a slightly longer but less risky route connecting a couple of ridges. Ultimately nobody got to goal as we were all hampered by a strong headwind under the inversion and the leaders all decked it at 85-90km. I landed at 86.7km but was quite quick and managed the third highest leadout points for the task. However some pilots managed a couple more kilometres and so I finished 10th out of 120+ pilots but was only 40 points shy of the winner (who got ~700 points). Due to the weather I was subsequently denied the chance to fight for a podium place.

I'm at the PreEuropeans now in St Andre, the first task is tomorrow so let's hope for some better weather.

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