28 Februar 2014

Registration Pre-Worlds, test task and safety briefing

After having registered for the pre worlds, I went for a test flight of about two hours in the afternoon, and the glider is still a beauty, thanks to the careful transport attention of Lufthansa!
Like the others of my team, I chose the airstrip to land, and it looked good, short grass, just maybe a bit narrow. Well, further down I realized that there were high barbed wire fences on both sides of the runway, which didn´t leave many options in case the wind turns around. And of course it did... shooting in with a tailwind at 2200m of altitude... pucker factor ten, and not the most elegant of landings, but my glider and I stayed in one piece at least!
Safety briefing in the evening with a brilliant introduction by Miguel Gutierrez, also thanking Rudy Gotes for helping with a huge amount of organization work.
After two hours of safety introduction, we went to an opening dinner, and they even catered for vegetarians. Due to jetlag, I didn´t stay too long, but I also realized that there is a lot to prepare on the day before the seven day marathon will start!

27 Februar 2014

Arriving in Valle

Im happy to be in the warm sun of Valle de Bravo – yesterday I set up my glider in Rudy´s garden, and it looks great, so Im looking forward to a nice test flight today! My team already had a good week of training here – Jörg, Christian, Gerd and Achim know the area well now. I have flown a few competitions and had some free flights here, so I am also not new to Valle de Bravo flying. But Ive never flown here with soooo many pilots before. Will be interesting to see how many people will compete altogether today at registration!
Tomorrow we will have a training task, and the serious Pre World competition starts on Saturday, running till March 7th. And knowing Valle, we probably fly every day!
Here you find Jörg´s wonderful photos and the life report in German on the DHV homepage!

25 Februar 2014

On the way to Mexico City, Pre worlds Valle de Bravo

In Frankfurt airport I met a fellow Red Bull athlete, Marcelo Gutierrez from Colombia, a free rider. It is always fun to compare sports and meet new people! He already knows the Red Bull guy who Jonny and I are going to meet in Mexico city tonight, the world is small! Exciting to see Marcelo´s skill in the world cup!
On my way to board the beautiful 747/8 now!

16 Februar 2014

Welcome to Turkmenistan, Timezone GMT +5


I have „won“ a trip to Ashgabat in Turkmenistan with a stay of 3 days on a work flight. All I remembered was that there are not many choices for vegetarians, specially in winter. My suitcase was packed with healthy goodies, hoping to find a kitchen in our hotel. I was lucky- since this month, we are in a new, luxurious, clean hotel with a fully equipped kitchen in the crew lounge! And when I heard the comments of my colleagues who had gone out for dinner, I was happy that I had raided through „Veganz“, my favourite vegan health food store in Frankfurt Bornheim before my flight.
Also I brought my inline skates, as the weather looked promising. Below zero, but sunny and dry, almost no snow or ice on the roads and boardwalks. And the main aisles of Ashgabat have magnificent boardwalks for skating, almost as smooth as marble! Just don´t turn off to the smaller streets, many trap holes there J
When I tried to skate to the „Tolkutchka market“ which is a bazaar happening on Sundays and Thursdays, I found out that „5km“ can also mean something like 30km or more... I skated about 1,5 hours to get there, and I went really fast except fort he last bit when a strong wind hit me head on. It was worth it though, as I saw a really traditional bazaar with traditional Turkmenish people and their goods. The Turkmenish people I met were really open and helpful despite not speaking English. My little bits of Russian helped a lot, and it was fun to „communicate“.
Many people have almost Mongolian faces, just a bit darker, very pretty to look at. And sure I was the only one who has ever skated through the city for three days in a row, they probably already looked for the skating terrorist ;)
The buildings look new and the fassades are all grand, but I rarely saw any people going into or coming out of these magnificent buildings. There are not many people walking the streets. Lots and lots of fountains are spread through the city, and as the water is heated, they are also running in winter, with people busy hacking the ice away from the edges. Some of the bus stops have airconditioned glass areas, hot in winter and cold in summer.
Average Turkmenish people don´t earn or own a lot, at least heating and electricity is completely free, as the oil and gas funds of the country are enormous. Every second inhabitant of Ashgabat must be a kind of guard, as on Tuesday there were people in uniform every few hundred meters on every major road, whisteling at me if I wanted to cross the road directly, or if I was going „too fast“ in their opinion, some even tried to grab and stop me (but I went around them).
It was an intersting journey and I feel privileged that I was allowed to see a dictatorship where opera and theatre are forbidden, and even trying to bring a Red Bull into the country is a major offence and mentioned in our crew information as a „no go“! After those three days, I was glad I could leave Absurdistan behind and go back to the rest of the world instead.