Monday, September 8, 2008

My other hobby

Well, flying isn't really the only thing I do for fun. Living on the edge of the Rocky Mountains provides a lot of opportunity for outdoor adventures. Mountain biking has become very popular out here, and I dabble a little during the summer when flying is not occupying all my time.

I try to plan my trips such that broken limbs won't cause me to miss any important flying events. Some of the trails can be a little risky :) Also I am not really that good of a mountain I fall frequently lol!

These particular pictures are from a ride around Mt. Baldy and through Baldy pass. It was about 20km, 10 of which were uphill. Its a loop trail, on the 10k climb up you gain about 600m in elevation, and drop that same amount in about 3km on the way down :) Makes for an exciting trail!

Here is a shot of Mt. Baldy from the parking lot. Eventually we ended up on the other side of it.

There was a lot of logging going on along the first part of the trail.

Checking the do not want to get lost out here. The trail networks are usually quite extensive, and it gets dark in a hurry.

This was a huge washout section likely created by the spring runoff, with my amazing biking skills I decided it was better to carry my bike across :)

This is at the pass, about 1850m ASL. You can sort of make out the trail just above my rear tire....yes that narrow little path of rocks that rapidly disappears is the trail, and that is the only fun way down :)

Not sure what happened here...but I probably fell and decided that this was as good a spot as any to have a break. Some of the downhill sections are pretty steep, and if you get timid and slow down is pretty easy to lose you balance and you have to stop.

A couple of the nicer sections of the trip downhill!

We had a 5km ride back down the highway to the parking lot, I thought this hill would never end.

That's it for now, my riding friend is expecting his first child any day so not sure when we will get out next. When we do though I will be sure we take more pictures and I will post them here.


Friday, September 5, 2008

F-09 Video from Team Trials

My good friend Xavier took some video from the team trials. This is my first round of F, camera work is a little shaky but its still a pretty decent video. He does a good job of hiding all my mistakes as well!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Canadian Nationals and Team Selection

Well another year pretty much wrapped up for me. I just got back yesterday from Lindsay, Ontario where the Canadian Nationals and Team Selection competition were held.

Once again Dave Reaville did a stellar job of reporting this event as it was happening. So I am not going to go into any details on either the Nats or Team selection. His daily updates can be found here in case you have not already been there :)

A few things of note at the event though. A new young face appeared (at least to me) by the name of Ethen Chariandy in Sportsman, his dad Colin was flying in FAI. I had the opportunity to judge him in sportsman, I figure we have 10 years left before he comes along and starts beating us up in FAI :) It is a refreshing change to see some young talent starting up in pattern in this country.

Also a long time friend was back with us, Ivan Kristensen. Ivan had started out the year with a huge amount of bad luck and lost a couple of very nice airplanes which I am sure would put anyone into a holding pattern. However, while down at the US Nats he came across a Genesis which he has used to release those "crash monkeys" and get a bunch of flying under his belt. Although Ivan decided to pass on the team selection for this time, he has assured us he will be back in top shape for the next one in 2010. I am already looking forward to it!

The team selection....I have to say this was by far the most competitive and largest team selection that I have personally participated in. This was also the first year we used the format of P and F rounds to determine the team. I think this format has pushed the guys to a new level in their flying and really challenged them to do better.

Going into the finals rounds on Monday there were only 124 points separating 2nd from 7th place, and only 26 points between 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th places. This made the team spot anyones chance, the prelims were so close that the finals rounds became very important. At the end of the day and with only a 0.3 point margin between 3rd and 4th! the team was selected as myself, Dez Vaghy and Dan Venables.

I have to say I was most impressed with all the flying by the FAI guys. There has been a lot of improvement in the last year from what I saw. Although in competition not everyone gets go home happy with their final results, I think its more than safe to say that for everyone flying it was the best flying they have ever achieved.

The pilots of the finals with their airplanes.

Back: Chad Northeast, Dan Venables, Xavier Mouroux, Mark Byrne, Dave Reaville.
Front: Dez Vaghy, Colin Chariandy, Paul Hepworth

5 of the 8 contestants were flying Comp-Arf Integrals, 2 flying ZN Twisters, and 1 a Prestige. 6 pilots flew the Plettenberg 30-10 Evo, 1 pilot a YS 160DZ, and 1 pilot an Axi 5330 F3A.

The 2009 Canadian F3A Team, Chad Northeast, Dez Vaghy and Dan Venables.

My Composite-Arf Integral. This is the same model that I flew at the US Nats a month prior to this event.

Ivan got this cool shot of my Integral departing the field on a fun flight after the contest while awaiting the results.

I have to give a big thanks to Ivan and Dianne Kristensen, as well as Harry and Rosemary Ells. Ivan and Dianne picked me up when I flew into Toronto and kept me sheltered and fed like a king (did you see that 40' motorhome!) during the contest. Harry and Rosemary put a roof over my head and transportation back to the airport on the last day. Without great people like this helping those who travel out it would not be nearly as fun or feasible to do!

For more pictures visit these sites,