In the core of this rising air mass, my ears pop, I feel a strong surge pushing on my backside, and my arms grow heavy from the g forces. I'm shooting upward at 800 feet per minute.
The strongest lift is beneath the northwestern edge of the cloud. By steepening or flattening out the wings I adjust my circle, searching for the center of the thermal. Watch a raptor soaring above you and you'll get the idea.
Close to the base of the cloud I roll out and head north, lowering the nose and increasing my speed to about 85 knots. Racing through the blue I go in sinking air toward clouds that are leaning slightly to the south and connecting into long ribbons of lift. Flying in a straight line along these "cloud streets" minimizes circling. In this path of rising air I cruise toward Owosso, my intermediate goal.
Monitoring the radio, I hear another glider pilot nearby, X-ray Juliet. We agree to meet over the Livingston County Airport. There I move to within 100 feet of him on my port side before we spread out in search of lift, pouncing on each other's thermals, working our way north.