Words and photos courtesy of Carrie Transue, of Team Nomad
May 19, 2014 – Setting the stage for this week’s US Canopy Piloting National Championship, Team Alter Ego’s Nick Batsch took control of the last Florida Canopy Piloting League (FLCPA) meet, setting two new world records in the first 4 rounds of competition.
A formidable world Distance Champion, Batsch began the FLCPA competition as the current Distance World Champion, having set his eighth record at 166.69 in late March. The competition began with the Speed event, which had to be postponed due to a sensor begin blown in the pond during the first round. 61 competitors shifted their focus to Distance as the shifting winds resulted in an array of results from 40 meters to 148.76 meters during the first round.
More consistent and favorable wind conditions during the second round of distance opened the door for Batsch’s current World Record to be challenged. Before the end of the round, the record would be broken three times before Batsch ultimately reclaimed his World Record for the 9th time with a 175.43 meter run. With his 9th Distance World Record, Batsch continues his three-year dominance in the discipline. Prior to a record rule change in 2012 that requires jumpers to drag their foot across water during a distance jump, Batsch held a 222.45 meter record…..that’s flying the length of more than 2 American football fields! The 222.45 meter record was his fourth World Record at the time. Following the rule change, Batsch has set and broken another four records; and, set his fifth with the 175.43 meter jump this weekend (for a little context – that’s over 1 and half football fields long). Fresh off earning his 9th world record in Distance, Batsch and the competitors geared up to complete the Speed rounds from earlier in the day. Batsch tore through the course with a 2.034 second run in the first round and 2.162 second performance in the 2nd round. At 2.034 seconds, Batsch would secure his 2nd World Record of the day. Batsch would continue through two challenging rounds of Zone Accuracy and earn the Gold for the final FLCPA meet of the season. Batsch’s performance at this competition is indicative of his fierce competitive focus throughout 2014. The FLCPA meet this weekend was his first competition in six weeks, having been grounded while healing from a broken ankle.
On top of Batsch’s victory, the rest of the Alter Ego team showed a collective dominance in the Speed and Distance events during the meet, a precursor to the USPA Nationals beginning May 21st. Jay Sanders (148.76 meters), Ryan Brownlow (148.26 meters) and Nick Batsch (145.05 meters) flew the furthest in the first round of Distance; and, in the second round, teammate World Champion, Curt Bartholomew would fly a personal competitive best of 163.70 meters while Sanders bested his first round performance with a 161.03 meter run.
In Speed, Bartholomew would once again fly a competitive personal best of 2.182 seconds in the second round while Brownlow joined Batsch and Bartholomew with a 2.191 second score in the first round. Bartholomew would also end the meet earning the 2014 FLCPA season Championship, having competed in each of this year’s 5 meets: earning two gold, two silver and one-fourth place finish throughout the season. Jeannie Bartholomew, competing in the Advanced division of the competition would cinch a 3rd place finish for the FLCPA season.
The 6 person team (Michael McCann, the team’s photo/videographer does not compete) are now shifting focus to training for the US National Championships to be held later this week and after a solid performance at the FLCPA from all competitors the first major competition of 2014 promises to be epic.
Team Photo Caption: (l-r) Jay Sanders, Mike McCann, Nick Batsch (2013 US National Champion, Speed World Record Holder, Distance World Record Holder), Jeannie Bartholomew (3rd place Advanced FLCPA 2014 Season), Curt Bartholomew (current Canopy Piloting Triple Crown Champion, 1st place FLCPA 2014 Season).