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Weather Grounds Friday Balloon Ride; Still Hoping For Saturday

I was excited when I found out I was selected to be able to go up in one of the 6 hot air balloons during the media ride in the Rochesterfest Mayor’s Cup Invitational Hot Air Balloon Race Friday morning. Alas, Mother Nature had other plans.

The view from our balloon in Napa, CA just after we launched

When I met up with the balloon pilots Friday morning (at 5:35!) at Badger Ridge Park, Wayne (one of the Mayor’s Cup Balloon Race co-chairs) informed us a thunderstorm cell just southeast of Rochester was creating too much wind– and some potential downdrafts that make flying a hot air balloon tough to do, if not dangerous.

That’s the way it is with hot air balloons. You’re at the mercy of the winds, because you need them to move the balloon. The hot air only moves the balloon up or down, you need the wind to guide you along. Thing is, though, you can’t have too much wind or you go too fast and could crash. You also can’t have too little wind, either, or the balloon will only rise up, but not move in another direction.

Race organizers said they’re hopeful they’ll get the 25th Annual Mayor’s Cup Invitational Hot Air Balloon Race off Saturday morning. And the Balloon Glow is still set for dusk at Badger Ridge Park on Saturday night.

While I didn’t get to go up this morning, I was lucky enough to ride in a hot air balloon before, however. My wife and I took a sunrise balloon ride when we were in Napa, California a couple of years ago.  We did, though, have to ride about an hour east of Napa to find a launch area where the weather was conducive to sending the balloons up. It was a really cool experience!  I hope Mother Nature cooperates for the Mayor’s Cup this weekend!


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