It seemed like the XC Bohl was never going to get here, then just like a flash it had started and ended! Saturday morning I got to Cowboy Up at 8am to do any last minute prep for the XC Bohl. I jumped on the lawn mower and spent the next hour cutting around the hangar. This year there was a major improvement, we had a LOT LESS mosquitoes. Last year the mosquitoes were relentless, this year it wasn’t even that bad. Anyways, we had the XCB slated to begin at 9am with the XC clinic but in typical fashion we didn’t get the clinic started until 10am…needless to say, Robins’ clinic was awesome and he had a ton of great stories from his recent trip to the Santa Cruz Flats Race where he took 1st place overall.
The wind was mild coming SE at 10mph and I managed to swap my busted VG rope out with a new one. Robin set the first task for Columbus, Texas at the old HGT airport. Not too long ago all hanggliding operations happened at the old Columbus airport. By the time that I launched it was 1 o’clock and to the SW all the way to the NW there was rain. Not storms, but light rain. Nekked Rich and I were basically able to launch at the same time because both Tiki and Gregg Ludwig were towing. We topped out and soon Rich and I had to figure out what we were going to do.
The wind aloft was 15mph and the cloudbase was at 3700′. Our courseline was littered with rain. To the ENE there were blue skies and good looking cumulus clouds. We had to make our move soon so I said on the radio…”Looks like it’s raining on courseline, I’m going to head East NorthEast.” By this time though, Rich was already committed to flying through a gap in the rain and busting out on the other side where he allegedly saw sunny fields. Me on the other hand I decided to fly away from the rain and head out to the good looking skies.
It was tough going East. I got low and had to run back to the Cowboy Up airport with my tail between my legs. Luckily, I was able to climb up right over Juniors gas station at 1200′ and get back up in the game with the help of Rich2 way up above me marking the thermals. Once I got back up I heard Rich come up on the radio, “I’m NE of the plantations (Glen Flora)” When I heard this I realized that Rich was long gone and I wasn’t going to catch him.
After about an hour of flying and drifting in some challenging thermals I heard Rich come on the radio saying he was landing. That didn’t make sense at all because he seemed like he was doing good. Anyways, I had the rain to the west and it was drifting along with me and cutting me off from flying to the goal. So I decided to just stay up and see what I could do. Everytime I got a climb I cut crosswind to the East to get away from the rain and more toward friendlier skies. Then I would go on glide and repeat the crosswind track.
It was fun but I wasn’t having too good of luck as the skies to my East began to dry up and the clouds to the West began to cover up my sun light. I had a great landing and was happy that I got the entire flight on video. Ben drove up and got me and we had a great evening at the Cowboy Up Hangars. There were 17 pilots who flew that Saturday.
Anyways, this year I was awarded with the Jeff Bohl honoree trophy. I prepared a speech and I had to cut it short because I felt like I was rambling on….anyways I was humbled as several of my good friends shared stories about me. We enjoyed pizzas and drinks and we had a great time camping out under the stars.