Episode 36- Nick Neynens and the art of Vol Biv

Nick celebrates finishing the X-Alps

Nick Neynens began paragliding a decade ago after his love of the mountains drew him to the sport. In 2015 he capped off a passionate and steep trajectory of flying a lot of vol-biv around the world with a 10th place finish in the Red Bull X-Alps. He famously did a lot of the race in sandals and shunned any kind of formal physical training before the race. By flying incredibly creative lines, staying positive, and having a ton of fun Nick charged from the back of the pack after a tough first day to making goal in Monaco. In this episode we explore the world of vol-biv, talk about Nick’s experience in the X-Berg and X-Pyr races and of course his X-Alps experience. Nick recently became a full-time meteorologist and we talk about how his weather knowledge has helped his own flying, including recently breaking the open distance record in New Zealand. I invite you to check out Nick’s flying blog, ShareMyJoys– it’s filled with fantastic reports of flying in the high mountains of the world and his own very unique take on this incredible sport we all love. His approach to flying and training isn’t traditional, but it clearly works and his positive and fun attitude is contagious in the best of ways. He also gives some great trips if you’re keen on heading out on your first vol-biv trip. You’re going to enjoy this one.

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Show Notes:

  • Nick talks about how he got into vol-biv and some of his expeditions around the world.
  • Training for the X-Alps- an unorthodox approach.
  • Why New Zealand is one of his favorite places to fly.
  • Wing choice- choose your weapon
  • Ground handling- we revisit this most essential skill
  • How Nick’s meteorology background is impacting his flying
  • Where to begin flying vol-biv and tips for people doing it for the first time
  • Injuries- how to avoid them.
  • X-Alps- justifying the risk
  • Should you fly with a vario? Instruments discussion and how they can get in the way.
  • The importance of being in a good headspace- can you find it?
  • What separates the elite from the rest? Why are some people so much better? The importance of reflection for progression.
  • Nick’s most memorable flight.
  • Mentioned in this episode: Cross Country Magazine, Hugh Miller, Ed Ewing, Tom Lines, Louis Tapper, X-Berg, X-Pyr, Ferdinand Van Shelven, Chrigel


Nick sending in New Zealand

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Speaker 1 (00:00:04):
Speaker 2 (00:00:04):
are there everybody welcome to another episode of the cloud based mayhem. Got a great show for you today. I'm on the road right now. Started in Vancouver a few days ago and I'm going to end in a while, hopefully San Diego if we can get a venue here in a couple of days, but just been showing North to known some to some great audiences along the way. It's been really fun to see people light up and just kind of films blown people's minds and that's, that's really fun. It was a project we worked really hard on for a long time and cross country magazine, a ed Ewing and a humility are, are putting together another little short tour for me in the UK. So those of you who, uh, listen to the show and, and live in the UK, uh, keep an eye on that, on my Facebook page and cross country's Facebook page and the interwebs, uh, be coming over there the weekend of the 8th of April, uh, for a few shows and we're actually going to do a clinic up at a jockey Sanderson's flight park a little day with me in the air and talking about Bev and the [inaudible] and some of that stuff.
Speaker 2 (00:01:02):
So that should be really fun. One little bit of housekeeping. Um, I have been hearing on the road and from a few of you in emails, uh, that we need to work on our sound levels. Um, we know we're having that problem when I do these interviews on the other end. Uh, people are on Skype and it can be just really tricky, like if they move around or, uh, in any way, we know we have that problem and we're working really hard on it and I think we're going to solve it. Uh, I'm also going to be sending out microphones to future guests, so they've got a good mix on their end before we even do the podcast. So thank you for that feedback. Uh, the other thing I just wanted to mention was that we take your comments and your suggestions for, uh, other podcasts, people to come on the show, other guests, uh, very, very seriously.
Speaker 2 (00:01:51):
So please reach out. Uh, I tried to get back personally to every single person that, that, that emails in. So if you've got a question or a something that hasn't been answered on the podcast or a guest you really want to see on the show, yeah, for sure. Reach out, let me know. Uh, let's go ahead and get right into this one. Uh, in the last X Alps, I, uh, got the opportunity to do some training with nicknames, nickname Kiwi and a New Zealand. And he did really well on the race. Had a brutal start. I think he was first off the Hill there at the Guisborough and uh, I was leading the, leading the punched out to the, the first way point at doc Stein. And then he had a problem with his wing. So he top landed and I think he was, uh, either last or way off the back, uh, at the end of the first day and he crawled back and made some awesome moves and uh, came in 10th and he has a very untraditional style.
Speaker 2 (00:02:46):
Like I did this guy style, you know, a lot of the ex Alps he did and jandals and for those of us in the States over here, sandals, I think like a pair of Crocs or something, uh, had a very untraditional approach to, and by that I mean he just kind of tramped through the woods, but I don't think he had any real strict training regimen going into the race. Uh, he flies very creative lines. He's got deep, passionate love for his, a home country of New Zealand. He's also a meteorologist and he, he got into flying just cause he loves spending time in the mountains and the, he goes out and does some, some pretty neat things. I think he broke the record this year for distance or triangle distance in New Zealand and he's a, he's back for more this time around in the [inaudible], which I was kinda surprised at.
Speaker 2 (00:03:34):
I didn't think that that was going to be kind of his, his thing. He seems to just, uh, just enjoy flying and not really counting the numbers and not racing and, and uh, but he's back for another go at the X house. And I thought it'd be really fun to sit down with him. Uh, a friend of his Tom line two he was doing some flying with in Australia, sent me an email a while back. I've had several people like Tom asked to get Nick on the show because he's a, yeah, he's got, he's just got a different approach. So we get into some of those approaches and, and uh, how he used flying and safety and he's flown all over the world. So he gives us some beta on where, where folks should go to do their first bowl bibs. And yeah, I think you're gonna really enjoy this. Nick's a fascinating character and he's a, he's really creative in the air. I saw that before we flew in the XLS together and then, uh, certainly during the race, I don't think we ever saw each other actually during the race, but he made some really, really incredible moves to get back from where he was to where he ended up. So without further ado, please enjoy this conversation with nickname.
Speaker 1 (00:04:45):
Speaker 3 (00:04:46):
gosh, it's awesome to have you on the show and a in incredibly, I don't think I've seen you since the first day of the X helps. It's, it's hard to imagine that you and I raced all the way across the spine of that, uh, that entire mountain range and, and never really saw each other. I saw you top land brilliantly on that first day and, uh, got yourself in a, in a pretty, in a tough situation those first few days. And then, man, you came roaring back. Uh, congratulations for that. And uh, I'm sure we'll be talking about the ex helps, but, um, before we get into it, where are you and what are you doing these days?
Speaker 4 (00:05:23):
So I'm in Sydney, I've just moved here and I've started my job as a meteorologist, which I did training for last year in Melbourne. So yeah, it's obviously something that's interesting to me as a Paraguard a pilot and it's given me a chance to learn about it in more detail. So yeah, as I've been paragliding bet 10 years now, so I know a lot of the marker meteorology stuff from experience, but it's good to get another perspective and I've got that actually with flying with a cell phone pole and in New Zealand a few years ago, which really helped me improve my flying. But yeah, this is, I'm doing through this mathematics and looking at a wide area. So that's been interesting.
Speaker 3 (00:06:08):
Yeah. You know, I've got to, I've got to read something to you that, uh, you know Tom lines, I think a friend of yours was, was the one that really reached out a few months ago and he said, God man, you got to get Nick on the show, which I've kind of wanted to do anyway just to get your perspectives, cause I know you, your approach to paragliding is, is a much different I think than, than most. We'll talk about that. But uh, in his email, and this is gonna make you blush, I, I know you're a very humble character, but uh, that dude consent it and look as casual as a Palm tree and pajamas while being as humble as the Sandy walks on. He flies bull bib with nothing but his flip flops and a kilogram of cheese. He doesn't eat the cheese, just ages it. Some say he can photosynthesize others say he was raised by wild yet really relaxed and true to themselves. Albatross. He runs a catch and release programs for you, runs a catch and release program for thermals that have run away from home. I just loved that. So your, uh, your background in, in, in your, uh, passion for meteorology must, must help you, uh, catch these thermals that are runaway from home.
Speaker 4 (00:07:16):
Yeah, that's a, I don't know. You're so creative. Yeah. We share a driver to, to bright. So, um, got a chance to chat with him on those long Australian drugs.
Speaker 3 (00:07:25):
Yeah. Try, try it. Miss the kangaroos. [inaudible]
Speaker 4 (00:07:28):
about being humble that that's before the XL. Now I'm pretty full of myself.
Speaker 3 (00:07:35):
Yeah, it does that a little bit, doesn't it?
Speaker 4 (00:07:40):
I think I need another Excel to put me back in my place.
Speaker 3 (00:07:43):
There you go. Yeah, exactly. I'm sure it's a [inaudible] I'm sure it gives us a little bit of, uh, everything. Well, we're going to have that opportunity here in a few months and uh, what I'd, I'd love to talk about, you know, for those who don't know much of your history, you know, we were talking before we hit the record here that you got into flying to really explore the mountains in New Zealand. Can you kind of expand on that and how that all, what was the impetus?
Speaker 4 (00:08:08):
Yeah. So like when I was in Switzerland, walking to the ups with Deb when I was a young teenager, we told Parago ours, but I don't remember like kind of what I thought about it at that point. And I remember even climbing up Mount earns or New Zealand years and years ago, I was probably in my late teens. Then we saw this German guy with a huge backpack coming down the mountain. And uh, yeah, he, he had a pair of bottle within and what sort of, or even click then and reading uh, Ted story, um, from years ago he wrote about seeing Paraguard is in Nelson in New Zealand and thinking that it'd be a great thing and you should take it up one day. But yeah, I don't know what I thought about it, those points. But back in 2006, I thought, you know, I've done a lot of back country hiking or we call it a tramping in New Zealand and some of the Bush there is pretty, pretty rough going.
Speaker 4 (00:09:04):
Like one time I spent half an hour going 30 meters, kind of like swimming upwards through the Bush. So to be able to fly over the Bush and cut it out like a day of hard labor with a really nice clod is kind of the idea that got me into it. And so I had to look on the internet and I saw that these Paraguard is only way like five or six kilos and I almost couldn't believe it. So I rang up the local instructor in Southeast Queensland and uh, went then on my motorbike a couple of years, um, from where I was living for an hour and a half, had a chat to him for, I think it was most of the morning and basically decided to do it. Then I learned and basically I just jumped in both feet. I didn't, uh, didn't really need to try it out. I sort of knew that I'd do it. So I just signed up to the course, um, bought gear and start applying.
Speaker 3 (00:09:59):
And did you, you know, just from, from knowing you and flying with you before, you know, you, you and I did a little bit of training together before the ex Alps and then just watching, you know, I was, I'm working on this book about the experience there and it was really fun after the race to go back through and watch all of us, you know, cause they, you could, you could kind of replay the whole thing. You made some really brilliant moves and, but I, I gather that your real passion is kind of volt. If it's not, it's not necessarily competition. Is that correct? My, my right there.
Speaker 4 (00:10:31):
Yeah, for sure. Um, I think I'd like competitions if I did better in them.
Speaker 3 (00:10:37):
Speaker 4 (00:10:39):
Now that would be the great thing about Bowlby is that like for me, it's kind of being able to get the most out of the day. And when you're in a competition, you kind of sitting on a hillside and you're only flying in that peak time of the day, like the, you know, early, mid afternoon when the thermals are strong enough and all this kind of thing. But some of my best and most memorable flights are being really late in the evening or just early morning glides and yeah, like some days they're not flyable generally, but there are periods where you can fly here and there. So what's great about Volbeat is that you, you sort of got sunrise to sunset or Dawn to dusk to today. You're flying around other than that, just shorter afternoon period. And the other thing is that I'd much rather be hiking through the mountains with the wing, not being able to fly than sitting on a Hill talking to depressed Paragon politics about when the weather is going to change.
Speaker 3 (00:11:39):
Very, very good point. And you, you live in a, in a part of the world. I know New Zealand, well I've spent a lot of time down there. The weather changes radically fast to like it did on us in, in Alaska and uh, yeah, you're right. And to stay sane I think. Got to grab it when you can.
Speaker 4 (00:11:55):
Yeah, for sure. And sometimes the five minute flight is all the things you need, you know. And just with cross country, we kind of reduce the line to an number sometimes how many Ks you flew and if you find the same kind of route and you don't go as far, then it's, yeah, it's maybe hard to keep out beta Bella, but when you're doing probably even you just have a short flight off of Manhattan. It just like, it's a memory that you'll never forget kind of thing. So
Speaker 3 (00:12:21):
yeah, I think, I think some of those short flights like that were what was for me and there were a lot of special things about the X helps with those short flights were really big. Boy, they can be neat. You know, you just get these tiny little whiffs of, of perfection and even if they're really, they're really short or they just, they're like the saving grace of that race, isn't it? I mean, they just, they reset everything and they make you, they let you forget your pain and the hurts and, and uh, uh, they're really special.
Speaker 4 (00:12:47):
Yeah, totally. When you assign, that just reminded me of my first, uh, like X event, which is, I'm the expert organized both one of the previous, um, accepts competitors peer from South Africa. And that was through the Dragon's Berg and it was six days and it was quite amazing. Like I flew every day, several flights every day and of all my flights, I never flew more than 10 Ks. So you'd think that that'd be a terrible comp if you can't even pull a 10 case. But actually the flights were really amazing. They made a huge difference. And uh, it also was like an amazing adventure. Like I just, at the end of it, I thought, that's amazing. I wanna do something like that again.
Speaker 3 (00:13:31):
Nick, your, your, your kind of passion for Volbella is, I think you and I share a lot of that. My, my first big one that I did across the Sierra is with, uh, Nick grease and those guys at the end of it, I was just super ecstatic. One day we weren't actually quite done. And, and I was, I was interviewing Nick and I was saying, you know, don't, don't you think everybody should be doing this? And he was like, dude, are you fucking crazy? No. It's like, cause he was talking about the, the risks, you know, we were, cause we were, we were flying. I guess it's kind of, you know, you're flying at the upper limit of, of what paragliders can do at times. You know, I mean, of course you can pick your days and that kind of thing. But, um, I, I, you know, knowing you and, and what you're willing to fly in and what we were all flying in and the X Alps, how would you recommend people that haven't done an eval? Bev, you know, what, what's the progression there? What's the, you know, when you think back about how you got into it, you know, cause in the beginning you're, you're, it's demanding your, your top landing, your, your landing in really tight spots. You're often landing in conditions that are not ideal. Like you're talking about. It's not the middle of the day competition type flying where it's perfect. It's, you know, it's between storm systems, it's in heavy wind. How would you recommend people, you know, stick their toe in the water?
Speaker 4 (00:14:49):
Yeah, well I remember when I first my paragliding instructor feel high-stake I said I went down and had a chat with him months before I started. I signed up for the course and I am alerted to him that I wanted to go fly in the mountains in New Zealand and would it be possible? And he basically said, first you gotta learn how to fly very a stern instructor and known for scaring his students at times. But that was probably good for me, you know? So yeah, I, I did get to New Zealand six months after, you know, first signing up for the course and yeah, it was pretty, uh, intense that first summer. It was amazing. Like I still remember the flights of course. Yeah. I guess that first few years applying I was not doing nice and cross countries, but I was learning a lot of the other skills that you need in the mountains, like safe launches, safe landings, did heaps of ground handling and reading the meteorology.
Speaker 4 (00:15:48):
So like, you know, reading the Skype or figuring out what's going on. Like I've always like before meteorology or before doing the course last year, I still knew a lot about meteorology from reading and kind of figuring everything out through physics. Like it's all physics, right? So trying to understand things and figuring it all out and then getting a chance to test those things over and over again. But in terms of cross countries wasn't doing anything amazing. And I remember thinking that probably it would have been beneficial to do more coastal flooding actually in when I was learning because you get a lot better value in terms of time in the air and time on the wing times of figuring out how to control the wing. Because at the start when you learn, there's a lot of different things to think about and you want to have as many of them completely automatic as possible.
Speaker 4 (00:16:42):
And we'd spend all day trying to go to an inland site and sometimes you don't even fly at all. I remember going to a site in Southeast Queensland and those five top pilots there, and we all sat on the Hill all day because even good buys get the conditions were on some homes, but if you're on the coast, you know you can fly and if you bomb out, you walk up the Hill, it takes two minutes. So it's a better way to get into it. But yeah, I flew the same school winning the, the old Balero plus, um, that I learnt on for two years, so really long time. And in that time I'd done ball bibs in New Zealand and the Alps, like it wasn't going very far, but I was learning all those other skills and yeah, I guess that's one of the things that helped me progress is to get a new wing, but basically it was more focused on traveling and learning rather than, uh, you know, buying gear and all that kind of stuff.
Speaker 3 (00:17:39):
Yeah. You mentioned in your, in your blog posts, which I invite the listeners to go check out, it's called share my joyce.wordpress.com there's some, some really good writing there. Um, in your, your blog post about the training for the 2015X outs. It has some really fascinating stuff in it. And I think one of the things that jumps out, at least to me is when you're talking about training, you know, I think of training for the [inaudible], the physical, uh, of course there's way more important as the flying side, but, but you, you really elaborate on, you know, uh, the value of flying without instruments, the value of ground handling, the value of learning how to land in a tight spot. You mentioned before we started that you, you spent a couple years off, you took a couple years off and just did as much flying as you could. When did it kind of occur to you to that the [inaudible] ops was a possibility?
Speaker 4 (00:18:36):
Yeah, so before I took that two years off, I was, I would say my skills aside from CrossCountry, we were very good. I mean, I've done obviously cross countries, but nothing spectacular like a New Zealand nose flying under the 50 case most of the time. And, uh, in that two years, I really improved my cross country skills, probably partly to do with the, the amazing wing, which is, you know, the best wing in the world to that kind of thing. The first event I did was the X Burg, which was in the drug Ensberg in South Africa as I mentioned before. And that was basically like a convenient thing because I had a mate in Cape town who I stayed with for part of the month and later on there was that event. So it just tied in with my plans pretty well and it was a good chance to get out and see the place when it's semi-organized like any competition.
Speaker 4 (00:19:29):
But yeah, this was a XL style competition and yeah, it was just amazing fun. So I put together all my skills and there was something new. It was like a defined purpose. So sometimes I find involved with that. I'm not exactly sure, uh, what I'm trying to do. And sometimes decision making, like, should you take off or should you keep your heart or should you have a meal or should you just keep walking? It's kind of hard to do, but with, if you've got a set goal in mind to get to the other end, then it kind of means it's easier in terms of decision making. You just got to keep going. There's still lots of decisions to make, but at least, um, it takes some of that away. So yeah, that was really fun. And I found that, I think it was the first or second night I was walking up a road in the dark and I thought, actually, I quite enjoy this.
Speaker 4 (00:20:24):
I never thought I'd enjoy walking on the road, but maybe, uh, something like the XL would be fun after. Also, I didn't commit in my head to doing the XL, so at that point, but I did straight away sign up for the X pier as soon as I finished the race and one of the other guys who was in that race sign up for the XP, but he had to pull out. So, um, he told me who to contact and I got accepted and the ex peer was amazing as well. So after the X pier, I thought, well, maybe it is possible to have fun in a race like the XL after all, because I had heard, I mean, I've obviously followed the Excel two four and you do see a lot of people that seem like they're struggling a bit and Craig will seems like he's having an amazing time. But some of the other guys, they seem like you're really going through it with a, you know, blisters and sore legs and what was kind of things there
Speaker 3 (00:21:13):
and you're, you know, you're a, I have to say, it seemed like at least unless you were just faking it, your, your approach, uh, in terms of the lead up I think was quite untraditional if, do you want to share thoughts on that?
Speaker 4 (00:21:28):
Well, yeah. Yeah, I would say that. Yeah. So when I first got accepted back in November, you know, seven months before the race, I thought, I'll sign up for all these insurance events and all this kind of thing. And then after a couple of months I thought, nah, nah, I'm just gonna keep doing what I'm doing. And I remember talking to 30, you know, the Dutch Xcel sky. And, um, I just asked him, I sent him a message, said, what's the story? Like what do I need to do for XLS? And he wrote back saying, if you're like an average key where you'll be fit enough, just go fly 200 Ks in New Zealand. I'm like, okay, fair enough. And pretty much ran with that.
Speaker 3 (00:22:11):
Yeah. That's, I think that's his approach. And he does pretty well every time, doesn't he?
Speaker 4 (00:22:16):
Yeah, it's pretty consistent. Yeah. Oh, lucky enough, being, spending most of my life, like doing tramping trips on and off here and there in my holidays and whatever. So I've got a lot of good fitness from that and I've seen a lot of the guys in the XLS. Um, you know, when I was following years before I did it myself and I was talking to my, uh, neighbor, uh, Mark, the farmer in New Zealand who, um, was looking at the XLS as well. And it's going to, it looks like none of these, a lot of these guys have never really gone for a walk before. So it's not like I've gone in cold. It's, it's just they haven't had a structured training program and basically my training is being tramping. So when you're tramping it's kind of a lot of time, it's sort of off the track.
Speaker 4 (00:23:01):
But I guess I don't know if that helps at all, but there's a lot of decision making involved in when you're in the Hills in New Zealand. So like you've got to, you've got to have a big picture, you can't just follow the signs kind of thing. So I think that helps a lot. You got to be able to read a map, you've got to manage you, your body basically. And I've always had the attitude of me and my body are on the same team. There's no need to write through any pain barriers or anything. Like we're actually working on this together. So I try to listen to my body and on the other hand, my body's pretty patient with me as well.
Speaker 3 (00:23:36):
So [inaudible] in the lead up to the last one, you, you kind of had this two years off and I understand now, you know, you've got this full time job. Is your approach going into this one? Any, any different or desires goals? Is the X apps just purely, you just want to have fun?
Speaker 4 (00:23:56):
Yeah. So that having fun was kind of the goal of last time. But last time I had it in my head that yeah, this might be their only chance I've got. So I probably should think about, you know, doing everything the right way and not regretting it later on. And uh, yeah, Louis was an amazing supporter. He, uh, he put a lot of effort into it and he was pretty thorough and uh, it was pretty professional approach that we had. But after the XLS, I went to South America and, um, sometimes I don't know how I managed to travel at all, so totally disorganized. I'd just like get out of the bus. I would have had a look at the map, but I've got like a map of, you know, the end is just not, not a lot of detail in it. And I'll just think, Oh I could probably fly from there.
Speaker 4 (00:24:47):
And then I have a look at my, uh, RX maps, some my phone and see if I can walk from a road to a launch and then I'd just go to some random place and now I'm up in fly. And sometimes it worked and it was amazing. And that's kind of what I'm going for this time is where you're invest even less than to it. And you can still sometimes manage to get an amazing payoff and it kind of feels like you're getting something for nothing. Like for me, paragliding is a sport where you, you kind of, it's a good sport for Tyler. Like if you're a tight ass, cause you can basically get high for free. So you can use nature's energy to your advantage. And it's a sport where you can carry everything on your backpack. You're not reliant on anyone. You don't, uh, need to get a helicopter to launch or you can just go out on your own.
Speaker 4 (00:25:38):
So that's one of the beauties of the sport. So to be able to invest nothing into it but like just jump out of a bus and if it doesn't work, get back in the bus. You haven't lost anything that's really attractive to me. So that's kind of what I'm going for. This X helps, I'm still gonna make sure that I am prepared enough to have a good time but I don't need to structure it so much. And as I said, I'm quite full of myself so I think I can pull it off but we'll see.
Speaker 3 (00:26:03):
And then we'll, we'll Louis beer supporter again.
Speaker 4 (00:26:06):
Louis is probably going to be lots of help but I'm thinking of making it a much smaller event and just getting my family involved actually. And in a way like it's good to have people who aren't too involved just so they can relax cause I think the most dangerous part of the XL is actually the driving. I'm sure there's been a lot of near misses with a lot of the supporters just because they're so fatigued and distracted, but the tracking and everything else that's going on and um, it's easy to lose track of yeah. The, that you're on a dangerous road. So yeah, that's, that's kind of like one of the biggest worries. And I think it's important for the supporters to make sure they put themselves first and support you as a secondary thing. Cause if they can't, you know, if they're struggling to stay awake or they're running out of juice or whatever, then they're not coming in much help to anyone.
Speaker 3 (00:27:04):
Hmm. Yeah. It's, it's really intense on them that the truly the unsung heroes are, isn't it? That's a tough go for sure. So one of the things that I, I'd been kind of battling with going into this one is I, you know, I had shoulder surgery in October, so I haven't, you know, I had all these flying plans this winter and, and Colombia and Mexico and Brazil and stuff that I canceled because of the shoulder surgery. And I'm just now being able to start to fly again. It sounds like, uh, you're in a similar boat but not because of an injury, but because of your job. Is there any, are you worried about at all about not having as much time under your belt as you did last time? Cause I know last time you said you were, you had basically two years off and you were flying a ton.
Speaker 4 (00:27:42):
Yeah. So that is a big difference for sure. Um, I remember that I had what I still have in Southeast Queensland complaining about not being current and all that kind of thing. So I was thinking about that. I spent a year in Antarctica and when I came back I got that when you wing, never find a day before, come down and say, and just got straight into it. And I thought I'd blow this currency thing out of the water. And yeah, I think obviously it's mostly in your head paragliding. So yeah, have tested that theory again by hardly flying at all last year. And then I still had a reasonable summer in New Zealand. I mean, the problem was there was plenty of wind, but I think when I flew I flew quite well. So I don't think it really matters so much that I haven't flown is as long as you think it doesn't matter. It's like the elephant, uh, Dumbo flying, you know, the story.
Speaker 3 (00:28:39):
Of course. Yeah. I like that. Just trick yourself. Yeah. Yeah. You mentioned earlier the, the best wing in the world. What, what, what, when you fly in, you, you on the LM five [inaudible].
Speaker 4 (00:28:53):
Yeah, so that was, um, at the time, like the, the wing that dominated the [inaudible]. So I'd watch the XL from Antarctica and thought, yep, that kind of suits me because it's a wing that's designed for conditions and yeah, it's for the type of flying that I want to be doing. So I kind of stepped up after a year of not flying, but I think it was made sense, like I was going to get a lot of time pretty quick anyway, so, yeah.
Speaker 3 (00:29:19):
Mmm. And so that's what we'd be on that are the six, I guess, in this race.
Speaker 4 (00:29:24):
Oh gosh. I have no idea what's going on. Mr you think it'd be an easy decision? Like last time we kind of lifted a bit light and we didn't get the wing till just before the event. So I don't really want that to happen again, but yeah, we've got to figure it out soon. So yeah, at the moment I've been trying to get my computer running and sort out some other stuff. Like I'm a little bit this organized, but that's on the list of things to figure out. For sure.
Speaker 3 (00:29:50):
You uh, you mentioned in your blog, uh, the importance of, of ground handling. Um, how did you, how did, how do you approach that and do you still, is that, is that still a big part of your kind of routine?
Speaker 4 (00:30:05):
So when we learned that was emphasized that we had to ground him a lot. One of the places I really got to ground hand a lot was a little site an hour North of Brisbane called the playground where it's kind of really small and friendly and there's loads of places you can land. And sometimes I take off and land 30 seconds later, like on the launch and, and you could just, you know, there's a sea breeze in the afternoon, just little thermals and you can just muck around. And often I'd have more fun actually ground handling them. Fine. Like it's, it's really quite fun. So uh, yeah, grant handle might swing the other day down at the beach just well on the grass to get the sand out. Yeah, it is really fun. Like just manipulating it to, to get exactly what you want. But actually since getting the LM five, which is lightweight wing, I haven't really done any ground handling apart from like naturally when I'm pulling the wing up to launch.
Speaker 4 (00:31:05):
So I don't actually go out and practice it anymore. But it's still like I've still got it. Uh, the reason I don't practice it is cause I don't want to wear out the wing, but I'm actually getting in Enzo soon. So that might be fun to ground handle. Uh, yeah, I do. I do love ground handling and it's again, it's one of those things, it can be a lot better value than flying if you're spending hours to drive to a site sitting on the Hill when it's too windy and then driving home again, you might be better off just going to the park and ground handling for a couple of hours.
Speaker 3 (00:31:36):
When you, when you think about flying these days, uh, given the, the job that you have now, what's, you know, what's kind of, obviously the apps are in your future, but what has you kind of excited about flying? Or what are you thinking about, um, doing either between now and the X apps or in after like, you know, reading your blog, you, you spent some time in the Indian Himalaya, you did some really cool flying, which I want to ask you about in the caucuses cause that's been kind of on my radar for a while. South America, you've been to a lot of really neat places to fly. Is that still a, those kinds of things still right up there for you? Or is it more your job right now?
Speaker 4 (00:32:19):
Yeah, for sure. There's still loads of places to go to and um, a lot of places that are, you'd think that you'd be back in a couple of years, but it takes a lot longer. Like India for example, I revisited, but it took me, I don't know, eight years or something to get back to it. But um, yeah, definitely came to do a lot more stuff. But yeah, I am focusing on the job at the moment. That two years was a bit of a sort of break to get it out of my system. Yeah, it was great fun. But part of the audio was to go to the places that are a little bit less successful and that you need to spend a bit longer to go to. So yeah. Um, the biggest, I remember the first time I went to South America, which is just before I learned to fly, you know, it's a really big continent and takes a long time to get around.
Speaker 4 (00:33:09):
And I thought this is all pretty cool, but in terms of nature, we've pretty much got it all in New Zealand and it's so close and yeah, really new Zealand's the place it's got me most excited about flying lately. Like all last year I was planning flights, new lines to do in New Zealand in the summer. And even now I'm thinking of a sneaky little trip next month. So it's kind of the most accessible place for me where I live to go and fly. But there's definitely a lot of places to explore around the world as well. But kind of it's on the back burner for now of still going to negotiate, getting leave for excels from, from work. So there are kick chill out for a while. Well the caucuses, what was the, what was the mission there and how did it all go down?
Speaker 4 (00:34:03):
So I might, who cycled from London back to Australia with his partner? Uh, he recommended two places for me to go. One was Georgia and the other one was [inaudible]. Uh, I went to both and Georgia was quite convenient for me because someone, uh, basically the boyfriend of an ex flap mate that I contacted on Facebook as working there with the red cross and stability. So he said, yeah, come around, you can stay at my place as long as you like. So in true style, I took him up on his offer, whether he meant it or not and uh, yeah, spent basically the month inability and went off to do the side trips here and there. I went there and my, and the weather was really unstable. Like you'd get storms and then the same day you get more storms and more storms. It's crazy. But there was, um, enough, um, good weather in there for me to do some, some great trips and you don't need much time with paragliding. A few hours here or there if you're in the right place, can give you a pretty awesome experience, uh, that, that makes, makes it worthwhile sitting around for a few few days. So, yeah, I had some great flights in, uh, an ETI and the, the kind of West, which is like a little bit more humid than the East and it basically looks the same as Switzerland. Big glaziers green grass and yeah, wild place. The flow. You can see Mount Elbrus in the distance as you flew along. Yeah. A few other flights. Nick has biggie, which is more accessible to the,
Speaker 3 (00:35:38):
maybe give me a list of if, if someone, you know, listening to the show decided, yeah, okay. I want to do, I want to do some vole. Bev, would you, could you give a little five point or list of where you would start and maybe where you would end?
Speaker 4 (00:35:52):
For me, like the Alps is a pretty good place. Like it's very convenient with logistics and if you're not really sure about things, it's kind of a good place to start because you've got lots of, um, exit options. Uh, the Pyrenees is also quite good that there's loads of grassy landings everywhere. As long as you in the deep pair and he's not out in the desert, out in the, you know, the Spanish side of where it gets a bit thorny and, and dry. Yeah, Kyrgyzstan was an amazing place, but you really got to be pretty confident by the time you get there like that it was pretty well conditions. I mean it's different at different times a year I assume. But yeah, so pretty rough here I would say. But there's landings everywhere and it's amazing. Culturally, uh, New Zealand is super remote, but if you know where you're going, you can have some great trips here.
Speaker 4 (00:36:49):
You've also got problems with the weather. But the great thing about New Zealand is, is big wide open valleys. So even if there's a bit of wind around, um, there's often plenty of lending options. Himalaya. Pretty tricky in terms of landings, I guess it depends when you go. We were kind of stuck pretty low most of the time in the uh, yeah, the spring there was a lot of moisture around and a lot of storms and we couldn't get super high. South America at that place is wild. The air is crazy. Uh, in the Andes because it's so dry in the air so thin and the S the sun is trackable that that places I actually had my brake line unsafe cause the air was so active though I'd worn it through.
Speaker 3 (00:37:38):
Yeah. Big strong climbs. Sounds like home.
Speaker 4 (00:37:45):
Like it once I landed before mid day cause it was just like, ah, this is too, too much for me. This is too hardcore. I was getting sucked up like crazy. And then, yeah. Anyway. Yes. Good place. Um, yeah. I don't know. Where else would you go?
Speaker 3 (00:38:03):
Uh, the, I think you just, you, you ticked a lot of them right there. I mean, you know where, where I fly it home is, is probably pretty similar to the Andes. You know, it's uh, it's, it's not a, it's not a, it's not a super kind place to send people for their first Volbella cause you're, you're fighting a couple of things. One is, you know, the, the, you get really high base, you know, we fly with oxygen so that, that's kinda hard to top up on oxygen when you're flying. Folbigg and then, uh, and the, the, the thermals are incredibly strong and there's, there's a quite a lack of, we're in the desert so we're, there's a lack of water. If, if you go in the spring, there's tons of lakes and streams and stuff, but if you go in the fall when it's more reliable or even in the summer, then you know, water becomes an issue. It won't be as much of an issue this year cause we're having a massive snow year. But, so this will be an interesting [inaudible] season. But um, uh, switching gears here a little bit, but, uh, accidents you had any or, uh, had any experience with injuries or silly stuff?
Speaker 4 (00:39:08):
Yeah. After six months of flying in India, I racked up more hours than I had in the previous six months in just a couple of weeks, which was great. But yeah, I was trying to um, push myself a little bit with the cross country, but I think the actual problem was lack of confidence. So basically I freaked out about lending the envelope cause I was hearing them talk about power lines everywhere and I tried to land on this slope landing like a little slot in between the trees and I just kind of flew in and hit the ground pretty hard with my feet and I think I would have broken my back probably four times if I hadn't had the really a strong message from my instructor KPF the landing gear when anywhere near the ground. So yeah, I came out of that with a bruised heel and I was still able to sort of hobble off launch to the next day and fly.
Speaker 4 (00:40:05):
So that was my worst injury for awhile. But I managed to do the same thing again last year on the coast. Just a sort of got a little bit low with, you know, the ocean below and a few cliffs and I freaked out and um, went for the same thing, a bit of a dodgy, safe us ice landing. And really the problem was I think that I didn't round out at the end and if I was completely relaxed I think I would've done better landing. But I just sort of plowed it in cause I was not really confident about where I was at. So yeah, the, the, um, injuries that I've had, the both of them, I was just hobbling around for a bit, but nothing serious. But the other one close calls I've had been crashing into cables in the Alps and that's one of the things I'm most worried about over there. For sure.
Speaker 3 (00:40:57):
Gosh, I did this. Um, I went over there this summer right after Alaska. I went over there just to do some training with, with Bruce and Ben and I, I, I don't think I realized it until I got there, but I, you know, I think Alaska took a lot more out of me than I realized. I think I was on such a high from completing it that I maybe was feeling the kind of adrenaline we do in the ex apps. And so I went over to Europe all happy Larry. And uh, and I got in the air and I, I just, I wasn't feeling it. You know how you, you, you're, you're, uh, you know, when you're just, you're not there. And you know, the in the conditions were not that terrible. I mean, they weren't great. It was windy and it was, you know, it was demanding, but nothing like some of the days in the X ops where I always felt like I had it.
Speaker 3 (00:41:42):
This was a time where I felt like I didn't, and I ended up in a place at the end of one day where I, I literally three or four times, you know, right. One after another, you know, it was the kind of thing where I went over a cable that I didn't see with like six inches of clearance and then went under a cable that I did see with like six inches of clay. I mean it was just like really high, big cables where the outcome would have been horrible and I never, I never even saw him. It just got it and you know you, you train yourself to look for that kind of stuff. But it was like, I don't know if it was, it was cause I was tired or, but yeah, that's, that stuff is scary.
Speaker 4 (00:42:24):
I think it would be scary and I think some of them
Speaker 3 (00:42:27):
it really impossible to say. Yeah, I do too.
Speaker 4 (00:42:32):
Paul, the top of the bottom, you can look at that and further there might be a cable, but some of them just come straight out of the ground. Like they have high bar named brought down from FedEx and there's some trays on the top of the cliff and that just comes straight off the ground level. Like there's no indication at all.
Speaker 3 (00:42:45):
Yeah, that's pretty scary. Those cables that come down there, you know, they're not being used for lifts or anything. They're just the ones that are just almost like hanging down. There's a, I was doing a flight and your interlock and one time very close to airspace. So I was trying to kind of hug the terrain. Same thing. You just, um, note to listeners if you are flying around cables, one hint is to, uh, make sure you don't have polarized sunglasses on. I know I've been told that that's, that makes it a lot worse, but I always fly was polarized sunglasses, so maybe I need to take those [inaudible]. Yeah, I've been told that they, they make them almost invisible. Um, like typing. Yeah. Right, exactly. Yeah. Nick, when, when I got done, when we got to Monaco, uh, and I've talked about this a few times, but you know, when we were sitting around that night in the camp ground, uh, with any, you know, Aaron dirt, God, he was there and Paul Gushi Bauer and Ferdi and, and uh, you know, we were having some beers and we're all in a very good mood of course.
Speaker 3 (00:43:48):
But then we started telling the, you know, the, the, uh, the scary stories and, and it was a real, uh, I think I was on such a high that I was there. I, I'd forgotten about that stuff and I was surprised that everybody, I, I'd had a really bad situation, uh, going over the skier in your VARs, vowels, bars somewhere there, you know, Southern France kind of on that last leg, uh, where I was called a by. Yeah, exactly. I was trying to, uh, I was actually trying to get over one of the little, uh, snowmaking ponds to, to just ditch it and saved my life. I got caught in this terrific downdraft of that. I didn't realize I was in until too late and I was, you know, on the backside of a, bout a 60 kilometer, an hour or more a Valley breeze. It was just really, really, anyway, bad position. So I was relating that story and some of the other guys were relating some, some also really scary stories. Do you, did you have any in the race and, and, and also, you know, how do you, how do you justify something like the X Alps
Speaker 4 (00:44:50):
probably helps having a really bad memory. Yeah. There, there was one time where I was in some super crazier, the first notable thing that happened to me in XL was when I was going backwards on full speed. So that was pretty impressive. But that actually it wasn't a problem because I just sort of pushed to try and get in front of a spur. And as I sank down, the wind picked up, but it was all smooth sort of lemon, a kind of wind and all I had to do was turn around and go back to the previous bear that I've just been on. So we're up and then I was kind of out of the wind again and I could get out of the wind that way. So sometimes, uh, people tell you when you're learning that if the conditions are too rough or strong or whatever thing go land, but in the Alps have adapted that in the XLS, I should say.
Speaker 4 (00:45:48):
Or, or if you're in some verbiage situation cause you didn't get led, led down the garden path with the mountains, they all of a sudden you're in a lot deeper and a more serious situation than you you meant to get into. But uh, yeah, I would say that if the conditions are too rough or strong, then don't land go fly somewhere else. So yeah, that's, that's the ideal. But yeah, another time. Well that's what happened the second time when basically it was really shady. Uh, the day I rounded a Montblanc, uh, so it was really like this like Australia Q in the morning, but it's quite unstable. Um, but everything was shaded out and I was sort of cruising around, uh, taken off near Verbier and um, I was kind of sinking and a little bit and finally the sun came out and the spirit across the Valley and I'm like, yep, I'm going there. So I went there and there was like my most favorite, my favorite from all of the XLS. It was just awesome. Like it was like whatever, being dealing with these crap thermals up until now, like it should have been more like this. It was just awesome. You just kind of straight up and after that I cross to a spur and meanwhile, and the uh, is it the Rhone there? Yup.
Speaker 3 (00:47:06):
Oh, the road is just on the backside, just, just on the North side of a verb. EA. They're the big one.
Speaker 4 (00:47:12):
Yeah. Yes. I, there was blowing like hell in there and a lot of the other guys who were walking in that Valley and I to this, I was sheltered in Verbier but across to the spirit. And there was just some really weird here where all of a sudden went whoop up and then whoop back down. And I thought maybe this isn't best place to hang around. And I think I sort of decided to leave. And then I just had this weird like weightlessness thing for a couple of seconds. And then I was looking down at the trees and going, I've got loads of clearance, but I think I'll get the hell out of here. And I did. And a few Ks further on. Uh, it was fine and I kept flying. So yeah, that, that was kind of the two situations where the, the air was like really negatively extreme. But I guess it's a lot of times where it was a bit rough. But I guess that's one of my stronger points is that I am used to flying in, um, you know, non sort of competition type conditions. So that's something that I really enjoy is trying to figure out the non classic situations and um, yeah, trying to figure out how to fly when there's a bit of wind. That's what's really interesting about phobias in the excels for me.
Speaker 3 (00:48:29):
Kind of like a being a fish swimming upstream, right? You're kind of hopping between when it's, you know, when you [inaudible] watching the replay, you were one of two, I think that got out of there that day. I mean everybody behind, uh, Freddie and I that, you know, we had that big day, um, getting, getting pretty much to almost a Shawmanee. Uh, and everybody that flew from the, from the Matterhorn back down into the road just got totally stuffed and they didn't get out of there for a couple days. Some of them, it was really windy and it wasn't it. And it was you, I think you and one other, the Spanish pod were the only ones that got out of there.
Speaker 4 (00:49:08):
Yeah, it was definitely a good day. Um, I was pretty happy about that. I didn't really expect to do it myself and I, yeah, I remember landing to get a drink of water once cause I didn't have any water. And then having a feed and just sort of chilling out for a bit and, and taking off and flying to the 70 Valley, I'm like, Whoa, that looks good. So yeah, it's not like a plan whole thing, but just took it one step at a time and yeah. Worked out well.
Speaker 3 (00:49:32):
Do you find that the X apps makes you do things that you wouldn't normally do?
Speaker 4 (00:49:37):
Yeah, or I have that impression from a lot of the pilots that they were pushing themselves to do things that they normally do. Um, but I think it wasn't really the case for me because involved with use come across a lot of those situations before in the X helps you kind of got everyone watching it. Like you couldn't be much safer in terms of support at least, uh, you know, well, you know, it's, you got first-world infrastructure and, and um, no one's going to not know that something happened.
Speaker 3 (00:50:12):
It was just, it was interesting listening to those stories. And I think it kind of put me back into a little more of a reality situation because, you know, when we, when we finish something like that and we look back, you know, our, our minds as humans tend to remember the good, much easier than the bad. And to me the whole race was good. It was just, I couldn't believe how fun it was, but I did forget a couple of those instances. And I like your, your attitude there was, was that, Hey, you don't, when you're flying vole Bev, that's what happens. And so you're kind of used to it and that, that's a very positive look on it. And I also felt like I, I never did anything differently than I normally would have done if I was just flying around. But I, I, I guess what I'm asking is if, if you find that the race puts pressure on you in a way that is, does make it more risky and, and if it does, if it's, is it worth, I mean, is it, is it justifiable?
Speaker 4 (00:51:14):
So I did think of something to say about this and then I forgot it on the way. But yeah, when I think about risk in the XL, I think it's true that I'm a little bit more accustomed to it because [inaudible] um, tends to get you in those situations. It's not to say I don't get scared, but like sometimes you get scared and you've just got to think like, one of the things that I used to think of is if I turn my barrier off, would I still be scared cause the various sounds like it's going nuts. But really if you turn it off, it's just like pretty, pretty relaxing. And the other thing is, it might seem to me like the wing is going all over the place like crazy, but if someone was looking from the ground, is it actually that bad? Like you're getting a tuck here and there, you're moving back and forth, but does it actually look that bad and kind of objectify things?
Speaker 4 (00:52:09):
It helps take the fear out of it. So, uh, in terms of risk, there's this fear, which is can be subjective and then there's a risk, which is a bit more objective. But of course your feelings make a big difference to the actual risk because it's all about decision making and confidence. And if you aren't in the right head space, you're going to be increasing the risk a lot. So sometimes when you're in a pilot, you've got to just deal with things the best way you can and kind of be less emotional about it. And more, I'm just doing the best in terms of inputs to your wing and decision making, that kind of thing. But yeah, when I think about risk in terms of people taking more risks for the [inaudible], I think yeah, I'm fairly used to it. So I quite enjoy it. Generally I still get scared sometimes, often.
Speaker 4 (00:53:08):
I think it's just a fear of bombing out and having to walk back up the Hill rather than physically hurting myself. Um, but yeah, it's hard to separate those out sometimes, you know, cause especially with evolve, if you load up and you're really heavy and you take off and, and you're like really like got a lot of anxiety just before you take off, cause you're like, is this the right spot? Is it going to be okay? But then I'm like, well hang on, there's grass everywhere. There's hardly any wind. I'm just going to land at the bottom with the Peck and the hot sun and maybe that's what's causing me to be scared. The other example I'd like to bring up as, um, critical. Now, do you think critical taste takes the most risks out of anyone in the XLS?
Speaker 3 (00:53:51):
Gosh, I know, you know, I don't, I think he takes probably the least. Um, I think he's, you know, I think he's, he's so good and he's practiced so much, um, that I, I think it's very methodical for him. I think it's very Swiss for him in his approach. Uh, if that, maybe that's stereotyping too much, but I think, uh, yeah, no, I would agree with you. I think that he takes the least.
Speaker 4 (00:54:17):
Exactly. So basically, um, if you take more risks in the accepts, then you're used to taking, then you probably will end up getting yourself in bad situations and then it compounds and then you make bad decisions because you've, uh, you're not in the right head space. So, uh, Craig will hurt himself in a flight that was totally non competitive and he said that that, um, helped if them him, that he wasn't, you know, too influenced by competition and it wasn't adjusting their risks. Um, just because it was a competition because it happened on a free flight that didn't matter. So, yeah, I think if you want to take his example and it's a pretty good example to take, he should basically do what you're comfortable with and then you're gonna perform a lot better.
Speaker 3 (00:55:04):
Hmm. Nick, do you think in your, it sounds like 10 plus years of flying, do you, do you think that what separates, you know, pilots that can, you know, compete and things like the X apps or, or, or competitions and do well or just, you know, the, let's call it the, the upper echelon of pilots versus the lower echelon. Do you think a big piece of that is, is being able to deal with things when they go bad? You were talking about, you know, that your, one of your strengths is, you know, when it's, when it's windy or when it's nasty or when there's too much Valley wind, you know, you're, you still get scared like every sane person does, but you're maybe dealing with it better, better. And by better, I mean calmer and faster and you're, you're, you're thinking about maybe options. This wasn't something I was planning on talking about, but you mentioned that and I think that's maybe interesting cause I, I get the question a lot from, from our listeners, you know, how are some people, they seem to be better with the same kind of hours as somebody that's, you know, that's, in other words, they progress very fast.
Speaker 4 (00:56:18):
Well I think it's all just practice and I don't think my progression is actually being faster. I, I'm like I'll set a flow to the beginning for two years. I didn't really do very big cross countries for awhile. Like there was periods where it wasn't even us. Kind of like tethered to the Hill kind of thing. Yeah. I'm just saying I'm kind of more used to that type of flying where there's a bit of wind around from doing well, big trips, especially in New Zealand and also exploring places. And I'm not used to some kind of use to doing something unfamiliar, like making unfamiliar things more familiar and uh, uh, I don't think it's anything special. I think there's fairly small small pool of us doing this and some of us who had the luxury to spend a bit more time on it and it just happens to be that, that's kind of my specialty cause that's what I've spent most time on I think.
Speaker 3 (00:57:13):
Hmm. Hmm. Do you think that that's a teachable skill?
Speaker 4 (00:57:17):
Really what you want to do is spend as much time learning at the best rate of learning and I guess um, part of that is going out there and doing it and part of it is reflecting on it and trying to figure it out when you're on the ground, like processing it. So mostly I've definitely had a lot of people help me maybe like partly with the flying skills side and partly with this sort of psychological approach or whatever, but not, I really, it's just been driven by me trying to do these things on my own.
Speaker 3 (00:58:00):
Tell me about your, your meteorology background. Are you finding that, you know, like you said, being just a pilot you get really good at? I kinda think all paragliders are pretty good at meteorology at some level depending on how long they've been doing it. But are you finding that your, your courses there and the, uh, I think you just said you just did this like eight or nine months course and now that's becoming your job. Are you finding that it's affecting your flying in a, in a positive way?
Speaker 4 (00:58:30):
Yeah, it's hard to say or think it's like there's definitely been a few things that are picked up out of the course that are kind of hadn't thought of before, but I'm basically doing the same thing as in trying to understand the physics behind everything when I'm flying and trying to figure it all out. And I guess now I've just got a little bit more tea, tea sort of ingredients to put in that mix and to try and figure things out. So definitely helps. Uh, the more, you know, the, the quiet time you have thinking about things like sometimes you figure things out afterwards I suppose. But I guess most of what we learned in the meteorology course is sort of a larger scale thing. Like when I fly, typically I've got a crappy little foam with limited batteries in internet connection. So don't actually spend much time or any time looking at the forecasts. I just get the most basic forecast I can if it's available. And a lot of the places I go to it's not, but yeah, observing things and trying to figure out what's going on. I guess the biggest thing that I've been learning in mineralogy courses, more about like the upper atmosphere, um, and the broader scale stuff.
Speaker 3 (00:59:44):
Hmm. You mentioned in your blog that you, you flew that summer, I realized this, the blog was written or just posted now, but it was written a couple of years ago before the X house. But you were talking about flying quite a bit without an instrument. Sounded like because the instrument was broken, but also in a sense of a choice. Is that something you'd you'd recommend?
Speaker 4 (01:00:05):
Yeah. Well, um, so I think I mentioned that it kind of helped me fly faster because you wouldn't waste time and dribbles or lift in, you just go on until you found something that was easy to, you know, obviously going up kind of a thing. Yeah, it is good. Like I've always flown with very little instrumentation. Like I've been using my phone with [inaudible] but the screens turned off 99% of the time I just turn it on. If I want to check air space for check my ground speed or something value's going on. Or now I've got a new instream in talking. I always say my glide and it's kind of good and grand speed. But yeah, the most important thing always is to look at the window isn't it? To cause there's so many things that you can observe and if you're looking at your instruments you might be missing something. I mean the instruments are pretty fancy, but, well, I'm there to like, the reason I got into paragliding in the first place is to enjoy the view. So I don't really want to spend too much time. Uh, looking at a computer.
Speaker 3 (01:01:05):
Mmm. That's savvy advice. Well, Hey, let's, uh, let's end this on a really on a really positive note cause, uh, masking you all kinds of really tough questions. Let me ask you an easy one. What's your most memorable flight?
Speaker 4 (01:01:18):
Oh, is that supposed to be an easy [inaudible]
Speaker 3 (01:01:22):
[inaudible] it'd be impossible for me, but I was hoping, I was hoping you'd have a like epiphany. Oh, well it was that time in South America. [inaudible]
Speaker 4 (01:01:32):
yeah. Yeah. Um, okay. Well since you mentioned it, like I guess I'm pretty impressionable. Um, flying past, uh, MACI picture was pretty amazing. Let's sort of plan it a week in advance. I mean, not really planned it cause I was not really sure if it was possible, but I started a mountain pass. It was like four and a half, 5,000 meters. Flew all the way down the Valley into the wind before it picked up like the Valley wind crossed past Matthew picture was, which was amazing. And then flew down, went in the Valley like getting Eddy 90 Ks an air on glides. Um, with the value in picking up and getting hard and hard and to more and more arid country. And then flying past Costco and then going back and landing a short walk from Cusco. That was, it was pretty amazing. And that was one of those floods. It was like, you know, the third day a little Bobby and I'm one of the ones where you go, well that really didn't happen. That's pretty amazing. Let's say what else I can try? That might actually work. So yeah, that's, that was, that was a good one. But I don't know, I probably wouldn't have said that. It's one, unless it's in South America.
Speaker 3 (01:02:41):
That's okay. We have to, I have to just stop on that for a moment because I've been to Machu Picchu. I went there with my mom. This was long before I knew anything. Maybe, maybe I'd look at it with different eyes now, but that is absolutely insane. I remember the terrain in there, like the, that river, the ARRA Obama or whatever it's called. It's like class five the whole way. There's, there's, I don't recall there being too many places to land. I mean, I, again, I w I wasn't a paraglider back then, so maybe I'd look at it differently now, but that, that is an awesome flight. Okay.
Speaker 4 (01:03:15):
Yeah, it was, it was amazing what, uh, it w it had me pretty stuck for awhile and, uh, it goes in Peru. I didn't get to meet with them, but they, they were pretty, um, keen to hear about that as well. But yeah, it's actually, it always looks better when you're in the air. Like there is a few landings around. Probably the part before I get to match a picture was the worst, but yeah, it's um, good place. Peru.
Speaker 3 (01:03:37):
Wow. Okay. Well that, okay. You hit it out of the park with that one. Can you, can you give me another one? Do you have another best flight and another one pop in your mind telling that story. That, that's insane. Do you have any pictures of that?
Speaker 4 (01:03:49):
Yeah, yeah. Um, yeah. Well, other thoughts in South America w flying along the length of the, could they get a Blanca in deny what us in Peru like, it's where the Matheny is. Go with those 6,000 meter mountains. That was the first place they've got to success and made it us. And that was pretty awesome. Um, and then, yeah, that was another little Bobby if, but yeah, there was a, there's a place up the Valley. They were, I just looked at the math and when there are a couple of times you can catch a bus there for, I don't know, a dollar or something and, or probably less. And then you walk up and it's pretty crappy. Lucky GoPro crosses polluted river and then up through the scrub, but you just pull the wing up and then you just like boom, like an elevator. It was like way fast and catching the bus up the Hill and then you've got a really long crossing. But after that you can just float along these glaciated mountains. But yeah, again, Peru's pretty crazy. Like there's a lot of wind around and um, yeah, but that quite good way. They say the country, isn't it?
Speaker 3 (01:04:51):
Yeah. Don't the, uh, Delta tandem pilots in Cusco land with skis cause the, you know, the air is so thin and they, they come in so fast to protect their clients. They, they put some kind of skis in the bottom of their harness so they could just kind of slide in.
Speaker 4 (01:05:05):
Yeah. I don't know what they do.
Speaker 3 (01:05:08):
That's what I heard anyway. But well if you could, if you could, uh, if you could just pack up today, it go anywhere in the world to fly, where would you go?
Speaker 4 (01:05:17):
Ah, well probably New Zealand. That's getting tired, isn't it? Yeah. All right. I have been thinking about, uh, places to go. I thought maybe China has got some really huge and amazing mountains. Kind of isn't that well traveled, but it's actually my brother speaks Mandarin and he, I asked him about it a few months ago and he said, yeah, it'd be really straightforward in terms of politically, cause I know in India it was real hassle, like getting hassled by people and bureaucrats and everyone wants to see if you've got a permit and all this kind of thing. But it's like, yeah, China has the enemies that ain't, they won't care. So I don't know if it's true or not, but it would be good to take, go out and do stuff without worrying about getting hassled, which is what I like about New Zealand. But anytime it's got the big mountains, but I don't know, I haven't looked into it in detail. Maybe the word is crap, but yeah. I should have mentioned one other place and that's your home ground. Your, your Hunter.
Speaker 3 (01:06:20):
Speaker 4 (01:06:21):
I kind of skip that partly because I thought the U S is an easy place to go to when you, you've got a shorter amount of time. But yeah, it looks like this. You've guys have got a lot of stuff at home. So any of your, um, listens from a U S you don't need to disciple too far as you said as well. I'm sure there's a range of stuff over there. Not just that hardcore Sierra Nevada.
Speaker 3 (01:06:43):
No. Yeah, there's, there's a, there's a little bit everything. It's a heat, you know, it's just a massive place. You know that California's New Zealand and on its own, it's just, it's just huge. You know, there's just so much there too. It's, it's, it's almost daunting. There's, yeah, there's not much reason to leave except in our, you know, we just, I always feel like you get more hours and more time if you go to Europe cause cause it's, you know, the, the weather is, we just get a lot on flyable days. You know, it's windy. But, um, well Nick, thanks so much. I really appreciate your time and it was a really cool Benet being able to connect with you and Sydney and me at, uh, Vancouver here getting ready of about an hour. I'm going to be on stage presenting North and known to a bunch of folks. So that should be pretty fun. But uh, until we see each other again, I hope it's before the Alps, but if not, we'll see in a couple months and infomercial.
Speaker 4 (01:07:40):
Yeah. Great. Looking forward to it and have, have a good talk. I wish I could be there.
Speaker 3 (01:07:44):
Yeah. I wish I could do well one of these days. We'll uh, we'll get to show it to you. Cool man. Well, Hey, thanks. And uh, dr soon,
Speaker 4 (01:07:53):
thanks a lot. It
Speaker 2 (01:07:54):
is. I hope you enjoyed that. Always great to sit down with a fellow XL ups athlete and see what they're doing to get ready for the race and see their approach to all kinds of different things. That was a, that was really good. I hope you got a lot out of that. Uh, as always, all we asked for is a bucket show. This is a listener supported. We don't have support, uh, sponsors supporting it. Uh, if you can't contribute, then, uh, there are many other ways you can share it on a blog, on your own blog. You can share it on the social media is, uh, Facebook or Twitter or whatever, uh, tell your friends. That's the, that's by far the best way to, to support the podcast. And you can also rate us on iTunes or Stitcher or however you listen to the podcast.
Speaker 2 (01:08:38):
Um, that goes a long ways that actually boost the ratings and, uh, makes it a lot more visible to other people that maybe don't know about the show. Uh, you can find links to support the show on cloud based mayhem.com either through PayPal, which is kind of one off or a highly suggest if you, if you'd like to support the show to use Patrion, uh, patrion.com forward slash cloud-based mayhem, uh, is another way where you can kind of set it and forget it. There's all kinds of special bonus material, including, uh, I've recently put up a little short recording that we did after the Leary tutor podcast, uh, about his magic bus tour in beer in India. And that's all I'll give you. It is absolutely hysterical. So head on over to Patrion and, uh, check that out and we'll see you on the next show. Thanks so much. See you at cloud-base.
Speaker 1 (01:09:27):


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