11 Februar 2009


So finally I get back to my blog... as you see in all those 3-letter-codes, I whirled around the world quite a bit lately. Two days after I was back from Aus, I had to go on a work trip to Mexico - on purpose, so I could go to Valle de Bravo and cheer for my friends at the paragliding world championships.
What a perfectly organized comp! Miguel Gutierrez and Oscar Sanchez from "Alas del Hombre" and 60 other people set up an incredible event for the 150 competitors from 44 countries. On the photos, you see Pepe and Ulli from team Germany, also my friend Ewa. I also met my friend Kari Castle over there (photo below). She´s not only one of the best hangglider pilots, but also ranks very high in paragliding- for most of the comp she placed 3rd, trying to pull a Judy Leden (our idol who won both hanggliding and paragliding worlds).
I was very impressed with an Austrian pilot, Heli Eichholzer. I met him on La Torre take off where he helped my friend to get off the mountain safely- just like that, even though they never met before. Two days later, he decided to land at El Penon where Stefan from the Swiss team had crashed into the rocks. Heli is in the mountain rescue squad in Austria, so he quickly knew how to climb down and try to help. Sadly, it was too late. Heli got the sportsmanship trophy, and Im honoured to have met a real hero (who is very quiet and modest too) - I still have no idea how you can possibly land at that place without getting hurt, but he did.
At take off and goal, my heart raced imagining I was in the air in my hangglider, trying to fly with those incredible gaggles full of colourful jellyfish ;) Incredible, a competition with 10 valid tasks, 11 days flown, unnoumerous kilometres, a record World Championships!
We also filmed quite a bit, and the film will be online soon! Special gratulations to Torsten Siegel on 7th and Ulrich Prinz on 9th (his first worlds!) from the German team. They use a different scoring for their teams, they have to pre-nominate 3 pilots who always score, the 4th pilot only flies individually. That way, the Swiss didn´t win the team score, even though their pilots were in 1st and 2nd place! The Germans would have placed 2nd or 3rd with our "normal" hanggliding rule. It seems to be a question of coincidence rather than performance which team wins. The Czech and Slovenians of course have strong teams and deserve to be up there.
Still I think this rule puts a lot of pressure on the pilots and doesn´t make a comp safer, doesn´t make a team work better if one pilot is "excluded" and the other team pilots need to prove the team leaders choice right. This might have played part in the tragic accident of Swiss pilot Stefan Schmoker - my hearfelt condolences to his family and friends. A topic that will hopefully be discussed on the CIVL meeting next week in Hall/Austria.
Before that, I will see Ewas movie "Die Reise zum Horizont" tonight with my friends Regina and Rebi - Ewa and Doerthe, the cast, will also be at the cinema in Munich just around the corner from my place.
And then I caught a quick trip to Orlando to visit my team mate Jamie for a few hours, and to escape winter. It is snowing right now, the wind is still howling... but tonight we will have a hot meal with the goodies that I brought from La Merced market in Mexico - tamales with Nopales, salsa and fresh veggies!

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