Saturday, July 07, 2018

Out of Season Meet, and 3 Years on the Track

This morning, there was an out of season meet for local athletes.  It was an opportunity to see how well our winter training is going.  The past week has seen a bit of a busy period, with the commencement of gym training, in addition to the usual throws and track training.

Yesterday was cross country.  After running the 3km course for all of the season so far, I opted to work on speed and run the 1km instead.  Finished it in 3:46, which was the fastest time on the course, and a middle of the field finish for the handicap.  With difficult weather conditions, some stiffness from the gym, and some on course challenges, I was happy with that time.

Today’s program started with the 100 metres.  I got a great start and finished in 13.51, without overdoing things.  Next was high jump.  Here, I jumped a PB of 1.30m.  Not bad for an event I’ve never really trained!

I decided to pull out of the triple jump, as a minor niggle in my left heel, from last week’s training, started to flare up, and decided on the cautious approach.  That meant a bit of a rest before the 400m.  Due to the cold conditions, I warmed up again.  Now, the heel flared up in the cold.  I tried a test run in spikes, acceleration was good, but as soon as I transitioned into a 400m cruise, it was no  good.  Only thing I could do was scratch from the race. :(

My final event was the shot put.  In cold, showery and blustery conditions, I managed a PB of around 6.4 metres with my first throw.  The other two weren’t as good.

Finished the day as an official (the spiker) for the hammer throw.  My job was to mark where the hammers landed, so the throws could be measured.

This weekend pretty marks 3 years since I took up athletics.  On July 4 of that year, I ran my first cross country, and on July 12, I ran my first track meet.  Things have certainly changed since then. :)

- Tony via Tumblr

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Up Up and Away!

You may be wondering about the recent videos of glider flying on this blog.  That was actually unintentional, triggered by my content distribution systems, but I will take the advantage to explain.

Yesterday, I had the privilege of taking a couple of flights in a twin seat glider with the Bendigo Gliding Club.  A friend of mine has been a glider pilot for many decades, and he had been offering to take me up for a while, but as always, life gets in the way, between sporting and community commitments.  The school holidays provided a small window of opportunity to go for a flight.

Anyway, conditions were perfect for an introduction to the sport.  With a high pressure system right on top of us, conditions were clear and almost calm, with a wind of only a couple of knots, barely enough to move the windsock at the airfield.

I arrived around 2PM, as arranged, and the first thing was a bit of a safety briefing, from runway safety (not unlike safety around the track on training nights!), to various procedures, and an introduction to how the flight controls worked.  As I have had an interest in aviation for most of my life, this was fairly easy to follow.  There was also a bit of paperwork, as you’d expect.

Next, it was time to get prepared.  First, the parachute was fitted (this is standard practice in many clubs here), then I was strapped into the back seat.  The pilot then did his routine pre-flight checks before boarding and getting ready for take off.

The take off was bumpy and noisy, because of the grass runway, but once we left the ground, it was smooth, with the engine noise of the tow plane audible.  We remained on tow until about 3000 feet, where we separated from the tow plane and started gliding properly.  Conditions were very calm, and I took the opportunity to get the phone out and take a number of pictures, which quickly became dozens. :)  From this vantage point, one could see the local area in detail, and the mountains of the Great Dividing Range in the distance.

Meanwhile, the atmosphere was calm, and the sound of the air rushing past the outside of the glider was surprisingly similar to the background noise in a jet airliner, and it was easy to forget that we were running without an engine.

All too soon, it was time to land, and we made an approach and lined up for the runway, like any other aircraft.  Landing was smooth, except for the bumpiness of the runway, where we simply rolled to a stop.  Now it was time to unclip the harness and parachute and exit the aircraft, before the glider was towed back the the take off area.

Afterwards, we chatted, and I took the opportunity to take a video of another take off in the same glider from alongside the runway (posted here before).  After that flight landed, there was time for one more flight, so I got to go up again.  This time, I took video of the take off and landing, as well as more photos.  It was another smooth and uneventful flight, but the lower angle of the sun allowed different features to be seen from the air.

After the landing,everything was packed up, then we proceeded to the clubhouse for a quick coffee. 

The gliding was not just a great experience, but also a bucket list item that my first (and late) partner had put on the list, when he described his experience in a glider to me around 25 years ago, which he had before we met in 1991.  I remember him saying “If you ever get the opportunity to go up in a glider, do it”.  Well now, I’m pleased to say I have done it, and it was every bit as amazing as he described.

Gliding is definitely a sport that has a lot to offer, especially for those with an interest in becoming commercial pilots.  It’s also one of those experiences everyone should try at least once.

- Tony via Tumblr

Glider landing, taken from the back seat.

Glider landing, taken from the back seat.

- Tony via Tumblr

Take off in a twin seat glider, taken onboard.

Take off in a twin seat glider, taken onboard.

- Tony via Tumblr

View of the twin seat PW6 glider taking off at Raywood, taken...

View of the twin seat PW6 glider taking off at Raywood, taken from alongside the runway. I flew as a passenger in this glider before and after the flight in this video.

- Tony via Tumblr