Day 1, 14/7: Not an expected welcome
Dachstein - Wagrain
It was a Monday, just after some bad weather. A light North wind was blowing in the morning which made the sky very clear blue and cooled down the atmosphere. At the beginning of the afternoon, we all managed to start from a very steep icy slope facing the high South cliff. What a start it was!!!And we all flew in the direction of the West edge of the mountain before starting our first glide of the competition.
Once we were out of this big mountain, we could obviously feel the North wind on the little hills down in the valley. It was blowing between 30-35km/h, which made things a bit more difficult than expected. In fact, from the first group of pilots, only Kaspar managed to find a thermal and escaped while the other 4 landed (I was one of them …). At the same time all the rest of the pilots which couldn’t glide to the first ridge where we were, all flew down in a valley and luckily found an amazing convergence or whatever which kicked them up to 3000m!!!
After 50 minutes of flying and 10km done I felt like my first day of competition wasn’t quite like I wanted it to be… So I had to walk and cross all the flatland of Radstadt.
As a nice welcome to the competition, a police car stopped me while I was walking along the main road. And guess what? He wanted to check my papers… But you know 100g of passport was too much to carry! The guy wasn’t very impressed with me, walking along the road with a big back pack and no papers with my French accent and my French face. He wanted to take me with him to the police station until Nicky could bring my papers …
My French blood was boiling; all I could see was the time being wasted for a stupid piece of paper … I’ve exploded: “Come on man! We’re in Europe, in the EC and I’m French. Look at me. I’m not an immigrant, and I’m only here for a competition, organized by Red Bull (good point in Austria!!!). I have to cross all the Alps from your mountains of Dachstein to Monaco with my glider on my back. I’m not going to the police station with you; I have to walk up to that mountain”. I said pointing the top of the mountains where I was walking to. Also I showed him the little card that Red Bull gave us with all phone details and stuff about the competition.
I thought “Right Dav: that wasn’t very clever, with this kind of behaviour you might spend your first night of the X-Alps in gaol …”
A miracle happened, the guy decided that my excuses were good enough and asked me to always have my passport with me in the future and did let me go.
Therefore I kept walking and went up along the piste to the top of Wagrain. As Nicky was stuck in the traffic jam on the way back from the super busy Dachstein Mountains, I had to carry all my equipment (+20kg) all the way to the top …
I arrived too late to try to fly (I mean really flying, not gliding down to valley where I was coming from). So we stayed at the top and entertained the local cows for a little while …
Took off at 14:00.
Finish day at 18′35
Total flying 1h20, 24km
Total walking 2h45, 900m up, 8.6km
Max altitude 3319m