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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

La Muela 2015, 20th Anniversary

20 years ago, I discovered for the first time this curious hill, flat at the top, accessible by car, with all wind orientation slopes. It was also my first international competition. I was flying an Ellipse 1 at that time. I won this 1995 edition so I won't forget.  It was also the opportunity to visit some part of this beautiful country, Toledo, Cordoba, Madrid, Aruanjuez, the Sierra Nevada. In 2015, it was therefore impossible to miss the 20th edition !

52 pilots engaged, from Germany, Norway, Switzerland, England, France and of course Spain. As it was early april, we could expect some low temperature and why not some some like in 2012 for example. But weather has been very good this time with some worries regarding the low wind predicted.

I arrived on Wednesday, driving from Barcelone. On the slope, the wind was blowing around 13m/s and already lots of competitors were practicing intensively. But with the rotation, it was possible to fly. The wind was from North so we were flying above the village of Alarilla.

The first day of the competition, flights started around 2pm as planned, but the wind that was still blowing in the early norning started to decrease a bit, with the sunshine. This made the conditions very variable, with thermal popping time to time. I got one in first round, Inaki got it in the second round. The rest of time the air was average with sometimes sink air. We managed 3 rounds the first afternoon, which was good considering the 52 pilots. Inaki was leading, followed by me and Jose Luis in 3rd.

The next day has been more complicate. Air was stable, with very little to no wind. We spend the major part of the day enjoying thermalling, looking at Storks, flying with bungee, electro glider. But we also succeeded to do one round, which was very important to validate the competition. At the end of the afternoon, we moved to the south slope where the breeze was trying to blow a bit, because of the sun, but we couldn't start another round.

The third and last day, forecast was better with some stronger wind from north again. We did 4 additional rounds before to stop, then cancel the round as the wind dropped. Again conditions were very variables. I got another big thermal and achieved the fastest time of the competition with a 33sXX . Matthieu Mervelet did another 33s in the last round. Inaki missed a great opportunity to take some points by ending his course at lap 8, before to realize his fault an re-enter the course. I did the same in the last round, finishing by a roll at lap 8, then heard my team mate shooting at me, re-enter the course and finish in 47s. Hopefully it was with no consequence on the result for me.
Following the interruption, the organisers tried hard to resume then launch another round, but the wind decided different. Finally the organiser decided to end this 20th edition.  I won the competition by a good margin over the second. Inaki after being 3rd, finally finished 2nd, followed by José Luis. Angel López is 4th and Arnaud Leger 5th. The points are decreasing very quickly after the first places. Full result can be seen here.

Overall it was a great competition (I couldn't say the contrary), the organisers once again did a great job, and extracted the maximum of flights possible from the conditions and time they had. I want to say a big thank you to the base judges (Piloneros) who stayed the whole week-end as buzzermen, Miguel Medina, and Miguel Torra, at the course direction, with the help of Iñigo Herrera.

This competition became a must over the year, in a unique place, with friendly people, and F3F mate from all over europe. Again a big thanks to the organizing team for this great competition !

See you next year for sure !

Organiser's web site here

Some video

The clip from Aubry Gabanon:

Jiri Hladky released these 5 videos about La Muela, giving a full coverage of the event. thanks Jiri !

1 part: training day and first race day warm-up
2 part: first race day
3 part: second race day
4 part: third race day part a
5 part: third race day part b

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