Well I'm back from my trip to Brazil.. What a mind opener that was.
In October, three Brazilians set a new paragliding world record of 582km there, so we knew that there was potential for personal bests to be set on our visit.
However if I'd known that the launch is so windy that it takes 3 people to hold your glider down and a fourth to shout "GO" in between gusts, then I might have had second thoughts.
And the paraglider destroying vegetation and backward landings certainly focussed the mind and changed my attitude to landing on speed bar!
The flying was the easy bit, although taking a new and racier glider, with only 4 hours flying on it in the smooth laminar conditions of the Isle of Man, probably wasn't ideal to prepare me for the torn and violent drifitng thermals of Brazil.
But what a trip. The BEST flying, The BEST company (no anal tightly strung German clients to deal with - Dirk wasn't on this trip). The BEST accommodation. The BEST guides!
And a personal best of 226km on the first day with over 900km flown over 8 flying days.
And the people too!
A very old man (77 it turned out) drove me 30k out of the boonies one day on the back of his motorbike and I wasn't sure whether he wanted £6 or £60 to drive me.
So I thought I negotiated him down £4 (or £40). Turned out he wanted £4. So I gave in £20 and made him cry!
It's Christmas after all.
Since I've been back, I've had surgery to remove the plate on my collar bone and booked my VX220 in for a 90bhp bump in performance.
Bring on 2020. It will be very exciting!