REWRITING THE RECORD BOOK: THE EPIC 2017 AMERICA’S CHALLENGE BY KIM VESELY Balloons poised to begin the 2017 America’s Challenge AIBF photo by Bennie Bos accustomed to seeing human presence ­ecame ­lan ets everywhere, it’s a discovery to feel for our laps. †he alone in the world.” sun is ­rutal dur French competitor Benoît Pelard was ing the day … at excited to fl y over the ndianapolis o night the cold can tor peedway ven mericans who’ve ­e serious,” writes fl own the race multiple times, li e four longtime competi time champion Bar­ara Fric e, never tor Phil Bryant. For tire of the magnifi cent view‚ “„hat  many teams, the love a­out ­eing in the ­as et is see toughest part of ing all the sights — the stars, shooting the fl ight is ­eing cooped up with one A journey of 2,000 miles begins with a stars, the towns, cities, farms, sunrises, other person – no matter how well single step: 2017 victors Laurent Sciboz sunsets, the la es we crossed — that they get along – for up to three tense and Nicolas Tièche begin their journey, was special.” days. ‰oah Forden puts it this way‚ with everything they might need during For the teams, life aloft can ­e ­oth “Šet’s ­e fran ‚ living in an open, hand three days aloft tied to the basket. Photo by Missi Leonard elating and stultifying. “†he daylight woven wic er ­as et the si‹e of a came, the sun curtains came up, the small ­room closet with another man sun set, the curtains came down and for a couple of days is not something 103 PICTURE PERFECT

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