Monday - June 20, 2005
OVSS #3 - MVSA
There are just too many soaring events this month. TK already told me he can't get away for the OVSS #3 weekend in St. Louis, and I completely understand. We have been to Ft. Wayne, IN. and Montecello, IL. in the past two weekends, and to take another away weekend road trip is pushing the limits. We have been pushing very hard at work too, I have not been sleeping much. Getting away, concentrating on competing, and doing well has been keeping me energized during the weeks, I guess it's an intense balance. I have two good OVSS contests in the bag, and I really can't afford to miss a contest this close to home. Close being a relative term, it's about a 4 hour drive.
I accomplished a lot during the week, Friday was upon me, so why not, I'll go for it. I loaded up Rae's Explorer which is the newer of the two that we own, figuring it would be the best for a road trip like this. It's been a while since I have took a road trip by myself, I had a lot of time to think and unwind the week on my drive down to St. Louis that night. I found my hotel, checked in and got a good nights sleep.
Flyin' Brian in the zone at OVSS #3
Flyin' Brian was in and wandering down the pits telling everyone that would listen that all he had was his AVA, just an RES ship against all our unlimited hardware. I keep reminding him that I understand age, wisdom and treachery will over come youth and enthusiasm, especially on the soaring field and I would have my eyes on him.
That's my green and magenta ICON lite in the forground, MVSA pits.
What a contest day. The MVSA club did a fantastic job running the seeded MoM format for their first time. We flew off the Emerald sod farms, a beautiful place to soar from. The air was light and cycling in irregular patterns, it was separating the scores in rapid fashion. Flyin' Brian was just playing poke and float, nose into the wind, while we all chased thermals. I left one out late in the contest which ended my day, didn't make it back to the field. Brian always seemed to have altitude with that AVA, I have to admit it got a bit frustrating at times. I was really having to work hard tracking thermals, but I was learning this field rapidly. Brian beat us all on Saturday, by a lot of points. I will always remember the leap and scream of Brian's wife on the last landing of the day, it was wonderful. They knew they had it right then, it was cool to see that.
Butch kept an eye on me while I was feeling ill at the field
I went out to a great BBQ shack Sat. night with a group of pilots and ended the day in style, or so I thought. I woke up in the middle of the night completely sick and never got anymore sleep. I made it out to the field, a red light appeared the dash as I drove on in the sod farm and I felt like a wreck. I would have to remember to check that light later. I built my model and laid down under Johnny's tent. He laughed and asked if I had too much to drink last night. I told him no, I was sick and Johnny being the friendly guy he is got me some Asprin for my head ache. Johnny's dog Butch curled down next to me and we napped until the pilots meeting. I think Butch could sense I was not well, he was hanging around me. I really didn't know how I was going to get through this day, my head was pounding and I had very little energy.
It was windier today, the Flyin' Brian was going to have his hands full with that AVA. Those ten minute task times were the only peace I had all day. No time to think about being sick, that ten minutes of contest time is pure, focused decision making, and today if you chose unwisely you got spanked hard. Jim Frickey and I dueled all day long, we had some nice conversations during our flights as we specked out and left the pack behind several times. Cool thing was, we were doing in mostly in our own air on different ends of the field. I think it split the flight group several times in spectacular fashion, although I am sure Jim was not intending that to happen, I wasn't. The wind kept picking up, and the landing zone was very turbulent, we were driving them in hard on the turf.
Marty felt the pain of a high speed landing in the turbulent wind. Yes, that was an ICON wing.
I had made it into the money round on Sunday sick as a dog, but also top dog on the leader board. In some ways I don't like that position, because it can make one fly defensive. We all specked out in a spectacular thermal which just let us think about how important the upcoming landing was going to be. That's all that my timer Steve Meyer was telling me, "It's a landing contest now, dude."
Richard Burnoski, the current OVSS champion nails a hunski line landing.
So we are all on approach, and Meyer is giving me the countdown and telling me guys are getting pounded and landing short. I adjust my speed and the turbulence is incredible. The model is shifting several feet in altitude rapidly in the gusts, Meyer's countdown fades away as I concentrate on just making the landing tape. My ICON races over the tape and I spike it in, I'll take that. I turn to my left and watch Frickey make his approach which looked much like mine, the plane jumping all over the place and Jim expertly making a nice landing. We shook each others hands, that was one heck of a contest that was going to be separated by a few inches on a landing tape in that last round.
It ends up that Jim Frickey had the better landing, he flew an excellent contest. I rarely get to fly with the gentleman, it is always good. Considering the condition I was in, 2nd place wasn't bad. It's a shame to be that close to a win and not capture it though.
So we pack up, and a number of the guys from the SOAR club decide to caravan it home to Chicago. That sounded great to me, we used the walkie talkies to communicate car to car, and that would keep me going on the way. We also planned on stopping for a big steak dinner. About 15 minutes down the road the temp. light comes on in the Explorer, so I turn off the A/C and the temp. goes down a bit, the light goes off, but I am baking in the car. (It was over 100 on the field today). Another 15 minutes and the temp. rises again so I turn on the heat! I am really baking in the car, my shirt is soaked with sweat, I am even more sick than before, but the temp. goes down on the engine and we keep going down the road. Finally I tell the guys over the radio I can't take the heat anymore and lets stop for that steak dinner, and then look at my car. We all agreed and had a big dinner, man it was nice to get inside in some air conditioning and get some food.
After dinner my car had cooled down and we all had a look at it. Luckily I was traveling with a bunch of guys who know cars, but we couldn't see anything obvious so we headed out. We didn't get but a few miles down the road and my car was going to over heat for sure so we pulled along the highway. It wasn't the safest place to be but my friends stuck with me, we let it cool down and then struck off for the next exit. We made it on the verge of over heating again but we got off the highway, unfortunately in farmland USA with nothing at this exit but a small road. We all decided the thermostat had crapped out so I back tracked with Robin Meek to last exit we were at, and went looking for anything we could at a Walmart that was there to fix the problem. We couldn't find a thermostat, but we got the parts we needed to bypass it. So we got back to my car, and Pat Crosby, Karl Miller and Ben Roberto had already got a good start on disassembling the parts to get to the hoses. In short order we had the thermostat out and the car rigged to flow coolant in an unrestricted fashion. We got back on the road and I hoped for the best. The temp. shot up again and the light went on. I told the guys on the radio that I was going to have to get off at the next exit and find a hotel and get it fixed on Monday, and I didn't want to hold them up any longer. They agreed and said they would follow to make sure I could get the car somewhere safe. Not a minute after that was said the temperature started cooling rapidly and I radioed back to keep going down the road, the car was cooling off. The temperature returned to a normal level but I still never turned the A/C back on, I just wanted to get it home. We all stayed in the caravan all the way home and talked on the radio, it's great to have friends like that, I could have really been stuck out there.
That was the hard way to get OVSS points, but I got another keeper... three contests without a drop and I am now in the lead for the series.
I got home, unpacked Rae's truck and went directly to bed. Next week was going to be more busy than last, but I will be ready for it.
Here is a photo gallery of some of the better shots I took over the weekend.