If memory serves me right, Team Carolina Black Ice made their first training jump in February of this year. Each member of the team has spent more than any would care to admit, but all have been dedicated to getting to this point despite various injuries sustained to different teammates..they have persevered. At 7:45am PT (11:45 am EST) Black Ice will go on call for the beginning of 10 rounds of competition in this arid, dusty, but non-rainy climate. This is truly the best venue for skydiving...it doesn't seem to rain here as seen from the aerial shots above the DZ.
Anyway, today was a great day. After getting to the DZ around 2:00pm., the 4-way competition had wrapped up. As expected, Arizona Airspeed took home gold in a dominating fashion. Of interest, there are more teams here from abroad as would be expected....several teams from France including Maubeuge who gave Airspeed a run at the World Championships earlier this summer. The Russians are here as well as a team from Monaco.....who knew that this tiny nation had a skydiving team? Apparently, they do, and they're pretty good too! Anyway, Team Liquidity finished in eighth place...not the finish the team would have liked, but no one was complaining being that this team was thrown together at the last minute. Everyone here is for one reason..8-way. The 4-way segment was fun, but it's now time to keep eyes on the prize.
After 4-way wrapped up, Black Ice made two practice jumps and then called it a day. After a year of studying, what would be the purpose of cramming? If you're not ready now, then you're not going to be. The team went out to a nice Mexican hacienda for some good food before heading back to the DZ for the 4-way awards ceremony and the unveiling of the 8-way draw.
The awards ceremony was packed with several hundred competitors and spectators, many a 'who's who' in our sport....Shannon Pilcher, Ian Bobo, Dan B-C, Jack Jefferies....you get the picture...everyone here is good and made a lot of noise in support of the winning teams.
Once the awards were over and the draw given out, 8-way teams were seen scattering out of the hangar and literally gathering under streetlights to begin dirt diving....Black Ice was no differnet. After spending about 35 minutes of dirt diving everyone called it a night and so here we are now on the eve of the competition. Black Ice's Team number is 707...hopefully this will prove to be lucky as the team is looking for a strong start early in the competition.
Couple of points that I've noticed since arriving:
- the landing pattern literally seems to change from load to load. This is not a place where you can create a pre-flight plan and be sure you'll be able to execute it. It's follow the first person down who sets the pattern and hope they don't land downwind (or at least too quickly)
- The team chemistry of the Black Ice members seems really good. Everyone appears to be having a great time and it shows.
- The respect given to Airspeed at the awards banquet was great to see. Oftentimes, when a team dominates there can be jealousy. Airspeed received a standing ovation by everyone at the awards ceremony. No one wants to bow down to them, but let's be real...they're setting a standard never seen before.
- The battery life of an iPhone could definitely be improved. I did play 4 games of Scrabble on the plane, and it sucked the life out of my phone...grrr....
So, that's all for now. It's late and time for bed. I will be posting updates frequently once things are underway!