News and Updates
Jun-11-2022
2-DAY HANDS ON INVENTORY & PULL 10TH FLIGHT
This morning was Day 1 of a two-day hands on inventory where we are pulling the 10th flight as well as checking the birds and their chip rings.  We did 198 birds this morning and will do the remaining 150 or so tomorrow (Sunday).
 
Yesterday and today we have been in a heat-wave with warm mornings and high temperatures approaching upper 90s at the loft.  Normally we'd try to do them all in one day but it was already getting hot at the loft at 9 AM this morning so we will do the rest of the birds tomorrow (Sunday).  Tomorrow the temperatures are supposed to drop 25 degrees with scattered showers so we may have to delay a few hours in the morning if it's raining.
 
Today we handled primarily the older and middle aged birds that are all well settled and flying regularly.  Tomorrow we will handle some of the other middle aged birds and all of the younger ones.
 
We pulled the 10th flight on all 198 birds this morning that were mostly on their 4th to 7th flight already.  Body moults were all over the place with some done completely, some in heavy body moults, etc.  Current health was good on all 198 of those birds.  There were two that I could tell must have been sick previously (but look good now) that are still getting their weight back but everything else was good.  All the chip rings were working fine on those 198 but we did have one bird that was lost about a month ago (GEN 666) that I eventually deleted from the system........now it's back.  So I will reallocate that chip ring tomorrow so that it will clock in normally.
 
Again this is a two-day inventory, so please wait until Sunday afternoon to make sure individual birds are here or not here.  Still about 150+ more birds to clock tomorrow on Sunday.  Last day to ship replacements will be Monday 6/20
 
- Matt
Jun-06-2022
CLOSED TO NEW ENTRIES + LOFT UPDATE

We are now closed to new entries for the 2022 series but will continue to accept replacements for the next couple of weeks.  We ended up with 350+ birds which is a good manageable number while still offering good competition.

 
In about a week to ten days we will do a hands on inventory when we pull the 10th flight on most of the birds (except the younger ones).  Once we have all of the birds together in one group we will start posting regular loft flight inventories later in the month.  About 2/3 of the birds are going out loft flying regularly almost daily and a newer group will be mixed in with them this week.
 
Loft settling has gone ok but there have been some birds that have gone missing.  We've been able to get the birds out quite a bit over the past several weeks but the more you let them out the more chances for birds to get themselves lost.  We did have a couple small fly-aways (6 to 8 birds) a few weeks ago where a group of birds took off routing.  In one case the larger group that came back wasn't as full.  In the other case a smaller group of birds that had been routing daily and staying up the longest every day just vanished.  The next day one came back and that was it.  I suspect they may have been far away from the loft and then something bad happened like a falcon hit.
 
Otherwise just the usual single birds that go missing during the settling process.  We have not had much of an issue with Cooper's hawks that we know of but the Red-Tail hawks have been a nuisance this year in terms of constantly flying over, screeching, and sometimes swooping down causing the birds to scatter off the loft.  The good thing is it gets the birds to loft fly better and sure gets the younger birds flying in a flock quickly.  Settling birds is a little tougher here than other areas as we are in a bit of a canyon with a mountain immediately to the east and to the west as well.  Ideally first few times out you don't want a young bird to end up on the other side of either one.
 
We try to get the birds out and settled within 3-4 weeks of arriving.  7 to 10 days of that is spent in quarantine and then they go to the first section for a couple of weeks of trap training and getting them used to the main loft and the surroundings from the landing board.  Once in the main section the birds have  both the landing board aviary and the large rear aviary.  We don't use a net as seems to be the new popular trend in OLR's.  We tried it in 2020 as it seemed like a good idea.  However it only helped very slightly in terms of settling losses.  All it really does is just delay the inevitable especially for skittish birds with poor homing ability.  Once you start letting them out it's up to them whether they want or know how to stay here.
 
Overall health in the main loft is good and has stayed pretty good all spring.  I believe we have lost 15-16 birds due to sickness and some of those were actually in quarantine.  Almost always the typical YB sickness symptoms.  A few others have looked shaky and then recovered.  90% of the birds have looked good the entire time.  
 
I have seen a trend again this year of birds getting sick in quarantine just 2-5 days after being here.  That means they were carrying something already when they arrived and the stress of shipping just brought it out.  Rarely has it been a surprise as the birds looked questionable to begin with on arrival.  I would advise breeders that if you have sick young birds or breeders at home.......you shouldn't be sending birds out to OLRs.  At the very least breeders should be closely inspecting birds individually before they are sent out.  If they're scrawny, not full of vitality, etc. they should not be sent out.  Even when you send them out in perfect condition they may still catch something from another bird regardless.
 
The molt is coming along well and several birds flew through the body molt quickly and are already acting like yearlings.  Majority of the birds will continue to molt the body over the summer and most will be done with the body moult by early to mid training.  Racing in October and November is nice because it gets all the birds through the body molt before the actual races start.  As mentioned we will be pulling 10th flights soon on a large portion of the birds.  Some younger ones will be marked and done later in the month.
 
Remember if you are missing birds you have a couple more weeks to send replacements.  I sent emails out to breeders letting them know which birds were missing.  It is possible we may be down a couple more from this past week but we'll find out on the inventory soon.
 
- Matt
 
 
Apr-08-2022
ACCEPTING ENTRIES & LOFT FLYING UPDATE
Things are going pretty well with the Gold Country Challenge birds thus far.  We are just past half way through the intake period and will continue to accept new entries through Mid May (with replacements into early June).
 
The older birds (40+) have been flying regularly several times per week for several weeks now.  They are already in a flock with many of them routing.  Early last week we added/merged in the next group of 55 with them and they have been let out about 5 times since then.  Some of those are already starting to fly with the main group and the main group will expand quite a bit as more of the younger ones start to join in.  This weekend we will merge in another 38 birds from the third group (they have been trap trained several times) and early next week those will go out for the first time.
 
We've had mostly dry conditions over the past 6 weeks with some really beautiful weather days.  We have had more windy days than normal but on average we are getting about 5 nice days a week to get the birds out.   We are taking advantage of the good weather, getting the birds out early and often.  I believe the earlier you can settle young birds and get them into a flock the better.  They seem to learn better and settle easier when younger.  It also keeps them from getting heavy.  I am not a believer in keeping them locked up when you don't have to.  It does help when the weather and hawks cooperate.  So far we have not had too much of an issue with hawks but we'll see as new ones can migrate in at any time.
 
Settling has mostly gone well except for two occasions.  We are missing a few from yesterday and the very first time they went out.  Yesterday I suspect that some younger ones may have gotten too far away from the loft when the older ones were routing.  On the very first day we let the first group out several weeks ago there were a handful of birds lingering on the loft at dusk and a great-horned owl flew over and nailed a grizzle off the roof.  I never saw the grizzle again and in the commotion a few birds stayed out overnight with a couple of those never showing up again (breeders have been notified).  If we end up still missing any from this week we will find out who over the weekend and notify breeders. For the most part settling and loft flying is going very well though.
 
Overall health has been very good so far with only a total of 4 sick birds (one of those did recover).  We quarantine the birds for 7-10 days upon arrival and more than anything this helps the birds become a little stronger and eat really well on their own before they enter the main loft.  The birds are on numerous supplements as well to help prevent young bird sickness.  With that said, as we start getting later into the spring it is inevitable that there will be some sick birds, hopefully just a handful of birds like last year.  This happens in every one loft race and it's a given when you take in hundreds of different birds from different breeders.  So I'm not going to pretend like we take in hundreds of birds and never end up with a sick one but the goal is to keep it minimal and the vast majority of the birds will stay healthy the entire time.
 
Some of the birds are already going into a pretty good body moult and a few really quick moulters are even pretty far along in the body moult.  The birds are on the light system and as we get into May we will start pulling 10th flights (starting with the older birds).  We also shut off the extra light in early May to help accelerate the body moult.  Generally we have 98% or more of the birds through the body moult by the time the races start.  Starting the races in October also helps to mature birds.  For those that don't know, the body moult is much more important to racing performance than the wing moult.
 
Again we are still taking new entries for another 6 weeks or so and reservations are still open.  We don't have the biggest race or the largest prize payout and we certainly don't have any gimmicks.  We do have 15 years of experience and the results prove that we consistently have some of the best actual races each and every year.  In 14 years never a single race with below 50% returns and only two races ever with below 70% returns.  We have had some difficult training tosses over the years but fortunately when the money is on the line we have consistently produced good races year after year without blowhome or smash final races.
 
Any questions please email Matt Hans at:  hansfamilyloft@gmail.com
 
Feb-25-2022
TRACY/STOCKTON TOMORROW . ACCEPTING BIRDS

We have been accepting birds since early February and we have already received about 50 thus far.  Close to 30 of those have already gone through quarantine into the main loft and most likely we will be going out for settling this upcoming week if the weather remains nice.

 

Jon will be driving back from Tracy & Stockton tomorrow Saturday 2/26 during the mid afternoon.  If you have any birds ready and live near those areas please let us know ASAP and he can meet you by one of the freeways on the the way back.

- Matt

 

 

Jan-26-2022
EXTENSIVE UPDATE. REASONS TO SIGN UP FOR 2022

Race rules and the projected payout for the 2022 Gold Country Challenge are all posted on the main website.  Signups have been slow so far this year.  We really need more breeders to sign up by the end of this weekend to make running the race worth it for both you the breeder as well as us the handlers.  400-500 birds is our goal with the loft holding a little over 500 birds.

 

Quick basics of 2022 Series are.... 
 

 5 Race Series with a 334 Mile Final Race from the East Course over the High Sierra Mountains.
 

 Perch Fees are $120 Each or 6 Birds for $600
 

 Entry Fees are $275 Per Bird (due in the fall after the 104 Mile Activation Toss)
 

 5 Ways to Win Prizes (Race 3, Race 4, Race 5, Average Speed & High Point Bird with Custom Point Formula)
 
This is the time of year when most of the OLR's are promoting their races and I realize we are not the best promoters.  I believe in advertising the race ethically for what it is and what it has been.  It's not in my nature to exaggerate or make empty promises just to get more breeders into the race.  I'm not going to tell you how tough our course is and then go fly a 1700 YPM final race.  I'm not going to tell you I care about the pigeons and then choose to release in 20-30 MPH headwinds/bad weather and have no day birds.
 
Unfortunately there is too much focus on prize money/gimmicks in some of the races and not enough focus on the actual quality of the races themselves.  First and foremost we care about the pigeons and producing quality racing.  We don't always have the easiest of times in training due to the mountains on the course but we do have consistently good races that resemble what most would consider normal club/combine style races. 
 

Archives of all the Races from the last 9 Years are Posted Here:

 
Features of the Gold Country Challenge:
 
🏆 2022 will be our 15th Year.  Experience matters, with the Gold Country Challenge being one of the longest tenured one loft races.
 
🏆 In 14 years never a smash race with below 50% returns.  In fact we've only flown 2 races total (of nearly 60 flown) with returns below 70%.
 
🏆 14 years and never a blowhome final race.  All final races have been in the 1100-1500's YPM Range.
 
🏆 In 2022 we are back to flying the east course over the 8000-10000' High Sierra Mountains.  Truly one of the most challenging race courses in the USA with massive mountains and a large lake (Lake Tahoe) that the pigeons must cross.
 
🏆 One of the only races every year to have 100% of the entry fees paid before Race 1.  We do not ship unpaid birds to the first Race.
 
🏆 One of the few races every year to provide detailed accounting breakdown of the prize payout showing total birds paid, full prize distribution of all the entry fees, and prize statement chart of all the winners
 
🏆 One of the few races that sources multiple weather models and pays for a premium weather service to help make better shipping decisions on what days to race.  
 
🏆 We show exact release point locations on Google Maps and post the exact distance of the race.  We don't exaggerate the mileage.  Videos posted of release.
 
🏆 One of the only races to pay a significant portion of the prizes to the Overall Ace Pigeons of the 5 Race Series.  We believe in rewarding the most consistent pigeons among all the races.
 
Any questions please email Matt at: hansfamilyloft@gmail.com
 
Thank you to all those who have signed up already and hope to see more signups so that we can make 2022 another great series.
 
 
 
 
Dec-09-2021
FINAL RACE RECAP + WE ARE BACK FOR 2022!
The Final Race Recap from last week's final will be posted below.  Just to let everyone know............ 
We have decided to host the race again for 2222 (our 15th Year).  Details to follow at the end of this message and in the coming days.  We will be returning to the east course over the High Sierras for the 2022 season.
 
The final race of the 2021 series was flown over a week ago on 11/29 from 305 Miles.  Release point was at 3700' elevation off Pine Ridge Route at a scenic overlook viewing Quail lake and the Grapevine/Tehachapi mountains.  I arrived there about 80 minutes before the release and watered the birds while watching the sun come up.  Conditions at release were beautiful with clear skies, light winds but fairly warm at 60 degrees because of an inversion.  Very unusual to have a temperature of 60 degrees in the mountains that early in the morning for late November.
 
I released the birds at 7:20 and they took off fairly well, initially heading towards the lower section of mountains like I wanted them to.  Although last I saw them they were veering right towards the bigger mountains but still looked like they knew what they were doing.  The mountains they had to climb about 10 Miles out ranged anywhere from 4800' to 6200' range.  The area they were heading for was around 5200-5500' so they were going to have to do some more climbing.  Fog was going to be much less of an issue this race with just some patchy fog along HWY 99 about 100-150 miles out from the release point.  What was more of an issue than anticipated was smog (poor air quality) and I believe it probably played a role in the race not going as well as we had hoped.  Driving back on the south side and through the Grapevine the skies were clear and blue.  As soon as I started dropping down the north side of the Grapevine overlooking Arvin and Bakersfield, the entire sky was a dirty haze/smog.  It was like this for the next 150 Miles or so driving home with AQI ratings in the 130-160 range from Bakersfield all the way north of Fresno.  Really not much different than fire season in terms of air quality.  The further east or west into the foothills and mountains the skies were much cleaner.  
 
The valley has had so much inversion and so little wind over the last few weeks that the air quality has been really poor.  Same conditions causing the fog.....high pressure, inversion, and no wind.  I suspect when the birds came over the mountains they saw the smog and then veered towards the east into the mountains to avoid it.  That means they have to fly more miles and as we saw with the last two races when they have to fly a long time through the 2000-3500' range they break up more.  The last 100 miles or so along the freeways the air quality was better.  Back at the loft conditions were beautiful with clear blue skies and about 70 degrees although it was quite warm in the bright sun.  The birds did have a light headwind the last 100 Miles or so.  I only made two quick stops driving home and ended up getting back to the loft about an hour before the birds actually arrived.  We had about 15 guests over for lunch and to view the birds coming in.  
 
I figured the birds would be in the mid to upper 1300 YPM range if they came well.  Once 2:00 PM came by and still no birds we were starting to get concerned as they really should have been there.  Fortunately 10 minutes later at 2:10 PM a drop of 3 birds finally arrived from the south (appears they came online).  Clocking in 1st Place at a speed of 1308 YPM was 1833-AA from R & D Racing (Rick Broere & Dale Zehr).  Congratulations to Rick & Dale.  This pigeon was also Equal 1st (2nd Place) on Race 3 and 30th Place just 3 minutes behind on Race 1.  Unfortunately it was 5 hours late (as a lot of birds were) on Race 2 which killed it's chances in average speed.  It did great though in 3 of 4 Races especially the last two.  Clearly one of the best pigeons in the series.  2nd in the drop went to 9206-JEDD from BirdHigh Ranch (Fred & Barbara Daskoski).  This pigeon flew fairly well the entire series winning 9th Overall Ace Pigeon after saving it's best performance for last.
 
Finally the 3rd bird on the 1st Drop was 2149-FLTW from Fleet Washington (Hong Pan) which was already leading Average Speed by 7 Minutes going into the final race.  2149 ended up winning 1st Overall Ace Pigeon (Average Speed) by 38+ Minutes!  A tremendous pigeon that did great in all 4 races and was Equal 1st on Race 3 as well.  Usually once a final race slows down and becomes tough.......it's very rare for the bird leading average speed to finish on the first drop (if it's a small drop).  2149 managed to persevere and finish at the top every race regardless of distance or conditions.  Congratulations to Fleet Washington for breeding 2149 that was obviously the very best pigeon in the series.  Fleet Washington is no stranger to success in the Gold Country Challenge as he has previously won multiple 1st and Equal 1sts including the final race and won 1st Overall Ace Pigeon in 2018.
 
The first 3 birds looked pretty good and came right down and trapped well.  Just 1 minute later the second drop of 4 birds arrived with pigeons from Kereru Ware (Tom Bishop), RC Manaois, Kelly Fly, and Okie Shuffle (Wayne Spencer & Merl Emerson) on this drop.  The first three also ended up winning 10th, 2nd, and 6th respectively in Overall Ace Pigeon.  More great birds that were already doing well and used the final to move up the standings.  
 
A few minutes later 289-APC arrived alone for the 3rd drop and she was pretty tired.  The first of a handful of birds we saw with hanging wings.  As mentioned, the sun was very bright and just a bit warm.  289 would end up winning 5th Overall Average Speed & 3rd Nominated Point Bird.  There was an 8 minute gap before another 3 bird drop arrived with another APC bird #296 that would win 3rd Average Speed & 2nd Nominated Point Bird.  APC Loft (George & Jennifer Rankin) have had great success over the years in our race especially on the final race.  Also on the 4th drop was #1023 a Grizzle from Nanez Family Loft that came on strong the last two races and won the WTA Category as well as the first in the 10-1 categories on the final.  Bo Banat's #2152 was also on this 4th drop.  Same hen that won 1st Place on Race 3, 1st Place on the 104 Mile Activation, and 2nd Place (EQ 1st) on Race 1.  Another outstanding pigeon that just had one bad race (Race 2).
 
As you can see in the first four drops there was clearly a theme of many of the top pigeons throughout the series scoring once again.  That's one thing I've been pleased with over the years in that compared to many of the OLR's, we generally have a decent percentage of birds that flew well in multiple races scoring on the final as well.  I prefer that to the other scenario where some random "one shot wonder" wins the final after never doing anything the entire series.  I've won money with both types of birds on finals myself but I'll always put more confidence in the pigeon that flew well in multiple races.
 
There was a several minute gap again with the 5th drop arriving 20 Minutes after the first drop.  Apparently Kereru Ware, RC Manaois, and K FLY birds like to fly together once again just as with the 2nd drop, a bird from each of those lofts arrived together to make up the5th drop.  After this drop the returns really started to slow down for a while with mostly 1's and 2's arriving.  Most of the birds I saw arriving were from online SSE or SE but I also saw some arrive from due east.  The biggest drop of the day was 6 birds at 3:31 PM.  I think it's likely many of the birds got too deep into the mountains again (likely early on) which broke them up.
 
We ended up with 40% home on the day which isn't very good but not terrible either considering the slower speeds and how short the days are in late November.  I was hoping for a bigger drop early on and well over 50% home on the day.  Not my preferred type of race but it certainly could have been worse.  The trend for 2021 was all of the California races (except AGN) having bad finals with a low percentage of day birds and returns.  Percentage wise in terms of day birds and total returns we actually had the second best final of any California OLR.
 
Returns were good and steady for the first few hours the next morning but for whatever reason just stopped abruptly at 11 AM on day 2 with only two birds arriving the rest of the day.  We did get a few more back each day on Day 3&4.  In total 69.5% of the birds sent to the Final Race made it home.  Literally one bird shy of a true 70%.  We've had much better finals over the years but all things considering 70% isn't bad for a final at 1308 YPM.
 
We mailed several out of state birds back yesterday along with their prize checks.  Shipping fees were deducted from winnings.  We also mailed 5 boxes of California birds out yesterday  (Tuesday 12/7).  We ran out of boxes but I have more coming at the end of this week.  We will finish shipments early next week.  If you want your birds back please let me know.  I can quote you an actual shipping rate as if you are within California it's cheaper.  Anything not claimed within the next week or so will be given to new flyers.  If you have not sent a W-9 yet please do so although I believe we have just about all of them.
 
 
 
We are one of the relatively few OLR races to actually post full accounting breakdowns of not only all the prizes and entry fees taken but also who won what prizes with every dollar accounted for.  It's troubling that many races won't tell you exactly how many paid entries they had.
 
Congratulations to all of the winners.  There are 100+ tough pigeons still here that survived a season with a lot of adversity from all of the fires/smoke, a 30 Mile Smash toss and then a couple of difficult races complicated by fog, poor air quality and having to fly from deeper within the mountains than anticipated.  Not all of the pigeons still here had great race records at the end but the one thing they all have in common is exceptional durability.
 
As mentioned at the beginning of this update, we have decided to host the Gold Country Challenge once again for 2022.  This will be our 15th year.  I (Matt) will be taking an even more active role in the race next year to help Jon with the day-to-day activities of the birds and ease some of his workload with them.
 
We will be going back to the east course (flying over the High Sierra mountains) again next year.  Whatever advantages the south course had are being offset by the extreme fire seasons we've had in Northern California the last couple of years.  The south course really starts to deteriorate for racing once you get into November because of all the fog and poor air quality in the valley.  The east course you can fly all through November with generally little fog and much cleaner air.  The east course does have more trouble spots for training such as the infamous Mount Rose but as you can see in the archives the races themselves always go really well and we had great returns every single year on the final race from 334 Miles.
 
2022 will feature 5 Races with a 334 Mile Final from Deeth, NV.  5 races provided we are able to start relatively on time in October.  If smoke becomes a huge issue again to where we can't start until November we will reduce to 4 Races but keep the 334 Mile final the same.  Activation toss from Fernley, NV about 104 Miles.
 
Race 1 - 137 Miles 
Race 2 - 165 Miles 
Race 3 - 212 Miles 
Race 4 - 267 Miles 
Race 5 - 334 Miles (Deeth, NV)
 
Not set in stone yet but Perch Fees will likely be $120 Each or 6 Birds for $600.  Essentially if you enter 5 birds the 6th will be free.  We will start accepting entries in mid February.  Entry Fees will be raised a little to $275.  We are raising the entry fee slightly so that I can integrate the special point system into the regular prizes for all the birds. We will run both Average Speed & Points separately as there are generally some differences within the Top-10 of each.  Too many great birds that have 1 bad race in the first or second race that dominate at the end are never able to make a comeback in average speed but they can in points.  So next year we will run both and breeders will be able to compare.
 
Here are the Point Standings for this year 2021 had all the birds been nominated for the special point system:
 
Thank you to everyone who supported the Gold Country Challenge in 2021 and over the years.  We hope to see you back again in 2022 along with some new breeders.
 
- Matt Hans
 
Dec-01-2021
SHORT UPDATE - PRIZE WINNINGS CHART & SHIPPING

Race 4 (Final Race) was flown yesterday and was more difficult than we hoped.  As of now (end of Day 2) there are 65% of the birds home.  Hopefully we get a few more back tomorrow.  Not a terrible race but I was hoping for better on the last one.  I will post a full Race Recap in the next couple of days.  A handful of birds really excelled though including one pigeon that really outperformed the rest throughout the entire series.

 

Congratulations to R & D Racing (Dale Zehr & Rick Broere) for winning 1st Place @ 1308 YPM with their #1833.  This pigeon was also on the first drop in Race 3 and did well in Race 1 as well.  Being out overnight in Race 2 hurt it's chanced in Average speed.  Also on the first drop was Birdhigh Ranch with #9206 that finished in 9th Overall Average Speed.  Finally the last bird on the first drop was #2149 for Fleet Washington and this was the dominant pigeon of the series winning 1st Overall Ace Pigeon by 38+ Minutes.  #2149 was also on the first drop in Race 3 and did very well in both Race 1 and Race 2.  In a difficult series with a lot of adversity, there was only 1 pigeon that excelled in all 4 races with no mistakes and that was #2149.  Congratulations to Fleet Washingon for breeding an outstanding pigeon.  Cloux Loft (Charlie Loucks) won 1st Nominated Point Bird by a narrow margin over APC Loft in 2nd & 3rd.

 

Click Here for the Full Prize Payout (in Alphabetical Order by Breeder) for the 4 Race Series

 

If you won more than $600 after shipping then please email a completed W-9.  We will begin shipping out the birds next Monday and should ship most of them out next week.  Jon will start sorting out the birds tomorrow.  Please let us know whether you want them shipped back or not.  Those that won prizes I can deduct from your winnings.  Best way to let us know is by Email that way it's more organized and I have a record of who it's from.  If you didn't win money but still want your birds back email me and I can get you a shipping quote.  It costs a little more to ship to the midwest and East coast than it does west coast.

 

Again I will post a full race recap in a couple days.

 

- Matt

Nov-29-2021
RACE 4 (FINAL) RELEASE VIDEO

Here is video of release.  Skies are very hazy headed back towards Bakersfield but bluer with better air towards east Foothills.

 

 

 

Nov-29-2021
FINAL RACE TO BE RELEASED 7:15 TO 7:20

I arrived at the release spot at 6:10 AM.  Release point is off Ridge Route at an overlook viewing Quail Lake.  Elevation here is about 3700' and you can see a lower spot in the mountains to the north that hopefully the birds use.  

 

Temperature is a little warm on this side of the mountains about 60 already but it will cool as birds get to the south side of mountains.  Clear and very light north wind at the release point.  There will be some wind in the mountains themselves just to the north then about 200 Miles of very light winds followed by a light headwind the last 100 miles or so.  Much of the course will be calm to less than 5 MPH.  Temperatures should reach about 68-73 through much of the course.

 

Just a little patchy fog up and down the valley that should burn off before birds reach it.  The birds should be able to take whatever path they like.  Fog will not be an issue this race.

 

Birds have been watered since 6:20 but not many actually drinking which is typical.

 

Good luck in the race today and I'll upload the release video on way back.

Matt

Nov-28-2021
FINAL RACE TOMORROW (MONDAY 11/29)

The final race will be flown tomorrow 11/29 from either 305 or 308 Miles.  I have a couple different spots picked out.  One is at 3700' in the mountains S of Quail Lake / SE of Gorman.  The other is 10 Miles east in Neenach at about 3000' elevation.  Both locations will require the birds to climb up and over a large mountain range in the 5000-6000' range about 10 Miles out.  It's not the furthest final at only 305 to 308 Miles but more challenging then most as they have the big mountain range to come over and they will have no help in terms of wind.  

 

The spot S of Quail Lake would take the birds more up through the valley once they reach Bakersfield and eventually into the lower foothills.  If there is not much fog in the valley and I can get the trailer in there the Quail Lake location is where I will go.  If there is a fair amount of fog in the valley, I will go to Neenach instead which would take the birds more up through the foothills and lower mountains the entire way.  Neither location should take the birds on an extended trip into the mountains if they stay online but again they will have to climb over some big mountains right off the bat.

 

Weather tomorrow is supposed to be sunny the entire course with mild temperatures overnight and highs reaching about 70 along most of the course (including at the loft).  It should be just a little warm in the bright sun but pleasant.  Winds are supposed to be really light if any for the first 200 Miles and then a light headwind the last 100 Miles or so.  I think we'll see speeds in the 1325 to 1425 range with upper 1300's being most likely.

 

For those attending, lunch will be served around 12:45 and then start seriously watching for birds from 1:15 on.

 

I will update points and prizes late in the afternoon or early evening during the race tomorrow.  Remember the largest prize in the race is for 1st Overall Ace Pigeon and Ace Pigeon (Average Speed) pays 11 positons, so besides the actual capitol prizes there will be a lot of action into the afternoon on how they shuffle out for those Top-11 Ace Pigeon prizes.

 

Good luck tomorrow and thanks for participating,

 

Matt

 

Address to Loft:

6120 Chrysler Circle

Garden Valley, CA 95633

 

Google Maps directions is accurate

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