piatok 28. októbra 2016

X-Pyr Day 6-7 /EN/

...or how the drudgery finished!

Sixth morning… and it looks like all the previous mornings, broken, tired, looking like a ghost. It’s still dark when I’m setting off, as today a lengthy walk, without any bright prospects of flying, lies ahead of me. I’m literary ruining my body along the asphalt until I meet Jessie, who caught up with me.

We walk to the saddle during the whole morning; sometimes it’s raining cats and dogs, sometimes it’s just drizzling. At least we use the time to talk about our experience, where we’ve been and what we plan. For me it was a really interesting debate. Jessie is from Seattle and the mountains there are just round the corner of his house, so we also mentioned that maybe I would like to visit the US to try the conditions there as I’m fascinated by the diverse and vast nature… And to fly it with a wing… hell yeah! That would be something.

We both are dreamers with similar ideas and goals. What’s more Jessie’s support, Mr Cibulka, specifically his family name, sounded somehow familiar to me; he must come from somewhere here (I mean Slovakia or Czech Rep.). And as I learn, this guy was the support of X-Apls athlete Honza Rejmanek. The world is really small!!

After few hours and sixteen kilometres of walking we reach the saddle at 2,000 m. Few kilometres to the west we can see a nice “puffed” cloud and it must be really photogenic, as there’s one flash of light after another. We run, together with Jessie, from the saddle on the hill. Every second is crucial, I would say.

I have never experienced such a flash unpacking, and it would be worth it to time it. In 20 seconds, for sure, Avaxiáš is above my head and let’s go into the air. In front of me there are clouds, I soared few meters and jumped over backwards, and Jessie takes off, as well. We fly next to the slope, below us there are high voltage power lines. I don’t have my glasses and it started to rain, I can see a big bullshit, since all the water pours into my unprotected eyes. I feel like in a wild river, with groundspeed around 60-80 km/h.

We fly down the valley like missiles, now and then I’m taken a bit up at a turn, what makes me happy but worried as well. Behind me there’s that cloud and I really don’t want to be sucked into it. So I fly rather full speed, so that the others “can’t laugh at me”. I land just before the rain changes to a downpour, and when I say downpour, I mean a real one. Happy as a clam I pack the wing and I’m glad that I’ve flown 1,200 m of elevation and 13 km in five minutes. I’m happy also because everything went good and nothing bad happened, this is called pure luck. Since thirty seconds after we took off it started to hail, and to be honest, flying in hailstorm is something I haven’t managed yet :D

Next few hours, as Jessie said, can be described as sharing our misery on an asphalt road. Finally we split, unplanned, and there the party starts. I’m in such a narrow valley that my GPs doesn’t want to work, the trail gets lost somewhere in the overgrown gardens and steep hill, there’s another storm chasing me, and I’m tired.
I decided to climb a 2,500 m high mountain (1,800 m of climbing ahead of me!), from where it would be possible to fly tomorrow. I managed to climb to 1,800 m AMSL and I’m done, knees are fucked, soles are swollen and just to make it more interesting also the eyes had hard times. In the morning I look like an old toper, swollen face, purulent eyes (result of the bombing water in storm without glasses and overall exhaustion).
Walked approx. 32 km, climbed 3,000 m, flown 13 km.

..ou shit...who is this?

And there we go! The last day! I don’t know whether I should be happy nor not… I want to fly! In the morning the clouds are 500 m below the mountain, and it’s blowing like hell. In fact, I wouldn’t mind the wind, but the clouds are in unknown terrain and that’s not worth it. The overall exhaustion can be seen also in the decision making. I can think neither critically nor constructively. Support is catching up on their sleep and I wait at those 2,200 m until 11, then the clouds start to drop even lower and so I decided to descend on foot as there’s no chance to catch up with the guys ahead of me. Moreover, there’s the crucial jump, which I won’t probably manage with headwind. The walk through the wild national park is breathtaking, nothing hurts, as my head is so tired that is eliminates perception that dulls it. Maybe the headache is again from thirsty...thirsty which felt by Odin in halfway to Valhalla! :D 
Typical Spanish-Xpyr-competition day...thirsty and heat :D

Maybe it even saved me from making some bullshits. Since Jessie landed in trees on his reserve in strong wind… just for illustration :D

In the evening I want to fly down from a saddle but the take off is shitty, it blows like from mammut ass and in the wrong direction and the landing spots are already in the forbidden area. All the others are 40-50 km behind me as the crows fly and grounded… therefore end, ende, schluss! Terminal station! Ragnarok is over.

The feeling of liberation from the misery, continual starving and fatigue. But it was super cool, engrossing and strengthening. Team spirit supported by shared misery was born. Many new friendships forged in tough conditions were born. Many new experiences, which moved at least me to a completely new mental as well as physical level, were born. Because it was not only once, when I realised how close I was to killing myself.

...you know...i must fly!

I thank you all, you, who helped me somehow, and there are loads of you! Tandem passengers, sponsors, family, friends, those giving me lift when hitch-hiking, my team. Zajo helped me most, giving me a bunch of equipment that I tested, for example the new MERINO in which I sweated maybe hectolitres. I want to thank Gradient for a wing which hasn’t let me down in difficult and even impossible weather conditions and thanks to my brother, who designed it. Thanks a lot Avax! I want to thank Skybean for helping me with their superb devices, cameras and enthusiasm.

I want to thank all my readers, who felt like reading this entire staff and being in the shoes of a shy straw-haired Ďuro from Kremnica, who decided to try it and “fight” against blokes from all over the world.

In Port de la Selva we find out that among the best and also not so good competitors, i mean myself, we ended up on sixth place!
It’s said that we also deserved some kind of admiration for our brave feats, mainly for the flights which seemed reckless, but in fact they were all well thought-out

Especially my big thanks to: Inigo, for great idea to make X-pyr, to choose me after all that all annyoning messages I write to him and for great organization. 
My support team: Marek and Jakub and all on the net faraway there, to help me, to cook me, to wash my clothes and spend time there, in those faraway Hispanic-Gauls lands.  Zuzana for this great translation, which bring my word across the globe :D. Competitors which share their knowledge, humour and time with us.


streda 26. októbra 2016


XPyr Day 5 or how the Pyrenees divide the world in two

Once again, in the moonshine and absent-minded, shivering because of exhaustion, I’m marching. Right in front of me I can see Pena Montanesa, whose summit is 1,600 m higher than I am right now.
Few comments to our situation: yesterday, with the last effort, we reached the right side of the river, just under the hill. The weather today should allow at least a little bit of flying, so my only option how to escape is to fly regardless the conditions. Tomorrow the conditions will be 100% unflyable. Jessie (USA) is not far ahead of us, behind us there are Zlatko (SLO) and Giuseppe (ITA), but they have to reach the TP from north, as they used a shortcut that I mentioned in the previous part of the Pyrenees tales. Although their distance to the TP was shorter “as the crows fly”, the trail they have to use is overgrown by dwarf pines and some other staff and the inability to take off probably makes their morning not very nice. Their only option is to go around the whole mountain and go along the same trail as I’m going now. The problem is that in the afternoon it will probably be overcast and also some thunderstorms are forecasted, so they probably won’t manage that.

But let’s go back to the point, I don’t know why, but this morning cold and dew after the yesterday’s downpour, I feel really light and somehow enjoy the walking. I don’t even feel all the aches and pains that my “chassis” sends, any more. Because you know, pain is just a kind of information, and as we’ve seen recently the information can be sometimes wrong or confusing. So better not to believe anyone and anything… nothing hurts me, and although it can be misleading, I like it.
The trail up the mountain is beautiful; I struggle through the bushes and skitter along the rocks. For breakfast I have the already mentioned evergreen from yesterday sitting on the last piece of asphalt road with the view of that rock. It’s hard to believe that I could manage it, but let’s give it a try.

Smartly lead trail goes around all the rocks, which hide it when you look at it from below. After couple of hours I reach the first plateau, grassy and sloping. Altitude is something around 1,800 – 1,900 m AMSL. The problem is the wind, it’s blowing from east and the east wind doesn’t usually bring any good.

Thus I have to continue in climbing the mountain because such cross wind would wash me down the rocks. Easier said and even much easier written, but you can bet your ass that it wasn’t that easy. It was only 300 m, but slope steep like hell and of course full of pure rocks like a rocky field waiting for Juraj to slip. Sometimes they are cover with strange mutated giant moss. The trekking poles help just a little, an ice axe would be nice :D

Knowing that in these conditions with cross wind I will barely take off makes me feel even happier. I reach the summit hopelessly and see the damn limestone razor blades peering at me from the grass. I walk for a long time like the protesters in front of the barricades, all useless and without success. Eventually, I do it like this. I unpack Avax on the unfortunate rocks, tighten the lines as much as possible so they don’t get stuck and wait for a blow.
When it comes, I pull gently the A-lines, with my ass clenched as I’m scared not to tear anything and I jump in. Avax is right above my head and cuts the Hispanic air cheerfully.

Straight away there’s a tiny thermal so I climb as much as I can. Funny is that it’s blowing from NE, what is actually the already mentioned east wind. I fly together with some vultures, sometimes I climb a bit until there’s the first jump. I have maybe 2,200 – 2,300 m altitude and let’s go. I finish at maybe 1,900 and I’m literary planing a ridge which is being blown by a valley wind. I plane it so much that I eventually land. Damn it. And if it’s not enough the thermal was not above the ridge but in the valley where I land. And my calculations went wrong, so instead of landing on a meadow I end up in junipers, good enough for catching the lines. Half-an-hour is enough to entangle all the lines and I’m swearing blind what an idiot am I. I will have to climb back up the mountain. No signal, Livetrack doesn’t work for sure. No trail, just junipers, rocks and trees. Scratched all over my body I go on up the mountain… full of doubts but full of determination as well. Doubts are caused by the lack of time as I see clouds coming from west, next, there’ll be problems with the take off and, as usually, with water. However, the biggest challenge is the take off, since the whole 2,700 m high mountain is covered with gravel, which starts as soon as there are no more trees at maybe 2,000 m and what’s more, the slope is getting so steep that it’s almost impossible. Each step means half a step of slip backwards. I have 3 decilitres of water and sun is shining (the weather is sweet :D just joking there’s nothing sweet there yet). I’m angry as a bull a therefore the time passes fast. Finally, I take off from a small rock into a blow, praying for not to meet a thermal straight away… as I’m at only 2,100 m, and it seems too low to me (only 100 m over the tree line and damn below the summit at 2,700), but I wasn’t able to climb and take off higher because of the steep slope and gravel all around me.

I have no idea how I deserved that but Aiolos helped me. Straight away I’m taken, together with an eagle, by a thermal broken like my knees. I’m turning, and turning and climbing and enjoying the flight… I will make it over the ridge for sure!
In brief: I climbed just below the cloud base, tried to climb over each ridge and hurried with tail wind until I reached the break point which is the high mountains in the back. Pic du Maupas seems to be the best option for a jump. By the way, west of me there’s a cloud the size of a pig and is taking me up. The cloud base is at 2,800. The saddle I have to do is at 2,850. Bugger!

Fortunately, it opens up for a while, the cloud rises a bit and I, with my ass clenched (once again), fly over the saddle with 400 m, at the level of summit just next to it. What followed was just astonishing, mainly the view I had. There’s fog in France! Up to the ground! Awaxiáš is flying around me, or I should rather say that I’m flying around it; it shows me that, just by the way, I’m in a lee. I can already see the TP5, Ceciré. I make it and I’m trying to figure out what to do next. The wind is turning; I can’t land in the valley because of the fog, but I won’t climb any more. I’m landing in a steep slope at maybe 1,100 m.

I have to change the SIM card immediately, as there’s no other way to let my support know to follow me… finally they told me, it was 180 km. I find a stream and can get lost in the fog. I’m marching up the mountain which is 2,200 m high, hoping to fly down to the Spanish side, what will spare me a long way to walk. I’m hungry as a horse because I haven’t eaten anything since morning, I can’t walk any more as I managed to climb maybe 2,000 m of elevation difference and there’s still much ahead of me. And if it wasn’t enough the fog is climbing much faster than me. Bugger, damn it! I must, must, must make it. But it’s not that easy. There’s no trail leading up the mountain, it’s way too steep, the grass is high, it sprains my ankles. There’s just one word to describe it: IDEAL!

When I imagine that after all this struggle, if I run out of water again and I will have no energy to go on one meter or one minute more, I find out that it’s not flyable on the other side… then… I’d rather not think about that.
Last meters can be compared to clinical death, sweat is running down my face, I didn’t put on my gloves or used the skydrop, or camera or glasses. It blows like hell from west. So I throw it to 8 m/s lee with height around 1.5 m over the edge… yeah!
When I manage it all, I fly over the milky fog praying for a gap. I must have been a really good boy because there just one sidelong gap ahead of me, therefore I couldn’t see it from above. I go down through it, nice VFR, and I’m kicked by the valley wind. I fly like a missile, overtaking the cars below me. Wow, awesome! It blew me some 5 km more than I thought. As I’m landing in someone’s cabbage field, I have again some hard times because there are poplars just in front of me and aren’t doing any good. I jump over the fence like a thief and hurry to eat something. Sitting around, eating sausages, feeling happy as a clam… I managed it! I crossed the TP5 and returned as well.
With full stomach I walk down the valley, across the town of Vielha (just by the way, I see quite pretty girls for the very first time, or maybe we’ve already been here for too long?!) until I reach a camp in the village of Garós. I’m done!
Some numbers: walked 22 km, climbed on foot: 3,000 m! Flown: approx. 60 km
I lost my camera in the hurry somewhere in the mountains… :/ I have no idea where because all the memories are somehow blurred. It’s just, you know … I lost it in that rush all day long, struggling in bloody conditions and thinking about thousand other things whether navigation, planning, following the weather and my own knees, water any man others…
And when I’m writing this and looking at it backwards, it doesn’t seem that bad when I compare it to that actual day.

And to mention the others struggling around me: Zlatko and Giuseppe stayed south, made it just half way to the TP4, they took off but didn’t manage as much as I did, that is to land after a jump and take off again in better conditions behind TP4. They didn’t have a place to land. I’m pretty much ahead of them; tomorrow they will have to conquer that bloody mountains on foot in storms and rain. I managed to overtake even Jessie, just few km, but anyway, in the morning he was quite ahead of me. So now we’re fifth. 

štvrtok 20. októbra 2016


aka just an ordinary day walk on the asphalt road

At five, the alarm clock takes us out of our “beds”, and once again we look like ghosts. But as the proverb says “early bird catches the worm”, and when you have to deal with a wing, it’s usually true It’s not difficult to still sleep on Krížna (mountain in Slovakia) when it’s already 7 am and the guys didn’t sleep much as it was blowing in the valley once again, I reckon 10-15 m/s, and since we don’t have the best spots for tents, they have to have their tent built on concrete. Therefore no pegs, the guys both play the role of weights, and anyway, the wind was so strong that they were almost taken away and xpyrienced some flying as well 
In the village of Yésero, Marek joins me, supplied with water and some food, so together we rush up towards the summit, he’s of course much faster but at least he drives me. But it’s not only him… from west clouds are approaching, mainly middle clouds but it’s getting quite dark and quite fast, much faster than one would wish.
When we reach the ridge the situation is not what I hoped for. It’s blowing not from S,SW but rather from S, SE. Therefore I can’t soar the first beautiful part of the mountain, which would spare much of my power because I would fly with crosswind. So I continue to the summit, unpack quickly and fly. The slope supports me well enough, I fly maybe 4km. I pack the wing in a flash and run up the hill again, intentionally close to the forest because I forgot to take something against the rain, and it looks like it will start every minute. In 5 minutes I’m clamped against a pine trunk from the lee side and write few messages home. It’s good to be in touch with them after a while.
I managed to take off in the southern direction but I’m falling to the ground damn fast. It’s true that the Spanish land brims with beauty, the bushes are in bloom, the forests are nice and so on, but you know, I’d rather land in maybe six hours or so. I’m taken away by the valley wind a bit and I land in a village, pack my Avaxiáš sluggishly and have some pasta for breakfast while sitting in the car and listening to the rain clattering on the bonnet. Well, I wouldn’t want to be in Guissepe’s or Zlatko’s shoes, who decided to follow me. But since they were farther behind me they didn’t manage to do it in time and they’re now out in the rain on the ridge and they can be sure that they won’t be able to take off soon.

Under the bright moon providing some light, I walk sleepy and more tired than fresh after the night sleep, with bleeding nose, in the opposite direction to the original plan. I want to go towards a mountain that is more in the direction because it’s apparent that there won’t be much sun today and it will rain soon. 2,000-meter high, from maybe 1,700 m also grassy ridge looks promising and I hope that even today during a front I will be able fly at least something.

I didn’t have time to cool down and I go on, chased by another wave of rain, running to 2,000 m again. There’s a nice path made by cows and it has its benefits but mainly drawbacks. The benefit is that it’s straight and quite wide, but what is it for when my face is whipped by branches. Crouching like a German in a Verdun trench.

The summit is a bit shallow, and if it wasn’t enough, the wind has already turned to north. That’s not good because I have to head south, no matter what. The TP can be reached by two ways and I have no idea why, but I like the southern one more. Although it’s longer, it’s without serpentines and elevation.
Peňa Montalesa
I put on my raincoat by Zajo and let’s go tread the asphalt. I can’t say that my legs hurt that much because of mountain, but concrete or asphalt, that’s a killer. Knees, heels, toes, I can even feel stabbing in the middle of my sole… I walk really slowly. Even the trekking poles aren’t of much help to me as I wore out those rubber tips and although hitting the road with the hard metal tips relieves my knees, it kills my elbows and wrists.
Up to the town, which was built by the Romans, there is only a one-way road. I’m there at around five in the afternoon. A shortcut comes my way, but we didn’t think much ahead… we forgot to check the position of the bridge over troubled water that separates us from the TP Pena Montanesa. So I trudge along a dry and rocky riverbed and climb 200 m in vain just to find out that it was all useless. Few swear words blown by the wind and I run. I run because I’m so pissed off by the situation. Damn bridges! I run down to Aínsi, with knees completely fucked up as it was down the hill. Then run through the whole town, lost in the damn gravel. From the west a storm is approaching accompanied by dark so dark that Mordor together with Sauron and Mount Doom would be ashamed. I want to come as close as possible to the mountain because I need to get some good sleep for tomorrow’s flight. But, no, no! I can’t go any farther, I’m hungry, my legs hurt and it’s starting to rain. Just in the last minute I solve the situation with a random Spaniard, whom I met in the street, and I arrange “accommodation” on a sofa in his hall. He didn’t speak English, I didn’t speak Spanish, but we managed to solve it somehow. I take cold shower and at ten I’m dead to the world.

The plan for tomorrow is to start out as soon as possible towards the mountain that has elevation 1,600 m from my current position, and to be honest I don’t believe that it can be climbed without gear. Then it would be ideal to take off around twelve and my goal is to reach TP5, Ceciré, which is on the French side of Pyrenees. I have to fly over the main ridge no matter what because the forecast says that the next days won’t be flyable at all, and the idea of walking 2,700 m mountains made of pure rock, without a trail and hidden in storm clouds… I’d rather not do that, since it will be slow and maybe also a bit dangerous.

Walked: around 47 km, climbed: 2,600 m (?), flown maybe 12 km.



...or fly when the others are scared because of the weather…

Our camping site is so awesome that I’m now jealous of it. Next to a burbling icy cold brooklet with beautiful scenery of rocks taking my breath away and Marek is close to tears as he doesn’t have the gear with him and there’s no time for climbing. As I’m walking up the mountain, not really awake, I jump from rock to rock, catching up with a Spaniard breathing heavily like puffs from a steam locomotive. He can’t speak the imperialistic (English) language very well so the discussion isn’t wort a dime.

It’s a pity that it blows quite heavily trough the saddle I’m about the cross and reach the ridge… maybe too heavily. Well, saddle, morning… it’ll get better, I think naively…
But the saddle is like a gate into another world… plateau… and on the right and on the left I see rocky scenery and wind is pushing against me. On the rocks, just by the way, some vultures are sitting and croaking at one another. Now and then some of them get bored, take wings and soar to the eastern slope and at nine they climb not much of a thermal with the crosswind and disappear.
As I’m walking I’m looking for some water source… well, none, as usually and I have only one litre left and one and a half hour until the take off.

I have two options for the take off. The first one includes taking off from a rocky cliff with the wing in the lee and actually down the hill since the summit is vertical from the south and in falls immediately, although with the grassy part but full of sharp limestone razor blades perfect for cutting the wing lines. The other option is quite a nice but pretty steep meadow not far away, but it’s right above the ridge, which won’t do any good, I mean, once there will be a thermal from SW, then from SE, that’s not good. Since there’s plenty of time I unpack my staff, the trekking poles serve as a construction and my primaloft is hung between them and creates emergency shade. Because you know, besides water there’s nothing here, not even a bush, just rocks, stones, stones once again and few clumps of grass here and there. Why do I mention it that much? You know, I walked around like an idiot because it was always the same story. I saw a place bit farther that looked better than the one I just arrived at… few clumps of grass were hiding all the rocks from my view. So I made next ten steps and saw that it’s not much better. But, look, that spot seems to be better… so I walked and walked and all my hopes for a better spot for my Avax were in vain.

At half past eleven I unpack the wing but I’m not sure about that… those few clumps of grass are lying on the ground like nailed, the birds of prey are soaring at 1/3 the wing area and as soon as they spread their wings fully, they disapear somewhere behind the ridge… :D It’s simply blowing like from the asses of all thirty-seven Hannibal’s elephants that were passing by to Rome years ago, all at once… fortunately they are now six feet under but still kind of breathing too heavily. After few tries and few close encounters of the third kind with rocks, I manage to get the wing into the flight mode, and in the last moment it drops down like a stone. That wouldn’t have finished well, I mean, it would be way too bloody.

What to do next? It looks like my livetrack isn’t working; there’s almost no signal even for my phone so I gave it a thought. Finally, I decide to traverse approx. 1,800 m along the ridge in the right direction. Why? I don’t feel like walking down the valley to take some water and lose 1,000 m of altitude and right away climb 500 m up another ridge. So I’m breaking my legs walking along chamois trails, gravel, rocks and other comfy staff. I just watch my steps, as once I almost slipped on a gravel field and only then I noticed that the slope can be something like 45° steep and after two meters of gravel there’s a precipice steep like hell, so if I have really tried it, I would have finished like minced meat for sausages.

Well, never mind, I have to go on and concentrate more, not just walk. I reached a spot where the wind was not that bad, there’s even some grass, not only rocks, but what’s even better is that I’m hidden behind a ridge, which calms down the wind a bit, and the lower altitude is also an advantage. Of course I’m scared like hell; all my determination was consumed by the one-hour attempt to take off in 12 m/s. My heart sank with the thoughts: what if there is no chance with the headwind? Behind me, there are slopes, cliffs, precipices full of sharp rock, but the main thing is that I’ve never seen them before, only from satellite :D I can say for sure that I won’t be able to land, for sure not behind the main ridge… How it is blowing up there? I can only guess with certainty that is almost uncertain...there’s not even a single could, which could help me to figure out the speed and direction.
Not for the first time and not for the last I leave the ground with just one wish… Did I guess it correctly, didn’t I!?!

I’m taken upwards straight ahead like smoke through the chimney, taken by the thermal towards the bright blue sky. When I look at it now, I can say that it wasn’t that bad, sure, the thermals were strong, the wind as well, but nothing that couldn’t be managed somehow. You know, the determination or the general mental toughness is like any other muscle; it can get tired or exhausted. I climb a bit, try as hard as possible. While jumping over the first valley, besides thinking about that bullshit I’ve just made, I’m watching the narrow valley behind me full of trees and rocks. Good for me, I’m not about to land. On the next ridge I’m a bit braver and climb into maybe 2,700 – 2,800. I try as hard as possible to get to the next beautiful rocky ridge, the last one before the jump backwards into the mountains to get the TP3, Anayet. Two-and-half-thousand-meter-high mountain not far from Candachú. I climb a strong thermal along with a glider into maybe 3,500 and it disappears like a shot and I’m getting nailed down to the ground. Well… I flew over to another mountain from that altitude, climbed a bit… took a deep breath and let’s go with the wind backwards again. Groundspeed around 70 km/h. Great! The thermal right before the TP makes LEGO out of me; I do everything possible and impossible. If I was standing on the ground, one would think that I’m practising for Spartakiad… I’m watching the wing and listening to skydrop all the time… when it’s over I have 8plus meter… in the half turn it gives me 3.5 m/s down, that is 10 m/s difference in just 3 seconds… mmm… I’d call it a Spanish washing machine. I swear to myself that after turning Anayet I will land, it’s not worth it… now there’s only one thing on my mind, to escape without getting killed. Looking backwards: it wasn’t that bad, but I was shit-scared and that played a role. Well, what to add… I pushed my limits, again...

I barely manage to catch a glimpse of a certain giant, Pic du Mudi du Osssau. What a monolith of pure rock, that is something! I guess it has something like 400-500 m and is towering from a grassy plateau like a king from ancient times.  I’m woken up from this romantic dreaming by Avaxiáš underneath me… Heyy, watch out! When I manage to get it into the correct position again, happy as a clam, I’m watching towards an open and pretty landing-friendly valley. I land on a beach, with shaking legs, trembling voice and bleeding nose. I put myself together and continue running along a dam. Legs relaxed a bit and with adrenaline in my blood I can continue bravely on the ground. After maybe 10 km I see three locals flying, well I should rather say, standing in the air high above the valley. Truth be told, I wouldn’t have got much farther, and if… I would have had no place to land. I overtook few guys; I’m alive and healthy… What a beautiful day!

In the evening, Guiseppe is trying to land flying backwards on big ears and full speed, Zlatko rather landed after few meters.
We set up a camp underneath a 2,000 m high mountain, from which I would like to leapfrog in the morning because there will be a front, so I want to be up as soon as possible and fly at least something. We are caught up by the organiser, they want some videos J
Evergreen of the contest cuisine, pasta with everything you can imagine and let’s go into my brand new sleeping bag. Sweet dreams!

I walked approx. 27 km, climbed 700 m and flew around 35 km, not the best performance, but I didn’t kill myself J
The first three guys are far, far away, flying in weaker wind, and so they finished just before TP7 today. Maurer even managed to fly down into the valley…

pondelok 10. októbra 2016


At 5 in the morning the alarm clock rings and Kubko like a sleepy ghost boils some water so he can pour it on some dried food, while I’m drinking Redbull. The wind is so bloody strong that it’s almost breaking the trees. Damn weather forecast, it wasn’t supposed to be like this!
It’s dark as the inside of a horse and besides the howling wind you can’t hear anything. Are the beasts in Spain lazy, too? Or? I’m struggling through already mentioned combination of ferns and prickles, and as the time passes I’m pretty sure that today I won’t fly… fly like normal people do. Unless I would really compete, you know, like really, which means blood, sweat and tears. Maybe a kilometre ahead of me I see Garin (a French guy) fighting with the ferns as well, but according to the livetracking he jacked in and continues along the contour line. No wonder as my tiny body is almost taken away by the wind. Well, it’s useless… So empty handed I follow in Garin’s footsteps. As the road is descending, at the end of the ridge, the wind becomes a little more, but really just a little more bearable, which means 10-12 m/s… well that could be somehow managed. I see Garin stamping on the asphalt below me… well, I’ll wipe his eyes!

The deadly combination of ferns and prickles makes it really difficult to take off, but I’ve found a small spot, where it could be possible. I unpack my staff; I damn check everything, especially the speed and let’s hope. For what? This is not the first time, and it’s highly probable that not even the last time, when I wish just for one thing while taking off… that I guessed it correctly, which actually mans that I can handle that. TRACK

I pull the A lines, jump something like 20 m backwards until Avax is above my head and it pulls me upwards and full speed. It takes ma upwards, but I stay on the same spot. But Avax doesn’t let me down, I just turn slightly, crabbing a bit and there we go. Wind helped me a bit and later it got a bit weaker in the lee that the hills created in front of me so I managed to fly few kilometres. After the landing near the road, I feel quite shaky, not for the first time and not for the last time. But the good thing is I don’t have to walk! That is something also Maurer told me at the Bornes. Leapfrogs will spare you for the critical situations when you really need to run and move up a gear. Of course I’m not as good the Champion… but only repetition and constant improvement makes the master.

Until the guys from the support vehicle catch up with me, I’m already ascending another hill… even though the wind is so strong again that it’s beating the tress as if they were made of paper. Well, hopefully it will weaken, I think. Once again, I’m running out of water, I’m drying out from the scorching sun and a mountain is towering ahead of me. At last I find a watering place and another “Drydissey” (odyssey of thirsty) is over. Even the wind is getting a bit weaker and it reaches reasonable values so that it allows me to fly forward. In a sec I’m ready and let’s go, or better let’s fly. I soared few kilometres and landed in the well-known combination (prickles, prickles and once more prickles and two withered ferns just to confuse me) so I struggle with untangling the lines for at least 15 minutes in a 35° slope and air temperature of the same value. I need to get out of the bushes as quickly as possible, today in regular trousers and thus no more scratches today!

Support feeds me underneath a beautiful plane tree with a view of nice green hills around and of course of the ubiquitous end products of the cow or horse metabolism as the final touches of the atmosphere, however the perception is a bit stronger that I would wish…

After a failed attempt to fly down the hill I continue into the saddle in the direction of the TP2 two-thousand meter high mountain Orhi. It blows a bit in the saddle, I try to climb as high as possible, I even pass a vulture party – sitting on a rock and croaking at one another. But as I unpack my Avax, they take wing and show me a superb thermal, a climb a bit, then once again but it doesn’t allow me to fly forward with headwind, but it spared my legs few km of asphalt and speeded up. In the heat I shuffle towards the next take off since the mountains here are pretty high but the valleys are pretty shallow as well, like screenplays of some of our soap operas or sitcoms. There’s no good place for take off. I have to pass few more kilometres until I find a suitable spot. And then, finally, let’s fly. Poof, and I’m in heaven… climbing pretty high and I continue and see beautiful views of TP2.

Breath-taking views, really, mountains like hell far ahead of me also rocks… and me… flying above all of this. TRACK

But I have to land since the speed is tangled in the main harness and the other end isn’t attached very well. Well, never mind, I land in front of some tourists, everything is done in 10 seconds and let’s fly again. I climb maybe 3000 m and fly farther. I landed maybe at 6 or something like that. It wasn’t that good, I could have done it differently, but now it doesn’t matter. Important is that I was able to flee, with two or three more pilots, and leave the main “peloton” behind as they’re kept on the ground far before the TP2. We sleep in magical surrounding.
The first three guys (Maurer, Durogati and Mayer) are ahead of us pretty much. Now, looking backwards, I would rather run like the wind and followed them to reach my last today’s take off spot and not spare my feet. Well, in our country we have a saying “after a battle everyone is a general”… but I will remember that!

Some statistics: walked 25 km, climbed 2570 m of elevation (walking), flown 43 km