18 December 2009
Ridge racing with Kraig Coomber at Torrey Pines, San Diego, California.
As my 777 landed in LA for one last chance to fly Torrey Pines before leaving for Malaysia, things were looking dim, literally. I only had a one-day layover in LA and the night before it poured rain. In fact, it stormed. I didn't even know that it was possible for it to rain like this in LA... ever.
By the next morning things had improved dramatically. Kraig checked the weather and all the Torrey indicators were saying it was a Torrey day. We stuffed down a couple of bagels and rushed over to his warehouse for a last weather check and to load the gliders.
On the long drive out we kept repeating to ourselves... it's going to rain, it's going to rain... just to not jinx ourselves.
We had been talking about the only superstition that I have, which is that if I ever have a thought of satisfaction or contentment before I have actually fully completed a task, my reward will be a single additional challenge between the moment I have the thought and the moment I cross the goal line.
I call it a superstition but I'm not really superstitious. I read a phrase somewhere to the effect: Talking is something that occurs once thinking has ceased. This makes sense. When you are busy congratulating yourself over your excellent work when everything is going well at 90% completion, you instantly stop observing, taking in what is happening around you. Sensing what the big picture looked like was part of the reason that you found yourself at 90% completion and in a good position. If at this point you start to plan your title acceptance speech, perhaps by thinking about who you are going to thank and in what order, you are begging for a surprise. There is no limit to how fast things can change during the last 10% of a task.
This applies to hanggliding, this applies to business, this applies to life.
Anyways, it was soarable but light all day at Torrey and we had a great time. We finally came in to land as the sun was setting and the wind was so light we could barely get over the lip to top land. Hanggliding was good to us this day.
I didn't mention why I was so keen to fly Torrey. Well, I've wanted to fly Torrey for the last 16 years. Ever since I first saw a photograph of a modern hangglider on the cover of Hanggliding and Paragliding Magazine, sometime in 1993. It was John Heiney flying upside-down on an all-carbon airframe black and rainbow UP TRX 140, high over Torrey Pines. That image will remain preserved in my mind in HD, forever.
As we packed up I suddenly realized that John Heiney was breaking down right next to us so I made sure to go over and shake his hand.
Do we need a reason to fly?
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