US Nightly Soaring Day 7 (Offline)

Some US pilots started up a new race series on, the site that hosts the Monday Night Soaring Series.  The U.S. race is held every night at 9pm.  That’s usually too late for me, but you can download the flight plan after the race and do it offline.  I did that this morning.  The race was an AAT with a distance of 150 km and a minimum time to complete of 1 hour.

Below you can see the task with the two large 12 km areas at TP1 and TP2.  The object is to fly as far as possible within the designated area in a time of one hour or greater.  Your competition speed is calculated by dividing your time on course by the distance made good between the start, TP1, TP2 and the finish.  In the graphic below, the solid red line shows my actual track around the course.  The dotted red line shows the straight line distance between the extremes of my track. On TP2 I went outside the area for a few kilometers.  That distance doesn’t count, so you can see that the dotted line stops at a point intersecting my track and the outer perimeter of the TP2 area before turning back to the finish.  From this I can see that I would have been better off continuing south before turning toward the finish on final glide.


Here was my strategy and mistakes that I apparently made. The wind was from 316 degrees so I was flying directly into the wind on the first leg (TP1 is the upper left circle).  Because of this, I wanted to make this leg as short as possible.  Ideally, I would fly only to the nearest edge of TP1 (You have made the “turn” wherever you cross the perimeter of the turn point.)  I didn’t do this because I needed to average 20 minutes or more per leg so that my total time would be equal to or greater than one hour. My time to the perimeter of TP1 was about 19 minutes but, because of flying upwind, this leg should take more time to fly a given distance then the next two legs.  It’s OK to fly longer than the minimum time as long as you can maintain or increase your average speed.  What you want to avoid is flying a shorter duration than the minimum time.  If you fly less than the minimum time. your average speed will be calculated by dividing your time en-route by the minimum time, rather than your actual time.  To avoid this scenario, I extended leg one a bit beyond 20 minutes and planned to fly deep into the TP2 area to extend my distance before turning on final glide for the finish. If I could have continued leg two straight to intersect the perimeter further south, I think I could have had a little better average speed.  I would like to have been able to turn on final glide a bit sooner.  I had almost enough altitude at the point that I turned East and caught my last thermal a bit outside of the perimeter.  The problem is that I would have arrived early at the finish.

This was a fun task with strong and plentiful thermals.  It allowed me to concentrate on my AAT strategy rather than survival.

35K Row

I completed a row of 35K this morning on my Concept2 rower.  It is the final row of my biggest training week of my 6 month marathon training schedule.

Yesterday, I did a 15K lactate threshold row in 1:08:54.2 or 2:17.8/500m.  This is the fastest 15k I’ve done by over a minute!  I’m bringing this up because, obviously the intensity of this row affected the performance of my 35k row today.

The lactate threshold row consists of three equal intervals of 5k (for this particular distance.)  The first interval is rowed at your marathon pace, the second at your best 10k pace and the final interval at your half marathon pace. I felt like, when I do these rows, I could exert myself more because I don’t notice my muscles aching which is presumably the major sign that you are exercising above the lactate threshold.  Because of this, instead of rowing 2:23/2:17/2:19 for the marathon, 10k and half marathon segments of this LT session, I rowed closer to 2:21/2:14/2:18, giving me an average time of 2:17.8/500m for this particular workout.  You can see the detail in my personal logbook here.

Despite the intensity of my workout yesterday, I managed to complete today’s 35k with an average 2:26.1/500m and an overall time of 2:50:23.  I consider this a very decent time and if I can maintain this pace for a marathon, I should be able to complete it in ~3 hours 22 minutes.

The biggest problem I have with rows over an hour is that I develop pain in my left butt that forces me to stand up and sometimes walk around for up to a minute or more.  Needless to say, this really adds to my time.  To compensate for the additional time this requires, I try to row at a fast enough pace that part of these interruptions can be adjusted for.  For example, today, before I took my first butt-break at the one hour mark, my average time was about 2:22 or better.  The first break didn’t affect that too badly, but I was forced to take another break after about 20 minutes, and after that I needed to take a break almost every 10 minutes.  This is disheartening, to say the least, and I haven’t figured out a way to avoid it.  In fact, I am using 3 foam pads on the seat now.

Big winds coming tomorrow

I have all my equipment packed into and on top of the Passat wagon, ready to take off tomorrow morning after dropping Tui off a t work.

Winds between 20 and 30 knots are forecast for tomorrow with gusts up to 40. Well I can do without the gusts but 20 to 30 sounds great.

I’ll be looking for Heidi’s husband’s uncle, Steve from Lebanon, New Hampshire at White’s beach. Heidi is my PT and she says that he is one of the New Hampshire boys that frequent White’s Beach. Oh…and I mustn’t forget, he drives a Subaru.