Weather and Racing

Man oh man, the weather can certainly throw a wrench into the best laid plans, especially in a sport as sensitive to weather as pigeon racing. This past weekend for example. We had a race scheduled for Saturday from Smooth Rock Falls in northern Ontario. The weather forecast on Thursday morning, which was to be shipping day, was not good for the northern part of the province for Saturday, which turned out to be right, So phone calls were made to the liberation committee members of our combine and after studying the forecasts and other weather sources on the web all three of us were in agreement and decided to try for a Sunday race and ship on Friday instead. Emails and web posts were made and finally the liberators at about 10 in the morning had time to go to their lofts.

Friday, the forecast showed that the low over northern Ontario and Quebec would move far enough East to give us decent weather on the flight line on Sunday. The pigeons were shipped that evening and the convoyeur headed out for Smooth Rock Falls. I personally was congratulated by one of our club members for making such a good and wise decision on their behalf. Doesn’t happen often but, we take it as comes.

Got up at 4:30 am Saturday morning, put on the coffee and turned on my computer. Looked at the radar and weather and had a sinking feeling in my stomach, didn’t look good, but they were still forecasting for the weather to move out in a few hours. That would still give the birds time to get home on the day. Mind you this on the long end of the combine would be a 730 km race. At 5:30 got a phone call from the convoyeur who told me the weather on the ground was terrible. Heavy overcast, mist and strong winds. That sinking feeling in my stomach got a little stronger.

Called the other two liberators and based on the current weather and the forecast for the midmorning we decided to move to a shorter station, Cochrane. While the convoyeur drove to Cochrane the weather forcasts were updated. The low was going to move a lot slower to the east than first forecast. It would be impossible to release the birds till late afternoon. Many phone calls later the liberators had no choice but to hold the birds where they were till Monday morning. The convoyeur settled in for a long boring day, he had already been on the road for almost 72 hours with very little sleep and still had to face the drive back, time for him to rest.

Up again at 4:30 Sunday morning, more coffee and computer time, be now myself and the other liberators were getting just a bit edgy, this was turning into a 4 day ordeal. Radar showed the low had moved east, very little cloud all along the race course and the winds were light. Sunup that day was 5:22. The convoyeur confirmed that conditions were good. The birds had been fed Sunday afternoon and had water in front of them all night.The birds finally went up at 6:00 am. At 6:15 the convoyeur called to say the birds cleared the release site like bats out of “hell”.

That night when we went to the club for clock off, I only had one out and 18 in the loft. We had 4 on the drop from 693 km too my loft. I would say a good race even if we did get beat.
Off course while at the club, there was a complaint about not moving back to the original release point. That member had no consideration for the convoyeur. After a heated discussion between him and myself I do believe he got the drift of my thoughts on the matter.

Lets all remember there are people in this sport that go out off there way to ensure the safety and well being of our feathered athletes. We are not compensated financially, we get satisfaction from a job well done and will keep doing it, but we would appreciate a thank you instead of criticism.