Friday, November 4, 2016

Show of Support

It's amazing how the power of an event of Red Bull X-Alps' caliber can unexpectedly bring people together.  Within an hour of the athlete announcement late Wednesday night (Japan time), Darek Magusiak, a paraglider instructor from London, Ontario, and self-described 'flying addict' (just like me!) contacted us and asked what he and other local flyers could do in terms of sponsorship for, as I turn out to be, the only Canadian in the race!  Close on Darek's heels was another well-known Canadian pilot, Alex Raymont, who offered up immediate and great advice, including, 'Go out for a march right away with your pack on', leading to the picture in the previous post.  I was very moved by these fellow Canadians reaching out to me, and I know we can work together to prepare me for this experience of a lifetime: a chance to represent my country in something really significant!

The next day happened to be a public holiday in Japan, but after all it is 'the Land of the Rising Sun', so come early morning, our phones were buzzing with incoming messages.  Among them was a good friend and flyer from nearby Fukuoka, on his way to his local hill. He said, 'I bought a piggy bank for you! I'll put it at the clubhouse, and I'm sure lots of people will give you support!'  Turns out the wind came in and it was a busy day there. By the evening the piggy had already accumulated the equivalent of several hundred dollars!  I heard that another flyer friend contributed $100. Amazing!

Later that day, we received word from our good Australian friend Garth Camac, Australian XC distance record holder, and a pilot who (unlike me) doesn't need any introduction on the global paragliding scene.  Out of the blue, (actually he is filming in Chile) Garth offered to be my supporter.  I was floored by his generosity.  He is willing to commit weeks of prime XC season just to chase me around the Alps!  Well, the rules this year are that there can be only one official supporter, who must be declared already in the application. Mine is Julien Maatouk, himself an amazingly easy-going and generous person whom I serendipitously ran into a couple years ago at his 'summer home area' of Ceillac, France.  However, Garth's racing expertise, XC prowess, and repair skills would sure come in handy during the race!  We'll have to try to work something out.

Besides these, an avalanche of messages rolled in from friends all over the world, offering their congratulations, great advice and various forms of support.  Leanne and I are absolutely overcome with this unexpected rally of good will and encouragement.  THANK YOU EVERYONE!

It says: I'm Rick, let's hit Monaco!

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What is in this blog?

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