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Published: June 23rd 2009
Monica, Mum, and Scott
... on a bridge across the river Rhone in Lyon
My days here in Laragne were pretty busy. I did some work, but of course I also tried to do a little bit of sightseeing, including many of the very ancient towns in the area. One day, I went to the Aspres launch with Monica and the boys. And of course, more and more pilots and team members from all over the world arrived. It was just great to see everyone!
I will have two jobs during the comp. I will be a launch marshal, which means that I have to make sure that all the pilots take off in the order they are supposed to, and I will help Monica with the driving for the Aussie team.
Saturday would have been the official practice day. But the pilots could not fly because of the Mistral, that is a very strong northerly wind that makes flying a hangglider impossible. And as it is a northerly wind, it is pretty chilly. We have to wear jeans and jumpers, otherwise it would be too cold - in the middle of June in the south of France!
So on Saturday, I went kayaking with Scott, Blenki, Belinda and Davis. It was
My little Peugeot
... with three hanggliders in boxes on it.
my very first time, I had never been kayaking before. I got my own boat. I only had a couple of hundred metres to familiarize myself with the boat and the way of paddling, then we arrived at the first rapids. I got stuck on a rock straight away and ended up in the water. The same thing happenend only a few hundred metres further down the river. I was really struggling. But then I found out that you have to do the same thing as in hanggliding: Always look at the spot you want to go to. And suddenly it all worked out. Another little adventure followed when I got separated from the group taking another channel than the one the others had taken. I went alright until I got to rapids that went straight through a couple of bushes. I was too scared to take that route, so I dragged my boat out of the water and wanted to take it to the channel that the others were in. Then, fortunately, Scott turned up, and he rode my boat down the rapids, and I walked and joined the others not far away. After three hours, we arrived at
... in the Gorge de la Meouge, at the bottom of Chabre, one the mountains that pilots launch from.
our goal. My arms and shoulders were sore and still are a bit, but it had been good fun.
On Sunday, there was the great opening ceremony. First, a group of drummers led the way through the streets of Laragne. All the teams followed, each led by a child that carried a sign with the name of the country on it and a child that carried the national flag. When we arrived at the Salle des Fetes, the comp headquarter, some photos were taken. Then there were a couple of (long) speeches, and finally we got some fingerfood in the Salle des Fetes. After that, I had dinner with Monica, Scott, Blenki, Camo, and mum, and then I finally managed to have an early night.
Yesterday would have been the first comp day, but again it is not possible to fly because of the strong (and cold!) Mistral. Today, conditions are not much better. It was decided to have another briefing later on in order to make a decision on the day.
For more information on what's going on here, have a look at the OzReport
or at the blogs by Jamie Shelden
, Jeff O'Brien
, Jeff Shapiro
, Dustin Martin
and Steve Blenkinsop
... from the Gorge de la Meouge.
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