1/09/04 - Jim Mallinson, 57.9km (72.4km with bonus) from Combe Gibbet
TO Golden Ball SU 123 638 1405 hrs
Distance 57.9km = 72.4 with goal bonus.
Tempting fate by declaring a goal (usually results in not leaving the hill) I was all set to make it to Oxford. It wasn't easy going - most of the climbs were pretty raggedy and I often had to glide upwind to find the good bits on the edges of the clouds. Flying with Emil made it a bit easier. We got quite low over the Lambourn gallops but stumbled into a good one. I then glided out into the Vale of the White Horse while Emil tracked along the edge of the escarpment and went down by Wantage.
I could almost hear the Boer curses as I got a low save from about 200' above an industrial unit north of the town. Red kites were marking the way again. I then flew very conservatively, carefully going around Abingdon (and of course finding out later that I could have gone straight through it) and having to keep topping up because I couldn't glide straight to the goal field - Brize Norton airspace was in the way (doh! should have thought about that when setting it).
I got a climb over Boar Hill which gave me enough height to go and have a look at the Bodleian Library where I should have been working and get to Port Meadow with 2000' to spare. A few half-assed wingovers had me on the deck and then Adrian and Sue appeared, taking Lauren, their baby daughter, for a stroll around the meadow.