Above: Cars streaming in for Santana concert tonight at Red Rocks
The weather had been setting up for the best flying conditions in a couple years and I’d hoped to launch early and try making a huge out and return. Unfortunately, I got hung up at Sniagrab, then had to drive across town to borrow a winglet for the Atos(Thanks Fred), and to ice the cake, had my zipper blow out. The BIG flight just wasn’t in the cards today.
I’d already climbed up to 9,000ft when the zipper popped open and with shorts it was as cold as a witches who-ha in a glass bra. Thank goodness there were top-landable conditions so I fixed the dad-gum zipper and got back in the air without too much lost.
Mark Denzel (PG) made it 20 miles south to Roxborough by noon! I re-launched at 3:15pm and resolved to head upwind to Boulder and then to Morrison.
Above: Getting up again after some struggles.
Once over Coal Creek I struggled low in an 8-11mph NE wind for a while. I’d been pushing upwind in a significant blue hole and the air felt more and more subsident so opted to call it a success and turn back to Golden. Continuing into the headwind low would put me in air coming from less likely thermal generating territory (heavily tree’d up wind), less favorable ridge facing direction for wind deflection up, and the rising ground to the N meant NE wind coming downhill would be a little extra sinky. 2 out of 3 upwind trips this direction have skunked me this way.
The westerly winds were shearing against the NE wind at 10.5kft and above it felt weird to drift East for a change. Cloudbase looked to be 16kft and still seemed to indicate convergence activity near Lookout and I-70 off and on.
I came into widespread lift over I-70 and even though I was shaking from the cold I had to tank up to 11k. The rest was gliding like superman to Morrison, watching 4 different drag races at Bandimere (one was a photo-finish), and then oggling over the late day sun lighting up Red Rocks as folks trickled in for Santana. Clouds shaded everything back at Lookout. I worked down to warm up and milled around with the late round of PG’s while watching for more southy toplanding conditions. Buzzing the RC guys made a satisfying end to a beaut of a flying day.
Soaring forecast models always fall short around frontal activity as someone said it looked dismal for today. Maybe they can develop another module or variable in their model to reconcile cold-front-ground-heat activity. I’m sure it’ll happen some day but till then it’s a soaring pilots’ secret I reckon.
Above: Brandon D. flyby.
Below: Circling with Steve who’d been exploring lift lines upwind.
My Falcon 2 Tandem is due to arrive Tuesday! Lookin forward to playin with it and getting ready for a Jackson Hole trip to get my Tandem1 rating with Bart and Tiki!
Airtime: 3 hrs
Flight tracklog: http://www.paraglidingforum.com/leonardo/flight/502216