Report Task Eight: World Cup Superfinal - Mexico Valle de Bravo 2011

Ulrich Prinz wins his first PWC Task and reports from Valle.

"As the weather was even better than yesterday, the tasksetters came up with a long and demanding task of 120km. The 5 Turnpoints covered every corner of the playground that we have seen during this competition.

But to make it more interesting, the first leg went to Los Saucos in the North – a big flatland area that is usually only visited in the later part of the day as it only works nicely in the afternoon. And indeed: on the return from the first TP, the whole leading group came quite low and a few pilots had to land here already. Those who got away had a stretch with the tailwind from the Noth-East to TP #2 , “La Pila”. Most Pilots were still flying in one large gaggle at this time, but as we all came pretty low on that turnpoint, the field split up, and various groups tried their luck on routes North and South of the prominent ridge pointing towards the pass that we have been to so often now, TP #3 “Llano”.

The plateau behind that pass looked quite scary, as a large Cu-Nim cloud stood towering on that mesa. Luckily we could turn around after that brief peek on the plateau. Now I was in the front of the gaggle that I had joined so far. When they all stopped to climb in a relatively weak thermal I decided that this would not be worth it and continued on my own. Five minutes later I got real lucky when I hit a super-strong and narrow thermal. Thanks to the superb handling of the Boomerang X, I could climb to cloudbase in no time. My gaggle saw this and followed, but by the time they reached it, it had already dissolved. Now I took the chance and simply followed the line of clouds over the ridge that nicely dotted my path: XC-Flying at its finest! The Boomerang X is ideal for these conditions: it is rock-solid at full-speed and I grew more confident to stay on bar every day. Jimmy Pacher joined me from somewhere and we both flew together until the 3 Kings where he was not so lucky with his thermal and so I could win my first World Cup Task!" - Ulli

Bravo, Ulli!

Micky Von Wachter also sent these impressions of the day:

Every time I have the opportunity, I say that Valle de Bravo is among the best paragliding sites in the World. Strong and powerful conditions, very consistent weather, I love it. Valle let us down for three days with conditions that were not very fun, but yesterday and today Valle as we know it is back! Strong thermals that makes you happy to have a easy glider like ours…

At take off it was excellent and not much stress for the ones that are the last to launch. There were many GIN Pilots who chose to takeoff late: Petra, Yassen, Xevi, Seyong, Ogi... I don’t know their reasons, but somehow I try to avoid as much as I can the waiting in the air at the start point. Especially on a 120-kilometre task, since I don’t manage peeing in the air very well…with just 40 minutes until the start we take off, going up in a nice 3 m/s climb. I’m ready for the start in 20 minutes.

The start goes and we are all off to the first turnpoint, some guys have a hard time there, including me and I had a very low point after Saucos. The conditions were so good that no one wanted to waste time. After recovering, things are wild and almost no time to let go of the speed bar. Looks like some pilots are in a big hurry. It all looks like a textbook, every cloud has a monstrous thermal that pulls you up in the sky.

On the second turnpoint, La Pila, the sky has less cloud and the leading group got separated. I chose to fly on the farther south side an option which fewer pilots took. It worked very well for us. At B33 the two groups met and we had only a slight disadvantage.

Then we went back the same way. Around 27 kilometers, all the time on a good climb or on speed bar. I wanted to start eating my lollypop as a sweet reward but couldn’t find the time…finally I got it on my flight deck and had to be careful not to choke on the big ball of candy.

We end up taking B27 and head for Tres Reyes with a little group. Some guys manage to get better transitions and we have to accept that we will not win the task. The advantage held by the guys in front is set. Anyway we are still enjoying this fantastic day and race among the small gaggle, everyone pushing and getting closer to the speed section. As soon as we can make it we all go for it. When the race was over we still had to fly 10 kilometers and take two more turnpoints, many of us had to climb in really weak thermals to be able to finish the task and land in goal.

Landing in Valle is so rewarding, that it is a shame when you can't. At the landing for some reason there is always some one that will bring you a beer.

Tomorrow will be the last day of this superfinal, and the weather looks like today. So I will go for some “tacos al pastor y una michelada” and probably a couple of mescals for a good sleep!


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