Friday, May 31, 2013

2013 Dunlap Nationals

Its second time Dunlap, CA host the USA PG National Championship. However with questionable organizer I was one of many struggling with decision to go or not to go. Alternative comp was Rat Race. Dunlap advantages it was cheaper $375 versus $495 and closer only 4 hours drive versus 12, but it was unclear until 1 week before the comp who will participate. It was only 31 pilots for nationals, which is shame, but all major players was there Josh, Eric, Dean, Arnie, so I join them as well. Second question after participants is weather. You don't want to take vacation and sit whole week in rain and Dunlap did not disappointed 7 out of 7 flyable days. Here is analyze of my performance day by day:

Task 1. 49917 (3K exit)->OROSI->JESSE(5K)->LONNIE 58 km.
Good start, flying via Bald Mt. and normal route, but a bit slower then necessary. I struggled at OROSI turn point tagging it low and drifting back to the mountains. Some pilots went over flats, but result mostly depended on timing and if you was late thermals was weak and head wind was strong, so I landed one ridge behind 63LZ with Mitch and Bill. 40 km out of 58 and 11th place, 504 points for the day.

Task 2. 49917 (3K exit)->OROSI (13K)->PORAPT 81 km
After first task mostly by myself I decided to try to stay with lead gaggle no matter which route they took. Sure enough they choose shortest route via GRNY and Drum valley. Performance of Ozone M4 is not even close to modern 2-liners such as Niviuk IP6 or Boom 9 and after each glide I was lower and lower, but at least I made it to highway 245 over no man lands. 1 hour struggle to get high did not work out and I have to land. 24 km out of 81 and 21th place, 185 points for the day.

Task 3. DNLNCH (2K exit)->LONNIE(2K)->WDLKAP 48 km
Weather was not great, so short task to Woodlake was called. After gliding with lead gaggle to ranger station I  realized that landing is imminent if I continue, so I turn around and fly back toward 49917 utilizing any zero sink and bubbles eventually climbing back to 6K and follow second gaggle to Bold Mt. Many top pilots from the lead gaggle landed including Dean, Brett and Nicole. Rest of the flight was uneventful landing in goal at 2:56 just 30 minutes past Kansas who was first in goal. I was 7th with 671 points for the day.

Task 4. DNLNCH (1K exit)->ORANGE (1K)->CUTLER (1K)->WDLKAP 55 km
It was windy post frontal day with nice clouds in the beginning but once again GRNY route was challenging. Could not making it and fly back down wind toward Dan's LZ climbing back to 6K or so. Another attempt this time successful but still can't go anywhere so bailed back to NONAME waypoint with decent climb back there. 3rd attempt was not any different with few pilots landing at AIRSTRIP I don't want to wait for retrieve and flew back toward community center. 5 km out of 54 and only 2 pilots in goal. 14th place, 131 points for the day.

Task 5. DELILA (4K exit)->BALDMT->EXA10A->PORAPT 90 km
I was flying with lead gaggle until Tucker Mt. where they had just enough altitude and I can't make it round the top. It took me probably 20 min. to ridge soar and wait for decent thermal before I can get up and continue. Never the less I escapade and continue arriving at goal just 1 hour later than winner Brad Gunnuscio. Great day with cloud streets I can easily continue with another 30-40 km to finish the day, but don't want to mess with retrieve. 11th place, 596 points for the day.

Task 6. DNLNCH (3K exit)->OROSI(15K)->PK-APT 130 km
Longest task desperate marginal conditions with top of lift only 5-6K at best. I was so tired I had no patience at all landing just after Woodlake. Arnie took the same route via Bald Mt. and was only 5 km short of goal, so I can join him after we met at Tucker Mt., instead of flying by myself. Lead gaggle was flying mostly over the flats with 4 pilots in goal. I landed at the same field with Nicole and retrieve was there even before I packed my gear. 12th place, 316 points for the day.

Task 7. 49917 (3k exit)->DOLVES(1K)->SNDCRK (2K)->LONNIE 56  km
Eric was selling his IP6 so I took opportunity to test fly 2-liner. What a blast. It was so easy to stay with lead gaggle. I also had a chance to recover from 70% asymmetric collapse and it was much more dynamic then M4 or Venus with surge >90 degrees. Anyway conclusion is you must fly 2 liner if you want to win, there is no point to fly old EN D in the comps, but for hardcore XC such as Owens it may be too much especially down low. 5th place and 881 points for the day, arriving just 15 minutes behind Arnie who won the day.

Here is overall results, I managed to be number 10 out if 31, which is not bad considering quality of participants: