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La Muela F3F Eurotour

10 - 11 April 2009


La Muela, from el Colmillo

La Muela Magic

A quick look through the photo archive gave me a bit of a shock: this was my eighth trip to La Muela! Repetition does not dull the excitement though, and this was another great expedition - the competition, the company, the places we visited, and the scenery in the constantly varying light. There are always new things to discover!

Before leaving the UK, I made a decision to explore the local countryside a little more. In particular, I wanted to walk up el Colmillo (La Muela's 'little sister'), and also to photograph some of the places that we pass each day on our way to the hill. These are shown in the 'Humanes' section below.

My thanks to companions Kevin, Mike, Liz, Vic for their fine company, and especially Sylvia who missed the trip last year. Sylv became the group's unoffocial Mrs Memory with her amazing facility to recall the most trivial detail without the use of pen, paper or even an iPhone!

Gracias tambien a nuestros amigos españoles.

Words and photos

1. From Portsmouth to Bilbao, and La Muela

The crossing from Portsmouth to Bilbao offers a chance to relax, and prepare for the journey ahead. We disembark at Bilbao early in the morning, and it's a further five and half hours drive to La Muela which we reach by lunchtime.

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2. Semana Santa

The competition is always held over Easter, and there are numerous processions in Guadalajara.

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3. The Competition

The two-day competition progressed well after a slow start due to rain. Seven rounds were eventually flown. The event was efficiently run, a nice touch being the automated countdown done in the pilot's native language. ¡Muchas gracias a los organizadores!

Pierre Rondel was in great form, flying his Freestyler to victory by a considerable margin. Kevin was second with his Ceres, and Alexis Marechal third.

1  Pierre Rondel              4813
2  Kevin Newton               4585
3  Alexis Marechal            4580
4  Iņaki Elizondo Casado      4403
5  Cedric Grandseigne         4399
6  Fernando Del Barrio Moreno 4347
7  Gerardo Plaza Lozano       4345
8  Raul Segnini Marin         4340
9  Espen Torp                 4296
10 Lennart Arvidsson          4286
17 Mike Shellim               4202
34 Mike Evans                 3799
43 Victor Eldridge            3218
44 Tony Robertson             3175
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4. After the competition

The period after the competition is all about relaxation: DS'ing, aerobatics, foamies and last, but not least, our MPX Easy Gliders (these simple models are fantastic fun to fly).

A personal highlight was the walk to the top of el Cormillo, the cone shaped hill next to La Muela. The views from there are excellent. Kevin and Vic both followed the next day, Kevin just failing to get his electric Easy Glider to the top during a 'power assist' cross country.

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5. Humanes and surroundings

Humanes is the last town of any size before La Muela. It's a quiet yet colourful place, with a petrol station reminiscent of a US frontier town. Another landmark is the level crossing where the road meets the Barcelona to Madrid railway line. Ordinary sights, yet they come to mind whenever I think of La Muela.

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6. The Rest

We stayed at the Hotel Infante in Guadalajara, as we have done for many years. Most mornings I made a point of getting up early to do some exploring in Guadalajara, before meeting for breakfast. The early morning is a great time for photography - the low sun brings out the rich colours and textures of the old part of Guadalajara. After breakfast we'd set off to La Muela. We also spent one day exploring the town and hypermarket when, due to the excesses of the previous evening, we didn't feel it would be a good idea to drive!

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All images shot with Pentax K100D (6 megapixels).

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