Czech One Day Hike & Fly 2018
14. 06. 2018
„Climb to the top with only your feet and paragliding wings!“
This is the motto of the Czech Republic Championship in the HIKE & FLY paragliding, where Tomáš Matera, from our Kilpi Racing Team, won 2nd place! Congratulations.
Since I began flying, I have always wanted to try the hike & fly race and now it awaits me. On the 19th of May, the second year of the one-day hike & fly race took place in Raná u Loun, organized as the first Czech Republic Championship Hike & fly. The racers had to go through a specified route with a paraglide or by foot, while carrying their paragliding equipment on their backs.
The weather was variable, with a prediction of rain and thunderstorms. The organizers prepared the route, offering plenty of opportunities to deal with it well. You could choose between two categories, Sport and Unlimited, which varied in its length of about 10 km. The race began in Skleník pod Ranou, the first turning point was at Raná, then, at the neighbouring Oblík hill, and again to Skleník, followed by the peak of Raná. Another turning point was defined by a circle with the center on Raná and with a radius of 6 km from which it was necessary to move away from, anyway, and then go back to Raná and finally again the same circle, but with a radius of 12 km. Then, the last climb up to Raná, with the target down at Skleník. The Sport route was identical, but had smaller radius circles.
On Saturday at 10:00, a starting shot sounded and the 80 racers set out on the track. The beginning of the race was swift and the first part of the Raná-Oblík-Raná took place in this way: fly down under Oblík, run up and fly under Raná. It was also possible to go by paraglider, and a part of the starting field again caught up with us. After the second climb up Raná, I took off after Stand Mayer, for a while, and hung up under him into suspension, and we arrived under the cloud together. Then there was a dilemma as to where to send it. Since the zip on my backpack broke at Oblík, I asked my supporter, Bláha, to get bungees and took the direction along the main road toward Louny. I picked up at a few hundred meters high and left this first circle and then returned by paraglider under Raná. I did it even faster than Standa, so I was at the head of the race at that moment. Then I headed back to Raná and was thinking in which direction I would fly the last circle. From other adventure races, I'm used to making a move in the right direction, rather than standing in one place, so I had no expectations and set out. Unfortunately, it was not true for hike & fly.
I headed for Oblík, where I wanted to try my luck, but it turned out to be the same – I could not keep in the air and again flew down. On the way, I climbed up Kamýk, but even from there I could not fly, so I decided not to waste my time and ran the rest of the route. The fastest way from the circle led along a main road to Lovosice, where there was quite a lot of traffic, so it was not very pleasant to run along the roadside and be aware of all the cars, but such races include such things. It was about a 25 km run with a 10-kilo backpack on my back, so it was not a big deal for the shoulders or thighs, which finally showed in the last hike on Raná, where I went into awful convulsions. Then the last fly down followed and after 5 hours and 41 minutes I ran through the finish gate in 2nd place in the Unlimited category behind Standa, who flew a lot of the last part of the route and had almost a one hour head start. I was glad I was behind and am satisfied with second place. At the finish line, I met with Jirka Tichý, in third place, who had also flown excellently, but still had to turn over Raná.
I was most pleased with the performances of those competitors who did not run hundreds of kilometers and did not train regularly, but still tackled the route - it is admirable that they did not give up and finished the race. What I know is that the race happened without any injuries. So respect, gentlemen and ladies!Tomáš Matera