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Event info

The Golden Site of Perpetual Flight

The 6th annual El Peñón Classic Race is back again this February 2018, hosted by Vuelo Libre Mexico in everyone’s favorite thermal heaven, Valle de Bravo, Mexico. This FAI Sport Class sanctioned event will see a wide variety of pilots flocking to enjoy the famously idyllic conditions, and exciting tasks.

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Flying site

Valle de Bravo is known for being not only a good place to fly but also for its consistency of many good and reliable flyable days. The best flying season starts on January and it goes until April when the rain season starts.

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Event info

The Golden Site of Perpetual Flight

The 6th annual El Peñón Classic Race is back again this February 2018, hosted by Vuelo Libre Mexico in everyone’s favorite thermal heaven, Valle de Bravo, Mexico. This FAI Sport Class sanctioned event will see a wide variety of pilots flocking to enjoy the famously idyllic conditions, and exciting tasks. Pilots will be able to enjoy two practice days, and five competition days, with tasks ranging from about 40 km to 65km, before wrapping up the fun with closing ceremonies and pilot dinner.

For those who haven’t visited this magical spot, incredibly, every day is flyable, offering plentiful thermals and convergence lift. Valle itself is a gorgeous little lakeside town with plenty of activities, and top notch restaurants and bars to enjoy a victory mezcal, or recharge after a long day of flying.

The competition meet director this year is master rated pilot, and advanced instructor, Mitch Shipley, of whom all of you know on the comp circuit, as having a long record of supporting a fun, organized, and safe competition.

A landing clinic with Mitch will also be scheduled near the event for those interested in hanging a little longer in paradise and brushing up on the most crucial skill to safe flying.

The competition fee includes score keeping, competition director, t-shirt, ambulance, task and briefing, water and shaded area at take off, and dinner party at prize giving ceremony in the landing zone on the last day.

https://www.facebook.com/vuelolibremexico/

Flying site

Valle de Bravo is known for being not only a good place to fly but also for its consistency of many good and reliable flyable days. The best flying season starts on January and it goes until April when the rain season starts. Rainy days are also flyable for a few hours, just don´t expect the best XC conditions. Rain season ends in September and from then to December days are usually very mellow and nice to fly, perfect conditions for students, beginners or just relax flying. One of the best flying sites in Mexico. During the months of December to March the conditions allow for flights on the 100's km order, with cloud bases of 4,500 plus meters MSL. The launch was expanded on 2008 by the government of the Estado de Mexico as part of the improvements for the Mexico 2009 FAI Paragliding Worlds Championship. There's a lot of room for parking and public bathrooms.
Weather hazards: From February to the beginning of the rain season (usually June) the conditions get stronger, with rough air and strong winds almost all day. During the rain season conditions are mellow, but there is risk of fast overdeveloping, with strong thunderstorms. Rain season usually ends on September or October, from there to December conditions are really good getting stronger every day. Most days on the zone are blue days with blue thermals, but expect really strong thermals on the flying season.
Flight regulation: Basically none, but pay attention to the small airstrip on the plateau were the landing field is, sometimes you can find hang glider towing operations. There's another small airstrip for small airplanes on the way to Valle de Bravo, common VFR rules apply.

El Peñón is a competition level place and great for some good XC about nine linear miles or 14 Kms. away from Valle, XC from El Peñón to Valle is a local tradition. Some say this is the best place to fly in México (XC), and it’s actually were annual international competition “Monarca Paragliding Cup” takes place every year in January plus one FAI World Championship in 2009 and one PWC Super Final in 2012.

Pilots recommend flying El Peñón early in the morning when the day just starts to turn on or late at the afternoon glassoff to prevent the blasting of the turbulent thermals of El Peñón, at least a couple of times until you get familiarized with the place. Avoid launching between noon and 3:00 PM on sunny days of the high season. Flying mid day at El Peñón is about big air all over the place, some particular well known thermal trigger spots like The Wall, Crazy Thermal, G-Spot and many others, can be really strong and turbulent. Flying El Peñón is tricky; it has fooled more than one before! But if you can catch up with the Peñon’s ways, you can sure have some helluva ride.

The launch area is wide and grassy and it´s hardly crowded even with many pilots trying to takeoff. Try to quickly get as high as possible at the launch, they are many thermals coming up all the time wide spread, if you´re flying to the Peñón itself or to the back, try to gain at least 400/500 Mts. over the launch for a safe ride.

XC Routes: The favorite cross country flight is in the direction of Valle de Bravo, to land on the lakeside landing of Santa Maria, 14km to the NNW. Flying to any other direction is perfectly possible, including the big volcano (Nevado de Toluca). Auto retrieve by rural communal taxi cabs is easy and very cheap.
There are a few classic XC routes to Valle, but pilots recommend trying first the Peñitas/ Zacamecate/ Jovan/ CocaCola/ Valle route which runs basically over the main road to the Peñón you will use to reach the launch, so it´s pretty intuitive. Peñitas would be the "backwards piano", kind of a tricky spot but plenty of room to land. Right next to Peñitas is the Zacamecate mountain which is a nice catapult to reach cloud base. The Jován is a small road restaurant which is easy to reach on your first XC with 2 or 3 thermal climbs, food is very good and cheap, and there´s plenty of room to land nearby.

The piano landing zone of the Peñón is quite big and it´s over a plateau called "Africa" because of its shape. If you´re not planning to leave the valley for a XC and don´t like rough conditions just be sure not to try to land there at noon or you will find thermal power boosting you up again for hours making your landing quite hard and scary. The ravine before the piano landing zone and plateau can be used as a sink hole to quickly lose some height, but be careful to do your final approach over the plateau and not too low over the ravine or you could sink into the rotor and spend some really hard time there. there you will find many skilled kids that can fold your wing pretty well for about less than an euro too.

Try to get briefed before doing any XC to know where you can land, but most specially were you can´t land! You will find some big fancy states were they don't like us landing there, sometimes you might be greeted by their security personal with guns and have a hard time to leave the place. Funny enough it´s almost only on those fancy states were you could find yourself on trouble after landing there, there's a huge misunderstanding about the forbidden places to land when it comes to regular farming fields; most of the time farmers just expect you to give some symbolical retribution for the use of their private properties! Most pilots won't give anything to these people and even be rude with them, this is why they are not always welcome. Remember, this is a poor country and all they ask is about an euro per landing on their fields, which is pretty reasonable if you ask me.

For example, the race track behind the Jován is usually avoided by most pilots because the land care keeper of the place is considerate a dangerous man with a shotgun. Truth is, I always land there when I´m heading to eat at the Jován... I always chat with the guy or his kids, let his kids fold my glider and give him something on retribution so I´m always quite welcome to land there! I don't always pay except for the folding (which is actual work); I usually carry cigarettes and M&M candies; I share a chat and a couple of cigarettes to the land care keeper (they all smoke) and some M&M candies to the children (they won't melt and you can share many of those), this is usually much more appreciated than money since it shows you care for them.

When landing at any rural zone, be careful with some not so evident hazards you might not see from high; most of the time dark spots in the grass doesn't mean dark grass but dark brown rocks instead of grey ones. Most bushes on the dry zones have some sort of thorns or edgy splinters that might damage your glider, greener bushes are most of the time safer. Beware of wire fences, they are everywhere and usually setup with thin sticks so they are hard to spot from the air. Also try to avoid fields with animals if possible, not only you will scare the animals but also you might get some undesirable stains on your glider!

If you go for XC flights, another important factor to take on account is that this place is a little bit illogical sometimes; wind directions and speed may be different every day in different nearby spots, so I know more than just a few pilots have flown directly to a rotor zone expecting to find lift. Can´t blame anyone, this have happen to me many times over many years and I haven´t still figured out the whole picture here. It's usual to be able to see smoke all the time somewhere around, use any reference you can to keep track of the wind. Blue days are very common in Valle, try to learn to read the ground for thermal triggers as much as possible, this is very handy in this place!

You will find everybody at Valle very friendly and cooperative, about half of the local pilots speak at least some basic English. The first I recommend to do at your arrival would be visiting the gang at the landing at “Santa María”, remember to pay your temporal (3 month) local club fee there. Shuttles from the different local clubs for both La Torre and El Peñón destinations depart from the landing field all the time and directly from the local clubs (all of them at a walk distance from the landing field, they are quite obvious if you follow the main street close to the lake), just be sure to board the correct shuttle to La Torre or The Peñón depending on your flight intentions. Usual fee is around 3 euros for La Torre or 6 euros to El Peñón.

Take of El Penon - 19°3'41" (19.0616)N; 100°5'27" (100.091)W - 2336 m ASL.
Landing : 19°2'45" (19.0459)N; 100°6'32" (100.109)W - 1775 m ASL.

See lying site description on PG earth.

Organizers

Rudy Gotes
Organizador
Mitch Shipley
Puntaje
Daniel Velez
Sitio web

Selection and entry fee

Todos los pilotos con habilidades de Cross Country, y habilidades de vuelo en montaña, con equipos clase sport (king post). El valor de la inscripción es de $100 US, o su equivalente en moneda local.

Prize fund and scoring categories

Categoría Clase 1 Sport, Evento FAI CAT 2
Se premiará con trofeo a los primeros 3 lugares, a la mejor en categoría femenina y a la mejor simple superficie.

General schedule

Schedule: February 17 - 24
Feb 17 - 18 Training and seminar days
Feb 19 - 23 Five competition days
Feb 24 Closing Ceremony

General Schedule
Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018
Training day
09:00 Depart to Launch from HQ
11:00 Training task briefing
12:00 - Take-off window opens
17:00 - 19:00 Pilots registration at HQ
19:00 Mandatory safety briefing

Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018
Training day
09:00 Depart to Launch from HQ
11:00 Training task briefing
12:00 - Take-off window opens

Monday, Feb. 19, 2018 - Friday, Feb. 23, 2018
Contest flying days
09:00 Depart to Launch from HQ
11:00 Task briefing at Take off
12:00 - Take-off window opens

Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018
20:00 Prize-giving and closing ceremony

Daily schedule

09:00 - Depart from HQ
10:30 - Meet Director / Task and Safety Committee meetings
11:00 - Pilots' briefing / Previous task official results / Task definition
12:00 - Take-off window opens
17:00 - Scoring office opens
21:00 - Provisional results

Accommodation and Activities

There is wide range of accommodation available in Valle del Bravo. We suggest you to use www.airbnb.com or www.hotels.com/ to explore the options in your price range and personal requirements.

Things to do

This is the season of the Monarch Butterflies. Visit the Piedra Herrada Sanctuary in Valle de Bravo to see where these beautiful creatures reside after the long migration from Canada

How to get here

By plane: You can arrive to either the Toluca International or Mexico City International Airport. From there you need to arrange transportation to Valle de Bravo, which is a 3 hour drive from the Mexico City Airport, and 1.5 hours from Toluca. We can help organize transportation from the airport if needed. Please contact us with any questions you have at rudy@vuelolibre.mx

Headquarters: Vuelo Libre Mexico
De Manuel 100, Sta Maria Ahuacatlan, 51200 Valle de Bravo, Méx.

La Capilla, 51200 Valle de Bravo, Méx., México
Valle de Bravo MX

Plane

First, get your flight directly to Mexico City.
Web: http://www.aicm.com.mx/
Having the extra ride on an airplane to the Toluca airport is a waste of money and not that much time saving as you could believe.

Bus

To take a bus ride to Valle go to bus station named "Observatorio" (Observatory). Taxi from Mexico airport to bus station cost $200 Mexican pesos (around 11 euros)

Time schedules for the Valle the bravo bus may vary, but basically you will find daily departures from 5:00 AM up to 5:00 PM, one every hour. (For example, 5:15, 6:15, 7:15 and so on)
Be sure to buy and to ride the "Libramiento" bus route to Valle and *NOT* the "Amanalco" route. The new "Libramiento" route will take you to Valle in less than three hours thanks to the fact that about half of the way uses the new highway.

Car

You can rent a car at Mexico city airport
Web: http://www.aicm.com.mx/
Take off is located 45 min drive away of Valle de Bravo in direction to Temascaltepec.

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Tasks and results

Task 1

19 Feb, 2018

Class 1 Sport — 43.5 km — Race to goal

Task results:
Comp. results:
Tracks:

Task 2

20 Feb, 2018

Class 1 Sport — 48.7 km — Race to goal

Task results:
Comp. results:
Tracks:
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