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Rat Race 2008
Eagle Team Pilots Sweep The Podium
Marty DeVietti takes his place at the top of the podium as the 2008 Rat Race Paragliding Competition Champion at Woodrat Mountain in Oregon. He nearly won the West Coast Paragliding Competition at the same flying location a month earlier. Marty is an Eagle Team pilot, and was flying the Airwave GG prototype which replaces the FR3.
The nation’s top ranked pilot Brad Gunnuscio finished in second place on his Niviuk Icepeak XP. He won task 4 and took 3rd on task 5 to bring down the hammer and take his place on the podium. Greg Babush was the WCPC 2008 champion, and he took third place on his UP Edge making it a clean sweep of the podium for the Eagle Paragliding Team.
Eagle team pilot Melanie Pfister won the women’s division on her Airwave Mustang 2. She was beating lots of the boys to goal on a daily basis which put her in the top 20 in the overall results. Did I mention this was her first competition? Meredyth Malocsay was the WCPC female champion in 2008, and she finished second at the Rat Race. Eagle Team pilot Cheri Silvera flew well all week and raced into third place.
2008 Rat Race Top 30: (Eagle Team Pilots in Red)
What an honor for me to win this meet. My mentor and great friend Dixon White and Mike Haley were the genesis of this meet some 6 years ago, and I wasn't even there for the first one. Sadly, on the second Rat Race, Dixon passed away in his sleep the night before he was to fly from Phoenix to Medford and meet me there, having sponsored me to be in the race with him. It was very hard and emotional for me to fly in my first Rat Race, but I knew he wanted me to, and I did. Several years have past and I have since taken the time to ponder my goals and dreams, seeing how short life is. Starting a family has been one of my dreams come true, and now I have my sights set on getting a spot on the US team to compete at the Worlds.
Taking our two oldest kids with Carmen and I to camp and compete would seem like a big distraction for some, I am sure. Leaving the 2 babies at home with Grandma for 10 days can work on your brain as well. Nonetheless, Carmen, Joe and Andrea were great at just letting me be in my own 'comp space' when needed, and we had nothing but fun and fond memories from the trip. A big thanks to Glen and Jen at the lake for their hospitality as well as Mike and Gail Haley for loaning us Kayaks and life vests. Magic Mike was off the hook at the awards ceremony too, and boy did the kids love your show! Thanks!!! (Carmen and I still can't get over it ourselves!)
I had originally thought I would be flying tandem with Carmen at this meet, and told everyone just that. After doing well at the WCPC, I was looking forward to coasting a bit and just having fun at the RR since the points weren't supposed to be as high for the RR at that point. Several "big dogs" signed up in the mean time and the points rose accordingly. When I mentioned this to Carmen, she declared to me "You are SO competing at this race!" So I had to ask myself, "Who am I to argue with my wife?" In the mean time I was in a hurry to reline my FR-3 and find a reserve handle for my Impress harness. A HUGE thanks goes to Rob Sporrer for making it happen with Airwave and taking care of me with a proto to fly just in case the lines didn't work out. Everything worked out great thanks to you, Rob and also Bruce Goldsmith at Airwave, a big thanks!...the FR-4 proto goes! Thanks also goes to Tanner Patty sending me his personal reserve handle from his identical Impress harness in Arizona to cover me "just in case" while Super Fly had Advance Fed-Ex two handles (one replacement and one spare) from Europe. As promised, they arrived at my door, two days before I drove up. Nice work, Chris and Jeff! Thanks!
I went from 11th place on the fist day to 8th, to 6th then to 3rd going into the last task. I knew I needed to get to goal, and it was tempting to do something heroic. I had a poor start on the last task despite being in a great position in the air, and fell behind quite a bit during the race. Brad and I were together at the start and we both had to go back to the start cylinder to get the exit start at 2:15. Dean went on glide to the first turn-point without going back and I wondered why Brad and I had to go back when he didn't. In going back I was super frustrated because it cost me some precious altitude and only Brad got the sweet climb to cross to Rabies and chase Deano, leaving me looking for a good climb for nearly 10 minutes. I was already frustrated and the race had only just started! Then I thought to myself "just make goal, if you are having a hard time, maybe others will be too." I went accross alone, came back to Burnt and things started looking up when I saw Hayden, also behind but flying very smart (as usual!). I tanked up with him at Burnt, flew back to Woodrat behind him and then left with him from Woodrat to Rabies. Kansas was with us now and we got the Rabies turnpoint but chose to fly into the lee of Rabies spine to finally get out of there. We could have side-hilled on the bare slope, we were so low, and yet we still all got out of there with altitude to spare. Hayden and I went on to Burnt with Kansas still climbing behind us. When we got to Burnt we ended up wasting some time looking for the "big cores" but eventually realized it was ALL light stuff that was getting folks high at this point. Kansas and Hayden were both above me now as I tried shake off the denial I was in as I searched a bit longer to finally convince myself that there really aren't any big cores left, then at last, I started the patient climb. They left ahead of me and I watched their glides towards Cemetary. It looked okay, and thankfully it was not as windy as I feared it might be earlier. But it was a very smoky day from fires to the South of us and I realized that things were shutting down early due to the filtered sunlight, and so I left a little lower and behind them (not ideal but I knew I needed to keep moving with good pilots), and was able to retrace thier path towards Donato and straggle into goal with a few climbs on my own. All the while there were people low and landing on the way, motivating me to hold on to my climbs, keep moving and focus on this last gauntlet before goal. I was the last into goal that day, and I remember coping with the thought that I might not make the podium as I threw my "toy parachute" for Joe to catch while he, Carmen and Andrea watched me come in and land. At least I got to goal, I consoled myself. Carmen was full of excitement when I landed and was so proud that I made goal every day...I had to admit, that was the plan, and she was right. That is something to celebrate!
I later found out that some of the big dogs had dirted, and that made my making goal extremely valuable, even being the last in. The day was de-valued for the reasons listed in the other posts and that gave less strength to those that truly won the day. Dean and I got a nice cool ride back to HQ with my family and we were all very excited and happy about the day. Dean assured me that I would likely be 3rd or possibly 2nd, and I hoped that it might be true. As it turned out, Dean had the wrong start time entered into his GPS, (2pm instead of 2:15) so he had no idea until just moments before the awards ceremony when Babush and I were double checking Dean's and my track logs, since both our tracks didn't load correctly the first time when we checked in. As it was, I was destined to be second if Dean had won, but his mistake put me in the gold and Bad Brad took the Silver with Babush in Bronze. A bittersweet win for me and my hat goes off to Dean, who stuck around and took photos of everyone at the awards ceremony and partied with us till the very end that night. Good on ya, Deano. Let's go get 'em at Chelan...