2015 Paragliding World Cup - Bir Billing, India — Task 3

Torsten Siegel reports on another exciting day's racing in Bir Billing...

"An exciting start and finish today! 20 minutes before the start we had a quite comfortable position but then a few pilots decided to follow the ridge and get closer to the start and the following turnpoint, which was in the middle of the valley. The drawback was some very weak thermals and only a few pilots, including me, decided to go there while the rest of the field chose the comfortable position near the take-off where the cloudbase was higher and the thermals stronger. As the race started, it was more than exciting to watch 100 pilots beside us and see how it worked. And it worked well! Back to the ridge, we came up higher than the rest and could lead the field until the “Big Face”, a challenging section where a few of us chose the line close to the cliff—definitely a bad decision. Then 2 thermals that stopped to work in the middle of nowhere meant that 100 pilots were suddenly in front of you.

Disappointed about the unfairness of the world and with anger in my mind, we started to catch up. Now the route was filled with pilots and after another turn point in the flats it was just racing along the huge ridge. Through this it was visible where the better thermals are or where you can just fly with speed close to the cliff. For sure the leaders did the same (and luckily we had Aaron there) and at the end me, Idris, and Michael Küffer lost about 5 minutes to the day's winner Julien Wirtz.

Racing most of the time behind the leading group didn’t allow us to see anything from the landscape. We passed the monastery of Dalia Lama and a breathtaking landscape with deep valley – but we didn’t recognize it. But then, at the final glide, a huge vulture decided to fly close to me (a little bit to close from my point of view), checked the complete canopy, came beside again and looked over to me (guess he thought: “What the hell are you doing there?”). Once this happened I was aware again what incredible sport we’re doing and that 5 minutes late is a real luxury problem!

Aaron flew very well again and the icing on the cake today was the team victory for the GIN team. As a result, we’re also leading in the overall team ranking and we’ll try our best to keep this position until the end!

We’ll see what the next 2 days bring.


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