#1 e upright with 6:40 to play, the Dolphins finally mounted a von mary123 19.09.2019 04:11

Melanie Astles has found a relatively quiet spot in one of the worlds loudest venues, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Behind a black curtain separating the working press from the corporate communications staff, Astles has set up her grungy HP laptop on a table overlooking the front straightaway and the hallowed yard of bricks at the start-finish line. But on this Saturday, the first day of October, the engine roar comes not from the pavement below but from the overcast sky above -- from the 300-horsepower Lycoming Thunderbolts of planes darting and diving through qualifying for the Red Bull Air Race.Astles finished her time trial about an hour ago. She was the fastest among the four pilots competing in the Challenger Cup, the feeder series to Red Bulls marquee Master Class, but penalties cost her four seconds, knocking her back to third place. Now she has shed her flight suit and snuck up to the media center to review GoPro footage of her flight, analyze her mistakes and try to find a way to clean up her run without losing speed.She pops open a can of omnipresent Red Bull Red and pours a bit into a bottle of water, turning the mixture pink. In a black case are two cameras that were mounted inside the cockpit of Astles monoplane -- one facing forward, showing the slalom-like obstacle course as she encountered it, and another facing backward at the pilot, documenting both the rearview and her focus, where shes directing her gaze as she turns and lifts and loops through the three-dimensional maze.She inserts one of the disks from the latter and immediately sees a problem. I just cant stop smiling, she says. I just cant stop it. Im so happy to do this.Her coaches dont like it when she smiles in flight. They want her to have fun, but they would rather see a look of determination, an athlete in her zone. Astles is the first woman to participate in the Red Bull Air Race. Shes also a rookie. At 34, shes not the youngest pilot in Challenger Class, but she is probably the least experienced. Astles didnt start flying until she was 21. Renting planes for practice is prohibitively expensive for novice fliers, and flight time at each race is scarce, restricted to two, maybe three minute-long runs and a single qualifier before the race. She must maximize every second in that cockpit -- theres no time for joyriding.What Astles lacks in flight time, she tries to make up for in preparation. The computer bag beside her chair contains a tattered teal folder with a meticulous daily schedule (6:00: Wake up, 8:00-8:45: Drive to track, 10:17: In plane, 10:44 Takeoff); a hand-drawn map of the course plotted out on three taped-together sheets of graphing paper annotated with target angles and speeds for each gate and chicane; and her pre-flight routine, detailing both her behavioral activity (Update news of wind, drink plenty of water) and her mental activity (Enter my bubble). At home, in the hangar, and at the hotel, she steals minutes to close her eyes and visualize the course, even before she has flown it. Once she has, she spends hours poring over video.Outside, gray clouds have gathered. Rain starts to pelt the emptied grandstands. Qualifying is suspended; the pilots scurry back to their hangars. Astles leans in over her laptop, for two more hours watching and re-watching her qualifying run, pausing at Gate 2 and the Finish Gate, the sites of her two penalties, both of which she attributes to a 10-degree overcorrection. The smile disappears.***The joy of flying came over Astles long before she left the ground. She was 6 when her parents took her to an airshow in England, and she remembers climbing into the cockpit of a Harrier jet. From that moment, she knew she belonged in the sky.But becoming a pilot was a daydream, good only for sketching airplanes in the margins of her notebook to pass the hours at school in the south of France. Her father painted flats; her mother was a secretary. Neither of them thought much of their daughters flight of fancy. They never encouraged me to do this, Astles says. I was told that it was impossible, because we didnt have the money, I did not have a scientific background. And when youre young, youre told stuff, and you believe it.Gender, she says, was also a factor. With no models, you think these things are impossible. The adults, as well, were thinking that maybe it was not for a girl.School, as it turned out, was not for Astles, either. She tried studying economics, literature, even hotel and restaurant management, but nothing stuck. At 18, she left school before graduating and went to work at a gas station. She ran the cash register, pumped fuel, mopped floors and, over three years, worked her way up to manager of several petrol stations scattered across France.One of those pit stops, in Lyon, was near an airport. Hearing the engines and watching planes soar above jump-started her dream. On a snowy afternoon when the planes were grounded, Astles ventured over to the closed airport and started knocking on doors. They were all locked -- except one. Inside, Astles met a pilot who had nothing but time to talk about flying. Before she left, Astles had signed up for her first test flight.For years, Astles saved her wages, paying for flight school hour by hour, studying mechanics for hours at home and between customers at work. She obtained her private license. Then in 2006, she wrote an essay about rediscovering her love for flying and entered it in a contest for free admission to an aerobatics training camp. She won and quickly became addicted to the adrenaline rush of loops, barrel rolls and hammerheads, at dizzying heights (more than 4,000 feet) and intense gravitational forces (between +8 and -6 Gs). But practice hours in an aerobatic aircraft were even more expensive. She quickly learned that for professional competitive pilots, most of the flying was done on terra firma, studying the physics and imagining the sequence of maneuvers. Im a hard worker on the ground, she says. I spend a lot of time visualizing and doing the best I can with my brain simulator. Her best produced five French Aerobatic Championships, a slot on the French national team, and several top-10 European rankings. Last year, Astles was ranked fifth-best female aerobatic pilot in the world. Still, she longed for another challenge. In July 2015, she tried out for the Red Bull Air Race, the F1 of the sport, with planes that flew faster (200 knots/230 mph), lower (50 feet) and with higher intensity (pushing 10 Gs). She made it through a rigorous selection process to become a challenger class competitor -- and the first female pilot in the organizations 13-year history. Ive flown with and met a lot of lady pilots, says Steve Jones, a former British racer, who oversaw Astles tryout as head of training for Red Bull Air Race. I was trained by a lady pilot, my chief flying instructor was a lady, I did my commercial training with a lady, and invariably, theyre at least as good as the men.At first, Jones says, Astles was a bit cautious flying so close to the ground, but her work ethic and preparation set her apart. She was quite well practiced at the mental side of high-level competition, Jones says. Theres a lot of sitting around in both competitive aerobatics and racing and you have to concentrate on the job you have and put everything else out of your mind. Astles also had a competitive edge. Shes quite a punchy character, Jones says. She doesnt like being beaten by the guys.***Its Sunday, race day, 9:30 a.m. And Astles is missing.Reporters and photographers mill about the Indianapolis Motor Speedway infield for the daily media hangar walk, a chance to interview and grab footage and photographs of the pilots and crew before they fly into action. While the Red Bull Air Race has a foothold in Europe (home to a majority of their flyers), Japan and South America, the sport is still fighting for a place in the crowded U.S. market. For the past three years, Red Bull has staged its final race in Las Vegas. This inaugural event in Indianapolis, the self-proclaimed Racing Capital of the World, is expected to draw 60,000 spectators -- half of what they typically draw in Poland or Japan. A big part of Red Bulls push to win more American fans is showcasing the sports personalities.Two-time champion and Texas native Kirby Chambliss, one of two American pilots in the Master Class, is standing front and center. The lone Yankee Challenger Kevin Coleman is also on hand. But by far the most popular pilot, the one who gets the most interview requests, is Astles. And the media relations staff is now scurrying to find her.Her absence is not a sign of recklessness or disregard. Astles understands the value of publicity, both to the sport and to herself. She knows shell need sponsorships if she is to graduate from the Challengers Class to the Master. But none of that matters if she doesnt win. And through six races, she has yet to even make the podium. Its a case of distraction management, says Paul Bonhomme, newly retired three-time champion who has taken Astles under his wing this year. And believe me, it is nonstop for a middle-of-the-order male pilot; it is phenomenally nonstop for a female pilot in Challenger Class. I tell her forget about all that. Forget that shes a female -- women have been flying for a hundred years. Forget about everybody watching, forget about the large crowds, imagine youre out in a nice quiet field somewhere, and thats the way to fly well.Bonhomme also helped Astles develop her pre-race ritual, the one she carries in her teal folder. The first step, two hours before flight, is to set up a barrier to the outside -- phone off, no computer, no media. She enters what she calls her bubble. Today, the bubble is a wood-paneled office of a ramshackle construction trailer that she stumbled upon in a restricted area of the infield. While the Red Bull crew searches for her outside, Astles is in hiding, eyes closed, Pink Floyd on her headphones, visualizing herself in the sky.***After a delay due to low cloud cover, the Challenger Class takes off at about 1:15 p.m. The four pilots share two planes, so while Ben Murphy hits the runway with one craft, and Luke Czepiela stands by in the second, Astles has no cockpit to occupy.And yet, in her mind, Astles is already careening through the course. She stands on a patch of grass behind a fuel tanker truck and an ambulance, her flight suit peeled down to her waist, sleeves knotted in front. Sunglasses on, Pink Floyd still blaring through her headphones, she holds her right hand up in front of her as if gripping a joystick, her left elbow out at a 90-degree angle, simulating a wing. Walking forward, she pulls up, leans back, takes off. She levels off, then leans hard left to make the first turn through Gates 1 and 2, weaves right to left to right through the chicane and then pulls up hard for the vertical turn, a loop, into Lap 2 of 3 -- all within a few square feet of trampled grass. To onlookers, it might appear that shes the robot at her own silent disco. She calls it her race dance.Minutes later, its Astles turn. She zips up the flight suit, dons her blue helmet, bearing the Union Jack, flag of her fathers native country. Her lips are pursed as she rolls onto the runway. The time to beat is Czepielas 1 minute, 16.484 seconds. Through her headset, she gets the go-ahead from race control, and shes off.The plane lifts at 120 knots and she levels off at around 60 feet as she turns through Gate 1 and into Gate 2, site of her qualifying penalty for incorrect level flying. Planes must pass between the 82-foot tall inflatable pylons level before turning, or have 2 seconds added to their time. Astles clears Gate 2 cleanly, but after winding through the chicane, she finishes the first lap .4 seconds off the pace. As she pulls up into the vertical turn, the plane sputters and starts to stall. Astles pulls out of it and heads into Lap 2, but now a full second behind Czepiela. One more vertical loop at just over 650 feet. She labors to breathe as the Gs push against her body, increasing her weight by five, six, seven times. The release as she twists the plane out of the turn, back for the third and final lap. She pulls through the finish gate and veers out of the speedway and over the urban landscape as she waits for race control to report her time. Seconds later, a voice crackles over her radio. No. 33, Melanie Astles, 1:17.053 ... no penalties.Finishing less than a second off the top time, Astles sits in second place, and since there is only one more competitor today, she is assured of her first podium finish.She doesnt celebrate. Back on the ground, out of the cockpit, she stops to grant a television interview. She unzips the flight suit as she walks briskly to her construction-trailer office to review the video. This time, she notices, she doesnt smile until after the race is over.***Ninety minutes later, after the Master Class has finished competition, its time for the trophy presentation. At one end of the Red Bull stage stand three flag poles. The second-highest is the blue, white and red of Astles France. The fourth Challenger, Coleman, struck two of the pylons. It cost him 6 seconds in penalties and left Astles in second place.Astles emerges from her trailer, but her route to the podium is blocked by a tall, lanky man with a gray mustache. John Astles leans in to embrace his daughter. When Astles started aerobatics, her parents were, at best, lukewarm about the prospect. But earlier this year, when her father attended her first air race in Abu Dhabi, something clicked. She had never seen him so excited. Almost as giddy as he is right now. We are so happy that shes found something that makes her happy, he says. I regret that we didnt take her seriously before. In school, teachers and parents put kids down and they get discouraged.Now, Astles gets emails and letters from young girls and boys thanking her for motivating them to pursue their passions. I dont think about it directly, but Im now realizing that Im inspiring girls, she says. When they see me, they realize it is possible to live your dream. Its not just about being a girl in a mans sport, but also about becoming a pilot when you dont have money and you start from zero.After this weekends season finale in Las Vegas, Astles will return to her full-time job as a commercial flight instructor and prepare for her second year in the Challenger Cup. She knows she still has a long way to go. But earlier this season a wealthy philanthropist, who had heard her story, helped her buy her own racing plane. Along with a new BMW sponsorship, Astles will be able to spend more time in the cockpit.The pilots climb the stairs onto the stage, and fans, including dozens of kids, crowd the barricades to get a look at their new favorite pilot. Astles receives her second-place trophy and picks up a bottle of champagne, shakes it, and sprays her fellow challengers, getting soaked by their bottles in the process.Good job, Melanie, shouts a girl from the crowd.Astles makes her way down to sign programs and T-shirts, to shake hands and stand for selfies even as Red Bull staff tries to pull her away. She is out of her cockpit, out of her bubble. Here, its OK to smile. Whitey Ford Yankees Jersey . That gave fans outside Joe Louis Arena another chance to ask for autographs from the 19-year-old whose stardom in the NHL has arrived earlier than most expected. Joe Girardi Jersey . In taking its goal tally to 99 in all competitions already this season, City delivered another demonstration of its lethal firepower at Etihad Stadium to set up a fourth-round match at home to another second-tier team -- Watford. https://www.cheapyankees.com/901g-raul-mondesi-jersey-yankees.html . The 19-year-old Olsen played 34 games with the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL this season. In that time, hes recorded 17 goals and 17 assists with 36 penalty minutes. Casey Stengel Jersey . John Tavares, Thomas Vanek and Kyle Okposo were also being counted on to slow down sizzling Rangers forward Rick Nash. That plan didnt go so well early. Jake Barrett Yankees Jersey .C. -- Kemba Walker and the Charlotte Bobcats got off to a fast start, and the Sacramento Kings were never quite able to catch up. LOS ANGELES -- For 54 dull and rainy minutes, the Los Angeles Rams defense appeared to be carrying Jared Goff to a victory in his NFL debut.With two dramatic drives, Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins washed it all away.DeVante Parker caught a 9-yard touchdown pass with 36 seconds to play, and the surging Dolphins rallied for two late scores to spoil Goffs big day with a 14-10 victory Sunday.Tannehill passed for 172 yards in the fifth straight victory for the Dolphins (6-4), who were dominated by the Rams defense until their final chances for redemption. Miami left the Coliseum crowd in disbelief and barely kept alive its longest winning streak since 2008.I dont even know (how the comeback happened), Dolphins coach Adam Gase said. Just nothing was going right for us. We were terrible on offense.After Jarvis Landry caught a 10-yard TD pass with 4:02 to play, the Dolphins got the ball right back and drove downfield for Parkers diving TD reception in the corner. Miami gained 152 of its 240 total yards on the final two drives, leaving the Los Angeles defense heartbroken and furious.We played pretty much great the whole day, Rams defensive end Robert Quinn said. We kept fighting, but those last 6 minutes, I think its going to haunt us.Todd Gurley scored on a 24-yard run in the first quarter for Los Angeles (4-6), but neither team managed much offense until Miamis late surge.GOFFS TURNUntil the late swerve, the game was a decent coming-out party for the NFLs No. 1 draft pick.Goff went 17 of 31 for 134 yards after finally getting his chance in the 10th game of the season. But the Rams did little between Miamis two touchdowns, and when Los Angeles got the ball back at its 41 with 29 seconds left, Goff moved the team only 12 yards before throwing an incompletion in the end zone as time expired.Felt good, Goff said. Were obviously disappointed with the result there at the end and how things turned out, and how we felt through the whole game and how in control we were. At the end, 6 minutes left, we just kind of couldnt put it away.Nearly seven months after the Rams traded up to draft Goff, their prized rookie finally got his first start and was introduced to raucous cheers on a rare rainy day in downtown LA, but he made few memorable plays in a conservative game plan.The rrookie got his first NFL completion on a short pass to fellow rookie Tyler Higbee, but neither team made much headway in the first three quarters.dddddddddddd Goff showed mobility in the pocket and made a handful of key third-down throws to keep the Rams moving.I was disappointed in the outcome of the game, but I think you could see the light, Los Angeles coach Jeff Fisher said. There was a light there for (Goff), so well continue to allow him to get ready, continue to progress.BEATING THEMSELVESFisher called it one of the most disappointing losses of his long career.To play 3 1/2 quarters of good football and then to let things slip away in the last 6 minutes was really disappointing, Fisher said.Los Angeles took its first double-digit lead at home this season on a 46-yard field goal by Greg Zuerlein in the third quarter. But after Zuerlein missed a 48-yard attempt off the upright with 6:40 to play, the Dolphins finally mounted a scoring drive capped when Landry caught a short pass and his teammates pushed the pile 4 yards into the end zone.Its all about will, Landry said. I couldnt get in there alone. I closed my eyes and went for the ride.AWAY FROM HOMEThe Dolphins spent the week in California after beating San Diego last weekend, but their offense was mostly awful until Tannehill got it moving in the final minutes. Parker had eight catches for 79 yards, and Jay Ajayi rushed for 77 yards.INJURY REPORTDolphins: OG Laremy Tunsil started at left tackle in place of Branden Albert, but injured his shoulder during the first half. Backup RT Sam Young moved over to the left side. Albert had surgery on a torn ligament in his wrist, but wouldnt rule out playing next week.Rams: Quinn started five days after spending the night in a hospital with an apparent case of dehydration. ... C Tim Barnes also started after weeklong concerns about his foot. ... Rookie LB Josh Forrest hurt his knee in the first half and didnt return.UP NEXTDolphins: Return home to host struggling San Francisco (1-9).Rams: At New Orleans for yet another long road trip in a season full of travel.---For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL ' ' '

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