PWC Superfinal 2011, Valle de Bravo. Day 11. Task 9. Final!
Paragliding World Cup Superfinal 2011 finished today in Valle de Bravo, Mexico.
Swiss pilot Peter Neuenschwander won both Task 9 and the Superfinal and became Paragliding World Cup Champion 2011. Congratulations to Peter!
Jean-marc Caron from France took second place and Dušan Orož from Slovenia is third.
Left to right: Dušan Orož, Peter Neuenschwander, Jean-marc Caron
Petra Slivova from Czech Republic won superfinall in womens category and kept her Paragliding World Cup Womens Champion 2011. Congratulations to Petra, you did amazingly well during whole competition!
Second woman is Seiko Fukuoka from France and Regula Strasser from Switzerland is third.
Left to right: Regula Strasser, Petra Slivova, Seiko Fukuoka
Winning nation for this competition is France. See complete results here.Next Paragliding World Cup event will be held from March 17th till 24th in Castelo, Brazil.
Let me start off by saying: GOAL!
The final task of the SF and it was a medium-sized 76km from La Pila to Mesa-D, back across the mesa to Laguna (out by Divis) and then the lake.
Cloudbase over on the Wall was already 3700m and it wasn't even noon yet; a good day shaping up! Those of us who launched early had a really fun time playing around the edges of the clouds with no crowds to worry about.
Heading to Mesa-D
Of course that all ended when everyone else joined in and then it was the giant merry go round until the start. A perfect thermal right over La Pila and then it was time to head to Mesa-D. This is partway to the Monarca ridge and there are multiple ways to get there: I saw many pilots heading straight down the middle of the mesa and the shade but I didn't want to get shaded out. So myself and several other pilots diverted to the Wall where we ran the sun/clouds to the Penon and then dove over the back as well.
This was taking me to the dreaded Sacamacate area and I was determined not to make the same mistake as yesterday, so I took it slow and tried to stay at cloudbase as much as possible. Many pilots had raced ahead, low, and were now stuck in the shade and the wind between Mesa-D and Sacamacate.
I was getting low(er) after tagging Mesa-D and was not keen to repeat my performance of yesterday, so when the other 2 gliders I was with decided to head to Sacamacate low and try their luck there, I said no way and instead turned back to the sun where I could see a glider climbing and beamed out again. So unlike yesterday I was able to fly over Sacamacate and see that I was gonna make the Wall and Salvation!!!
With the hardest part of the course behind me I was able to relax and cruise along to Laguna on the NW side of the Maguey-Divis ridge. A couple of hang gliders showed me the way and then I had to figure out when I had enough height to cross the lake, tag the La Pena ESS, and then tag Torre, all on one giant glide, since from that direction you are unlikely to get additional lift once leaving the mesa. When I knew I was gonna make it and my instruments agreed it was time to leave the safety of the lift and head over the water. The good thing about the Torre 400m, if you arrive too low to tag it the first time around, you can ridge soar your way up until getting it, and with the ESS already behind you, you can take all day to this and not get penalized.
The goal field was quite crowded but there was still a tiny space left over for the late-comers :) My first goal of this comp and it only took 2 weeks to get it right! And it was great to finally see what a SF goalfield full of pilots looked like complete with music, refreshments, cameras, crowds of people, and even a couple of BASE jumpers (is a tandem considered a "BASE"?).
I know today's task was not "big" like previous ones, but I still feel pretty happy about finally getting to goal at least once during my first SF. And it's a nice way to finish off the comp: on a positive note with a great last Valle flight under my belt. Now it's time to pack up the glider and head back to Canada, but not before one last party in Valle!
So that's the end of my first SF. It was truly a privilege to fly against the best in the world and I learned tonnes about efficient flying, various transition strategies, and general decision-making. But I've had enough PG for now; in my 4 weeks in Mexico I racked up over 62 hours of airtime and 1050km of XC. I'm pooped!
Video from Philippe Broers from prize giving ceremony: