Rest day today, due to rain and occasional thunderstorms. Second half of the competition begins tomorrow.
We were invited to a cookout dinner tonight by the Australian team, who occupy the house next to ours. Team Captain Alan Barnes played the role of chief chef tonight, and augmented his considerable barbecue skills with this story from his days as a serious hang glider pilot:
A good cross-country flight ended with Alan looking for a safe landing field (“paddock”, in Australian). The best in view was low and flat, with one shade tree near the center but plenty of room for a hang glider to land. On short final, too late for a change of plans, he noticed a large animal standing under the tree. He was concerned it might be a bull, but it proved to be something more formidable: a huge male buffalo. The animal quickly approached with a notably unfriendly demeanor, and the situation was looking bad. The nearest fence was much too far away for any hope of a clean escape.
Trying hard to think of some plan that might lead to a good outcome, Alan hit on the idea of music. The song that popped into his head was “She’ll Be Comin’ Round The Mountain”, and he rendered this enthusiastically, in the best voice he could manage. It proved an inspired choice: buffalo apparently are musically inclined, and in return for the song this one allowed Alan to make his way to the fence line, unmolested.
Leigh’s connection to soaring and competition is through her husband, SZ, for whom she’s crewed for 44 years. She’s a passionate supporter of the US Teams and loves contest reporting. She currently resides in both Steamboat Springs, Co. and Greenville, SC.