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Viva La Mexico!

PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2006 10:18 am
by Sharon
Viva La Mexico!

I went to the Eagle paragliding immersion week at Valle De Bravo with Robb Sporrer and his merry band of men. Santa Barbara was well represented by Magic Mike, JD, Marty, Robb, Kevin, Dave Bader, Casey and Riss (he’s local, he just doesn’t know it yet). It was great to meet new people as well. I’ve heard a lot about the place over the years but it was beyond all my expectations. Seventeen of us were out of the house by 8:30 AM every day and didn’t get back till 12 hours later. You could fly all day if you dared and most of us flew twice. We had some variation in weather but mostly we experienced high pressure, blue skies and warm sun.

Launch is at 7400 and we were getting from 9 to 11 most days. The air could be significantly rougher as the day progressed. Marty and Robb cautioned us about landing in certain spots after 1:00PM because of the strength of the winds and the thermals. It’s a big air site complete with a rock wall called the Pinon like the one in GV. There are wonderful names for places to go to like the “Crazy Thermal Place”, the Wall, the Three Kings and the Sack of Potatoes. There’s a lot to explore.

There’s a ridge site in town with a landing near the lake. Late one afternoon Marty took me for a jaunt and we did some crazy spirals over the water and we were the last to land for the evening just in time to join the party at the LZ. Pete got it all on tape in between sipping the margaritas.

Valle de Bravo attracts many pilots from all over the world. The launch was full with pilots with a variety of skills. The lines to launch were 2 and 3 deep. The launch allows for three pilots to set up at once.

One afternoon I set up next to Dave Prentise’s girl friend. She ended up in the air flying the opposite way off launch. Luckily her glider ran into a tree on the backside of the launch and she wrapped herself around a trunk. All was well a few hours later. I decided to wait a while till the winds died down to launch.

At one point I counted 78 gliders in the air in a gaggle area. We thought there were up to 120 people launching during the morning window. The congestion got really bad one morning because the air didn’t turn on enough for pilots to start going cross country. But people kept launching. So, we all joined in and worked on our gaggle skills. We were turning our necks and heads constantly on the look out for pilots everywhere. Looking back and low was a challenge. Casey and I gaggled together and flew pretty close at one point. Some gaggles were smooth with everyone in a great rhythm. Other times some random pilot would break right through the middle not even knowing they were trouble. Sometimes pilots would get greedy because they were so happy to find a special thermal.

It was a challenge to take in a new site, fly with so many pilots, try out a new wing and check out the air all at the same time. They’re flying the competition this week but Robb still has some spots for next week I think. Give him a call if you’re interested. It’s well worth it!