.....with your instrument 'package' can lead to abnormal behavior. Just ask Jonny, that little ass pirate.

Is that glider hot or what? I obsessed over that thing in Texas....then Jeff Shapiro took her home, bastard. But I got a new one.........

<---- lack-of-5030-induced violation


Who else loves the 5030?

I was so lazy and so stubborn to not upgrade years ago. I have suffered the failures and disappointments of my gps for years of comps and now after this last race I feel even worse for all the lost points and lost standings that I can only blame on my own inaction.

This thing is so brainless and so perfected. A friggin turnpoint slayer! I think it saved me about 6 seconds plus per turnpoint and start cylinder. That's 24 seconds per day at Canoa. Seventy two seconds in the race total. I wouldn't just lose first place for an equivalent performance...I would be in third! I remember taking the turns last year gps 12 style (one one thousand, two one thousand, three....). More than a couple times I would arrive ahead of Kevy and whip my 180 several seconds after him and get to see his keel for the rest of the race. What was I thinking???

The last day's race start was a true illustration of this instrument's time saving..you have to time the glide from the main ridge to the start cylinder-it's about 3m40sec more or less. The last day I was determined to ace it and save a few seconds more. During the last ten seconds I realized I was going to be too early so I began to slow down....but time began to slow with me it seemed. As the countdown clock fell to 00:00:00, I was full vg, banked up, and stalled to avoid tagging the cylinder early. Luck was with me and I was late by a hair and heard the tone right before my glider half-spun and I dropped right onto courseline. HAHAHAHAH


Jamie Shelden was the photographer in all the shots. The last one is cool, it really captures the feeling...which was-there was a tailwind and I was intensely focused waiting for my pause in air movement to perform a three step no winder from a sort-of cliff. Sort-of because there was only about 50 or 60 feet of drop before you encountered level ground again. There was not even enough room to turn the glider around on launch-it had to be set up facing the edge. This was our Andes launch from last year. With about one mph in my face it was a non event in the thick jungle air. Really it is a great launch with a clean edge, steep smooth running surface, and little turbulence. One day we will encounter a sky without so many clouds and we'll be able to launch the upper site.

The Andes day was our next to last day and it was late enough to be a sledder but the last couple minutes were coolasshit. It was a flat smooth glide and as I got lower I began to hear all the noises of life down below. I soon realized that all the sounds were being directed at me and included horns honking and kids screaming. The whole village seemed to have spotted me but the funny thing was that they were all trying to run and catch me even though i was still at 2 or 300 meters. It was really incredible toward the end of the glide how the entire populace had gathered this strange momentum. The town had no width, only length, and was situated along a thin highway. From the lines of structures located parallel to the highway, swarms of people were running in an arcing path...first toward the highway then gently curving as they all realized that they wouldn't catch a moving object by aiming toward its current location. And it was so odd that they all traced this curving path..all of them for a couple km's. It was quite a sight from just above and I could hear all of them as if I was running in the crowd myself.

Well I began to get scared of the mob mentality likely to greet me down there so I stretched glide a bit and turned at the last minute down a narrow little dirt road through the middle of a makeshift soccer field. After testing the ground with my foot I decided on an impromptu slider...I haven't done one of those for years since being at the Point of the Mountain. It was a cool way to arrive in some foreign village-airliner style. I guess I must have crossed some ditch or fence or something on my glide because I never got mobbed by that crowd. It looked like about 70 or 80 people in the end...all of them super super nice and one guy that helped my break down and carry my wing through some yards to the highway. We set the glider down next to the road in the dark literally at the moment that Raul and company went flying by in the truck. I was without radio or phone so I was glad for the coincidental timing!

The drive was another defiance of death but again we were victorious. A sweet day in the end.


THE north cliffs

THE is right. We see them every day flying Canoa, just a bit out of reach it seems. Canoa's most frequently flown stretch of cliffs totals about 15km and ranges from vertical sand cliffs to sloped leafless-tree-covered ridges, always with a couple hundred meters of beach in front. The north end of the ridge disappears into the sand at the edge of town and reappears about 10km later-only this time it emerges as a 200 meter vertical wall thrust straight out of the breaking waves. No beach. Following it's crest you will see it run out to a point another 5k's further on and then turn out of sight into who knows what. I never went there last year...I always figured that it just ended there...like when the earth used to be flat.

The first two days of the race on the main ridge were just a little too close for comfort with Mikey always 5-10 seconds behind and Raul as his shadow. Now, we had this sort of informal agreement to not use ballast...but take Mike's 200+ pounds and consider that I discovered Raul was using lead and I just figured I had to make things fair.

The only chance to run the north cliffs would be day 3, and we only do one flight a day and usually it's a late finish to the race. The first two days were so close that I had to finish at ten feet off the beach to keep Mike at bay. There was just no way to get back up from that height so I did some thinking the second night and this is how I am going to justify my role in the ballast war.

Anyway, last lap-last day, and I finally have about 30 seconds on Mike. It looks like I will finally be able to finish on the ridge next to the finsh line and get back up for a north ridge run. Our finishing order is set in stone so Mike decides on the same plan. We did a few passes, headed back south to get on the big ridge, and tanked up for the long glide over town to the north. Scott was ahead with a keel mounted video camera and the sun was getting low and giving some awesome light on the cliffs. We connected and, with the camera in mind, I ran the ridge under Scott fast and low with no beach in sight. Pretty cool stuff, it had me tense for sure. Then I pulled up, expecting to see the edge of the flat earth just ending right there...and I have to wipe the salt out of my eyes. There is the most excellent cliff running as far as I can see-totally vertical, an even 200 meters high all the way, bathed in evening sun, and a pristine beach running the entire length. The wind was on so what the hell...

We threw a little expression session at ridge height for the camera (which was out of batteries as it turns out) before gaining some exploring height. I decide tentatively to head north and see where the wind would take me. Cliffs turned to smaller cliffs, then to shallow hills with their soarable sections way back from the beaches. The going was slow with little lift but the ground speed seemed alright. Mikey had mentioned something about going around this corner a couple years back and turning around only to find he was beating a huge headwind to get back...I'm a rock star...I don't care!! What I didn't realize was that the coastline was angling imperceptlibly (to me) to the north east. Turning around at about 20 km north of the nearest retrievable landing area, my glider parked in the now super cross wind. Strangely enough the vario stopped beeping too. Add the fact that I had been cruising fast and low the whole time, and the beach below took on a much harsher appearance as I thought of the day(s) it would take to send a boat to get me, if sea conditions would even allow it.

An eternity passed while I crossed two gaps, all the time sinking and battling a head wind. Things were looking pretty grim. I stretched out, pointed my toes, and somehow got on the windward side of the next section of cliffs on a more favorably facing section and got into the comfort zone again. Mike laughed the whole time from his vantage about 200 meters above and a kilometer behind, fully aware of the hole I had been digging. It's amazing what a different night I would have had with 30 meters less altitude or if I had turned around 15 seconds later. As luck would have it, my night was spent drinking with friends and making new ones in Canoa on a hoppin Saturday night.

It was mildly entertaining to drift through town, laughing with friends and throwing back shots while thinking of my alternate self, the one with 30 meters less altitude on that north ridge run, who was now screaming at Wilson the volleyball on some forsaken beach.



A few more here, and more to come of our great week in Canoa. On the last morning we focused our time on the trike and tandem setup. Some people got their first taste of air, it was pretty sweet not to mention fun as hell for me. After the race in the afternoon, Mike took the shot of the north cliffs. Later we got these shots of Mike and Jamie post race, pre beer, the brightest moment of the day. We all gathered at the local restaurant in Canoa for the parting shot.

I think we will make a run at the local Guayaquil 200meter hill for a last flight before packing it all down and heading back to the states. Plans are already laid for a return in a few months! Flying meets culture meets beautiful scenery meets incredible people. It's been hard to find a better spot.

Shit! Jamie I edited out your beautiful glider pic....you'll have to send it again if you want your fame to continue in the wingman blog.

Pics in no particular order

Me, Jamie, Raul, Mike, and you can't actually see Alex Morillo....but he's down in those trees somewhere. He was pissed hahahaa.



I really wasn't lazy to update this thing, it's just that it was a waste of otherwise quality beach time to wait on the crazy slow connection of the computers there. Anyway, the flying was even better than last year...the wind was on, the sun was out, we were ballasted up, and Canoa gave another great week. We broke the course record by something like 3 minutes or so on the last day with a solid 14 mph wind, pretty brisk for this place I guess. It's a 48 K course and I think I did it in 38:22. Thanks Kevy for staying home with the little bundle of joy, I finally won! The results run like this..

Dustin Martin 1st
Mike Glennon 2nd
Raul Guerra 3rd
Rafael Arcos 4th
Jamie Shelden 5th and first woman (only woman and she got a huge trophy for it hahahaha)

The last day we did a bunch of tandooms on the beach. It was cool as shit, I love seeing the look on their faces. The wind was on enough that I could let the passengers soar the launch ridge back and forth on their own. Then land on the wheels and stay in the harness while the guys clip another one in.....

Pics will follow, I have to track Jamie down and get her memory card. We have some cool shots.

We short packed Mike and Jack's gliders tonight after driving back to town from Raul's sweet little beach house. We have to get them to the airport by 4:30 tomorrow morning, but first....party tonight

Next----the Andes, we're gonna be there day after tomorrow I guess, a new spot that I didn't see last year.


cross-ecuador rally style

We have arrived!! Canoa is showing it's good side again as we arrived in the evening to snag a quick sunset run. Raul, Mike, Jamie, myself, and two Peruvians who were flying when we showed up all had a dream run up and down the almost endless cliffs. I finally got my chance at the big north cliffs a few miles north of the town. Three of us headed out at about 1500 feet and easily reached the cliffs. We did a several mile run over beachless vertical cliffs with waves crashing against vertical cliffs just below. The wind was ON. On the way back south I guess Mike and Raul decided to do a practice course run so I followed them into the moonlight to the first turnpoint...even though we were cookin it was getting pretty dark when we arrived and on the way back we all resigned ourselves to a pitch black landing. We had the hotel floodlight on the landing spot and we couldn't see eachother in the air so we just waited until we saw a glider appear on the ground in the spotlight and then we knew it was our turn...ecuador air traffic control. Today is race day. No holding back, except ballast...right Raul? Tomorrow I might tell the story of our ferry boat bribery that cost us 80 bucks and got us ....nothing. hahahhhaha Raul. pics??? Ok I tried, but it took forever, maybe tomorrow this computer will be faster.