Greifenburg, in the south of Austria, small town visited by huge number of pilots every year. This place was the host of the second round from the Newcomer Challenge 2016. 5 days and 4 task with special attention on learning and improving the skill of flying paragliding competition.
I met Primoz, Elvira and Mikelj and we went to the fligercamp in Greifenburg on Tuesday. Little bit later we were joined by Luka Slak, an XC expert who didn’t really compete and was now a real threat to the first place of this comp. For the weekend we had company of two more pilots Jernej Bodlaj and Nejc Simič. After setting up the tents, the detailed briefing on the area and the first beer of many to come on the comp it was time for what is going to be remembered as the coldest night in my almost 25 years on Earth. Luckily as we are going to move to the end I guess the survival instincts were kicking in and I found that punting every piece of clothes in the sleeping bag actually helps 🙂
In the 4 racing days we had 2 standard task and 2 Elapsed time tasks. After every task there was a debriefing and before every task we were working on the fight plan, strategy and important things which was provided by Primoz Susa. I have never before thought about a serious plan before a task and now that is changed forever.
The standard tasks went super well. The first task I was in goal, with Luka flying super fast but unfortunately mistake on the size of one of the cylinder turn point costed him the first place, third was Ambroz Mikelj who will go on to win the comp with super fast and super consistent flying. I was p 10 which I was happy with. Second standard Task was held on the 4th day and was speculated to be the best XC day so far this year. We had a 104 km task for us and It was one of the most beautiful flights I have ever done, the view across the alps from 3300m asl was just an unforgettable experience. Unfortunately I have not made it to goal I bombed out on the 92 km, on the final glide. My mistake was that I have started the final glide too early and also at that time there was shade from high clouds so thermals were weaker. Until this time I have been only climbing in very strong thermals and when the lift was weak I would move on or find the strong part. But now I needed to just slow down and climb whatever because pushing in the moderate east valley wind was not going to be easy. Click here for the Animation.
The 2 Elapsed time tasks happen to be a big problem for me but I would say not because of the format but because I would make the worst decisions of the comp. First elapsed time task was due the pour conditions and the big shade. After a real struggle to make the first climb I was hoping for a stronger thermals where it is obvious now after the task that there are not going to be any. The last task we could chose a different route where I chose the route with no pilots and I could chose from a perfectly good image of thermals in front of me and nothing, I chose nothing hoping for a good result. Well the results were not on my side on this comp, however I have found few ways that differently don’t work.
Ambroz will go on to win the second task, Luka the third with a super bold and fast flying, he was 25 minutes in goal before everyone else and took the 1000 points with him. Ambroz and his 777 king always being on the 1 to 4th position broth the win to Slovenia.
When we were not flying we made sure that we are not going to seat around waiting for the weather. The one day with out a task we went to the Großglockenr Glacier where we had a hike to the bottom and experienced the effects of the global warming in first hand.
Great five days in Greifenburg with even greater people. Hvala puno!