04 January 2013

X Monarca Open


I am already back in Canada. The last ten days have been a vivid overdose of screaming varios, wind noise, and Corona. Including the practice days, 800 km flown. And it is only mid January.

The final task began slow and tricky, but ended fast.

The podium finishers: 1. Josh Cohn 2. Brett Hazlett 3. Marko Hrgetic


Awards ceremony in the town square
Thank-you, Miguel. Thank-you, Claudia. Thank-you Alas del Hombre. Thank-you, Mexico!


It was a full bore race from beginning to end. Full bar until the 65 km were done. Rolf Dale won the task, followed by Marko Hrgetic, and myself. I moved into first place overall, going into the final task tomorrow.



The 80 km task began slowly as we struggled among the rocks towards Divisa, followed by a soft transition over the mesa. The large areas of forest and light lift across the mesa challenged many of us. At this point conditions began to strengthen to 3 m/s and cloud base rose to 3400 m. We gradually added speed until we were racing at full bar from cloud to cloud, only stopping to turn in the strongest areas. There was a turnpoint near the mountain where the Monarca butterflies congregate, followed by Elefante and La Casa. Our gliders hissed and surged through the rough convergence as we made the final sprint to goal. Josh crossed first, followed by myself, Ole Ronneberg, and Nick Greece. Only eight pilots made goal and there were perhaps three reserve tosses.

Feeling small in the presence of immensity
Photo credit: Ronny Helgesen


Risers vibrating, lines screaming, legs wobbling, kilometres passing, clouds towering, we flew the 60 km task in under two hours.

On a full speed glide from base at Aguia towards our last climb, Marko Hrgetic and I were level and flying wing tip to wing tip. We had a slight lead on Ronny Helgesen and Nick Greece and about three minutes on the rest of the lead gaggle. At this point we each made our critical route choice, Marko choosing the G-spot and I choosing Maguey. Marko's climb was ready when he arrived and mine took a while to develop. Timing is important.

Marko Hrgetic took the task win!



We gave it all but nobody made goal. The leg with a 25 km/h headwind, lee side, shade, and uphill proved to be too much for even the best of us. The lead gaggle landed essentially at the same distance with Rolf Dale winning the task.

My friends and I had an emotive experience as we flew over an immense vapour mountain before the start of the competition.

Photo credit: Ronny Helgesen


Day one of the Monarca Open Pre World Cup: The 75 km task was won by Ronny Helgesen in about 2h 5min. The following few pilots were Marko Hrgetic, Brett Hazlett, Nick Greece, and Josh Cohn.


Today we had to register for the competition, which will begin tomorrow. But we still managed a 90 km practice flight before the registration deadline.

Arriving at the peninsula in Valle


Valle de Bravo delivered another magical day of cotton candy cross country deliciousness for all present. We flew an interesting and challenging 100 km task which included most areas typically flown during a competition.


Flying over the cathedral in Valle de Bravo after reaching goal



We flew a 100 km practice task today, ending at the lake. This place is amazing!

High over Valle de Bravo


At 4 am I arrive in Valle de Bravo. Five hours of sleep later I am up and ready to fly. The 50 km practice task reminded how good the flying in Valle de Bravo can be at this time of year. 

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