Red Bull X-Alps 2015
Time flies- especially if you do something as complex and crazy as Red Bull X-Alps.
It feels like only moments ago when I was finishing the race in 2013 and started to make plans on how I could improve and get ready for another try...
The adriatic circle was born, more time was spent on flying XC, I started working on a better mindset and built up a new team around me.
And then suddenly, the moment of truth came- the start of the Red Bull X-Alps was here and there was nothing left to do, than flying and running. Sounds like heaven and yes, it is, if you prepared well and know you can trust the people you hand over all the other duties to!
Good preparation can give you a lot of self confidence and freedom. Can something be wrong when you always give your personal best?
From the first day on I was flying for myself, in my own pace and I loved it. And my new glider gave me that little extra feeling on top- I knew that if others climb, I climb as well and if it’s about gliding, I can take it easy, as for sure I will arrive as high at least…
And then something really cool happened, that just 2 years before, would have brought me out of my concept quite a bit I guess…I was taking off with Chrigel from the same mountain at the same time.
Maybe this is the right point to say, that Chrigel Maurer always was and still is, my hero concerning the way of flying a paraglider across the Alps. In 2013 I thought I had to be as good as him, just because of the fact that I was kind of hyped by the public almost the same way as he was, but deep in my mind I knew that this wasn’t true and of course it wasn’t in reality either…
But things have changed. Flying good during the X-Alps is a combination of skills, experience and freedom. I still miss quite some experience and skills compared to him (which also for mathematical reasons will always remain the case) but I could keep up with the freedom!
So we flew together and sometimes I was even leading.
I felt that Chrigel started pushing as much as he could and if he starts doing that, it’s almost impossible to follow. It’s not only him who is working perfectly; it’s also his team, which is by now, almost perfect, I would say.
Running and flying is what a Red Bull X-Alps athlete has to do and the better a Team works, the less energy and time has to be used for other things.
Somehow until Annecy, the very last Turnpoint before finally heading down to the sea, I could keep up and then it was time for a move. Flying along the ridge towards south I knew that decision time was coming closer and closer- should I follow Chrigel into the mountains or should I stay on another line more to the west?
It looked great where I was and my speed was good, so why change?
In the end the decision was mostly made of feelings than of facts. Honestly I was even missing most of the facts.
The next day, things turned from second place is more probable than third, to third place is still possible… But I was used to maximum pace by now and it still felt like the best thing ever for me to do is to run up a mountain in the morning as fast as possible and then fly as far as possible. And that’s what I did once again, just for me and in freedom…- third place was possible!
If you want to hear and see more about the story of this incredible race, I would love to come by your local flying club, company or whatever meeting you plan and give a speech- just get in touch!
It’s all about sharing;)