On September 24th, Mitch Polinsky was lucky enough to log some time in the Sierra wave with a true master, Jim Payne. The flight is posted on the OLC along with comments by Jim. http://www.onlinecontest.org/olc-2.0/gliding/flightinfo.html?dsId=3388718
It was the longest duration soaring flight I've ever been on (I was essentially a passenger, as desired, with Jim doing about 95% of the flying and all of the decision-making). [We logged a] total of ten hours of soaring after the engine was turned off (though the OLC statistics say less because they don't count one turnpoint -- we used one more turnpoint than those that count for OLC purposes).
Speed and distance were both below average for Jim, which indicates how challenging much of the flight was. You'll see in the altitude trace in the link above that we had one real "nail biter" moment halfway through the flight (not in terms of safety since our low point, five hours into the flight, occurred over the Minden airport).
[Here are two photos taken during the flight]: one of a cloud over the range east of Lake Tahoe; the other of the Ritter-Banner range west of Mammoth Lakes.
My overall conclusion: Wave flying is not as easy as Jim (and Gordon Boettger and Kempton Izuno) make it look. It's almost like a different sport from summer thermal flying, one that I hope to learn to do more of on my own. This flight was a step in that direction.
Thanks, Jim, for "taking me under your wing."