Sunday 19 June: heading north
Well, we’re about to leave for Grenoble, finally. “Handing over” to our team of very kind friends who have taken on the children for the week. No small task, and I’m very grateful to them all.
The car is just about packed. I’m still remembering those last-minute things I ought to have thought about a long time ago, like that the tent needs mending. Oops. Gaffer tape duly added to the pile.
I’d hoped to have felt fully prepared by this moment: To have studied the maps in depth, the routes other pilots have flown from all of the sites on way. Actually I’d hoped to have spent a few days reccying the sites, but there wasn’t time for that in the end. I have marked the route and the airspace onto the maps, and done some XC Trainer training.
Having walked a little route with it, I now understand how it tells me where the turnpoint is. I already knew it did that, but couldn’t understand what it was saying, and don’t really fly in competitions very often. The last time I did, two years ago in the Ozone Chabre Open, I blew my score and the possibility of getting to goal by aimlessly wandering about a section of sky, burning height, in the vicinity of a turnpoint, desperately trying to work out exactly where it was! Hopefully that won’t happen again.
The device then deleted my flight when I tried to turn it off. Marvellous. You have to press two buttons together, and one of them is a bit worn out, so I have a special new way of turning it off that I’ll have to remember in the comp, in order to avoid disaster!
So, I’m not very prepared, and I’m going to miss the kids. But I’m excited! Looking forward to just having a go. My game-plan is to try not to worry about what everyone else is doing and whether I’m last or not, and to try to complete the course in the six days.
The forecast is mixed, with three stormy days looming after one good one, so I know there will be quite a bit of walking. That could be a good thing, competition-wise for me, maybe. (I know, I might not say that a few hours into it). Some of the other competitors have already flown really long flights along the course, and are top pilots on comp wings; I’m not, and the only part of the course I “know” is around Lac d’Annecy! I’ve stood on the North takeoff of St Hilaire before, at the Coupe Icare, and walked up to the Col des Fretes last summer with my Swift when we were in Annecy, for a lovely fly off. And that’s about it.
Now we have five-and-a-half hours in the car to try and get into the “zone”.