Here is a brief synopsis of my Condor flight with the ghosts of the top three finishers on Day 7 of the Sky Battle Cup 2010.
At first I flew west of the start line much as we had done during the actual race. After gaining about 11,000 or 12,000 feet I flew south across the valley and explored the valley heading west that you had explored that day. Like you, I flew up as far as I could and then back tracked. As I was re-gaining altitude near the entrance of that valley on the southeast facing slope (remember the wind was from about 200 degrees), suddenly MOW popped into view way above me on the other side of the dead end valley. I tried to gain enough altitude to join him but suddenly he disappeared out of range again.
At this point I flew back to the start area and from there, ventured south where there is a strong ridge facing the wind. I discovered excellent lift there and worked it quickly to good altitude.
Then suddenly MOW reappeared working the same ridge! By this time, well over an hour of the 90 minute start window had passed. I stayed with him, at times a little ahead, sometimes a little behind. Finally I followed him to the start and thought that this would be his official start, but he remain above the max start altitude of 9,100 feet and we both returned to the ridge again. We both re-gained some altitude and finally returned for the real start with only a few minutes to spare before the start window deadline. He plunged at high speed for the southern corner of the line, did a high speed 180 and was off back to the same ridge. I followed him pretty well but after I crossed the line I let myself lose too much altitude. I caught back up with him on the ridge but I was always a few hundred feet below him and then suddenly he disappeared!
In the mean time, I had passed NX (# 2 in day 7) heading for the start a minute after leaving same. In no time he was up on the ridge with us, so when MOW disappeared, I stayed with NX. After we had gained considerable altitude we headed West. I was alwyas a few hundred feet below him and just barely squeaked over a couple of ridges. Finally, about five or ten minutes south of TP1, he headed up a narrow gully. I tried to follow him but didn’t have enough altitude and had to turn back and gain some of same. After making several attempts to get over the terrain, it was getting late so I gave up. I want to try again tonight! And by the way, we crossed the start only a few minutes before the 90 minute start window! NG must have been within about 30 seconds of making in time!