WGC2014 Räyskälä, Finland 16.6.-6.7.2014

Preparations...Sunday

Containers for office and scoring arrived in the end of May and after Finnish Gliding Nationals we were able to start cleaning and furnishing them. My place is in the "quiet container", where meteorologists, scoring and competition director are as well. Too bad that I can only see the office container from my window, I guess this was Heikki's plan to make me go outside more. I am going to update the facebook news stream during the competition. So if you see me walking with my iPhone, it means that some news is going out, not that I couldn't live without social myedia.

Weather has been quite weird during past few weeks; we have had cold, even colder, hot, sunshine, good gliding weather, thunder, bad gliding weather, really hot, rain and continuous rain. I am writing this on Sunday, and June has been quite rainy so far. Heikki said that if this won't change, he will use North-Korean methods soon (don't know if I want to know what that would be) and I am glad the weather has been pretty good for flying today.

Monday - Thursday

Preparations continued, the weather was quite bad on Monday, and we didn't get in to action yet, as only few planes went flying. My time went mostly with wondering the settings of my new PC and thinking why Adobe does things the way it does. I just would like to use my old CS2 and activate it, but it seems that they aren't interested of so old systems.

As the weather on Monday was so bad, I left to Helsinki in the afternoon, and had a nice dinner in the evening at Helsinki center. I assume that will be last Nepalese dinner for a while. Tuesday morning brought some peculiar news as it was snowing in Räyskälä! There were quite many surprised comments on our foreign pilot facebook pages. Also my hairdresser said “guess how many people want to talk about this weather during the day”. I guessed correctly that the amount would be equal to the customers they had that day.

I was glad that snow melted during the day, so I was able to drive to Räyskälä safely with competition magazines which we had done last week with Jukka Taipalus. Well, he was the designer and I checked the content and ordered the printing. The end result of the magazine was really nice. Not as funky as I hoped for, but the style is more Scandinavian stylish and not too busy.

In the Tuesday evening when I was washing my dishes at Räyskälä, I could put my basic Spanish skills into practice at the dish washing place…the Argentinian team was there washing their salad ingredients and I was proud as I could say Good Evening to them in Spanish. We talked also about washing the vegetables, and is it necessary in Finland. I told them that usually we don’t wash salads which are grown in Finnish green houses, as we consider those to be quite clean.

Hmm..after Tuesday we had only two flying days, but during the days I was busy with my computer, the website and setting up the routines with Visa - the other member of the communications team - I better fast forward my story until Friday at this point. As nothing interesting happened during those days.

Friday 20th June – Finnish Evening, midsummer night

During the week I had realized again that if your title is “webmaster” in the competition, people will come to you if the wi-fi doesn’t work properly. After explaining several times to people that I am only website designer, not internet connection guru, I might have forgotten the smile from my face and answering too harshly to people. So this is my way to apologize. Also during Wednesday-Thursday I spent wondering the Finnish Evening, which we were going to have on Friday, which also was the Midsummer Eve. I don’t know did I volunteer accidentally, or if everybody else were so busy that they hoped that “someone else” would take care of the party. Anyway I ended up talking about the arrangements with Jukka Rastas (the president of Nuorisoilmailijat aviation club) and Tanja and Teemu from Cafe26.

Luckily Teemu and Tanja are professionals and only thing we had to decide with Jukka was the menu and the schedule. Well, even I’ve arranged with my friends several parties, aero club Christmas parties and feasts, I still hadn’t arranged party for 300+ people. I ended up sending some SMS messages to Jukka around 5 o’clock in the morning saying “Hopefully I won’t wake you up, but something came up to my mind…”. Well, it didn’t take that many minutes when I got his reply which started with almost same words as my message “I am also up at this time of the night…”. Jukka bought all necessary items which we didn’t already have for the Finnish evening. I was surprised how many helpers and “helper’s helpers” was volunteering to set up the party, also Finnish Gliding Team was a big help giving out the salmon soup, the beer, sausages and ice cream. And of course they we’re doing that as it was – after all- Finnish evening.

To tell you something about the meetings we had during the spring time: We were wondering would it be any good idea to arrange the Finnish evening this early, I mean before the official competition was even started. But as Friday 20th was the Midsummer Eve this year, the main public holiday and party during the summer, we thought nothing would be more Finnish than to eat salmon soup, sausages, drink Koskenkorva (vodka) and see the bonfire at midnight.

I have to pay my tribute to Antti Lehto’s daughter Johanna and her friend, as they were responsible of making the salmon soup. Ingredients were prepared for them, but they didn’t have normal pots an pans and stove, but a soup cannon instead. I understood that both of them are somehow involved with studies of culinary/cooking (you know what I mean). And here I was telling to these girls at their early 20’s: Hello girls, thank you for helping us to make the salmon soup. You will be making the soup with this soup cannon (from Swedish army). They didn’t even blink their eyes or ran away yelling and screaming - like I would have done on my 20’s – instead they rolled up their sleeves and asked if someone could start the fire under the soup cannon for them. The soup was delicious and rumours tells me that Janusz C from Poland didn’t have seconds but thirds as well. (hopefully I am writing that correctly) Perhaps we have to give him the recipe so he can make salmon soup at home as well.

Party went well, people had to queue for a while to get sausages, but they got soup and Koskenkorva-vodka quite fast, as those were given to everybody when they arrived to the hangar.

But my night didn’t end that well. It went well first…I went to the bonfire at midnight, had a glass of red wine with Vicky (steward Terry’s wife) and talked with several people, serious stuff about marital law and some nonsense of course. At one point, which was too late, I realized that I was only one awake from the organization and all pilots had gone as well. So I decided to fetch my bike and go to bed and I should do I fast. It was easier said than done. Imagine the feeling that you are looking for your bike in the middle of the night and feeling a bit “tipsy”. But you can’t find your bike where you left it or nearby even. I had to walk few kilometres from the lake Särkijärvi (RWY 12 finish) to my caravan. Luckily our night guard Pentti picked me up and gave me a lift. I didn’t see my bike on my way to the caravan, and that meant one sleepless night, because my black-yellow “Jopo”-bike is close to my heart as I painted it myself and I’ve basically grown up with it, as I got it when I was 17. I was afraid that I’ve lost it forever.

I tested the power of the social media and sent immediately photo of my bike to the facebook pages of the WGC2014, Räyskälä airfield and Räyskälä village.

On Saturday morning I got good news :-) Mateusz Jedral, the Polish team captain saw me standing in the hangar when briefing ended and he came to me. He told me that he has found a bike from the bush at army area. Then he said that it is the same black and yellow bike which was on the picture on facebook. I told him that it is my bike, and we went immediately to get it. There the poor thing was, lying in the bush, muddy and like it had been beaten up.

A bit of washing and tender loving care (oil etc.) and the bike was on road again.

Saturday 21st June 2014 – Opening ceremony

The day started normally with briefing, but the weather didn’t allow setting a task, as there was going to be rain showers all day long. Local flights were possible. Lucky for us, the weather cleared up for the evening as we had the opening ceremony outside. Before that we had “flag-raising exercise” and I heard myself volunteering raising the SIL (Finnish Aeronautical Association). I must wonder why I did that, because usually I have been seen with my camera and taking photos of the ceremony. As I think back now, I should have not changed my place and should have stick with my camera. I will remember it next time.

Ceremony was short (as usual in Finland), first PIK 5 was winch launched to the sky, and it did some circling above us and landed as close as possible of the crowd. The FAI flag was given to Heikki by the pilot of PIK 5. Then it was our time to raise the FAI and SIL flags, Finland’s flag was up already as it was Midsummer Day, the day when flags are on the poles from 18 o’clock from Friday until 21 o’clock Saturday.

Then we raised all the flags one by one while the particular team was cheering. If someone wonders the order of the flags (not Argentina, Australia, Austria etc..) But Finland, South Africa, Germany etc..reason for that is that we were told that we have to put Finnish flag first, and rest of the countries has to be arranged by the French names of the countries, like in Olympics. Well, I have never heard or seen that before in other competitions, but if someone wiser than you tells you what to do, then you do it, don’t you.

Then Heikki and the president of SIL and our patron gave speeches, everything was done in half an hour or so. After the ceremony people were invited to the opening party to the hangar, arranged by Cafe26.

We left quite early, as I was still a bit tired of Friday and the excitement of losing the bike.

Sunday 22nd June – No grid, no task

The organization was introduced in the briefing at 10.00, and I got my few seconds of publicity as well, as we all were standing at the podium.

At weather briefing Jarkko’s (the meteorologist for the first week) comment that the weather is “quite moist” up until the tropopause with the day’s sounding image made people burst into laughter. I don’t understand much of those graphs even I should, but obviously it was telling that the flying isn’t possible today.

Honestly at this point (one week later) I can’t remember what I did that day. Took a nap, ran here and there I guess, as I didn’t even take pictures. Aa, I took one as Ailsa took me behind the fire truck and showed me how a kangaroo sticker has appeared on the side of the truck. It actually looked like it belongs there as the kangaroo was same colour as the fire truck. Also I cut Kimmo’s and Pauli’s hair.

In the evening at the barbecue Heikki (the competition director) said that we should be ready for early morning on Monday. We were rolling our eyes since everybody had said during the day that Monday will be as bad as Sunday was. But Heikki said that there is a chance that it will be better. So we went early to bed, except that I found myself reading WGC facebook page, my mails and answering to all, and went again to bed too late.