October 25, 2013

Flying from Lady Mac

Launching from Lady Mac 8.5 months after going in to the ground from the same spot. Conditions were a little more civilized this time. Thanks to Andy G - The Handy Man - for shooting the academy award winning video on his phone.  If you take the 30 seconds to watch the clip, it's best to do so in HD. Wing: Gin Yeti 19. Harness: Gin Speedrider.

I can't imagine that it's ever easy to revisit the scene of a heinous accident. At the same time, it's amazing how quickly the mind and body can heal and forget. Last winter, I made a painfully bad decision to launch a Firefly 16  from Mount Lady Macdonald in terrible conditions. I crashed after about 2 minutes in the air and wrecked myself. As bad as it was, I dodged a bullet that day. It's crazy to think that I got lucky by only breaking my pelvis, back and sacrum, but it's true. Things could have ended a lot worse.

Post surgery on Feb 16, 2013.

Back in June, four months after the crash, I hobbled back up to the launch site. The hike took forever and I basically crutched my way up and down. The experience was a small victory and wasn't as emotional as I thought it might be - I think I only cried for half of the 4 hour hike. Since then, I've gained a great deal of strength and figure I'm at about 80 %. The recovery curve is still pretty steep and there are significant gains every week. I think a big part of this is due to the time spent working out / looking at girls in the gym. A few months ago, I was lucky to have Cindy Jagger from Own the Podium donate a few hours of her time to put me through the paces. She gave me a comprehensive routine that combines strength, agility, movement, and flexibility and I try to get at it at least four days / week. Hugh Simpson from Active Motion Physio also donated some time and  added some crippling exercises to the mix. A huge thanks to both Cindy and Hugh for the help.

So what's it like to return to a place and a scenario that almost proved fatal in the not so distant past? Well, although the place was the same, the conditions were completely different. In fact, I have never seen it so calm at the launch. If ever there was a time to fly off Lady Mac, it was then. I quickly changed into some warm clothes, unpacked the wing and clipped in. The mental focus that goes in to launching a small paraglider or speed-wing from the side of a mountain is all consuming and I felt myself falling back in to a familiar, trance-like mode that I hadn't experienced in some time. It felt really good.

Limping around at the Lady Macdonald launch back in June.

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