2017 Red Bull X-Alps: A Race of Extremes

2017Xalps- A race of Extremes from Offshore Odysseys on Vimeo.

The 2017 Red Bull X-Alps was the hardest yet- a very difficult course and extremely poor flying weather. 5 athletes were eliminated and 7 withdrew due to exhaustion or injury and only two made it to Monaco. The race ended after 11 days and 23 hours. Here are some clips from Day 8, 9, and 10 that highlight how amazing the journey can be, and some of the crazy situations you find yourself dealing with (like landing in a tree!). On Day 8 I launched early near Merano heading towards the Brenta Dolomites and Turnpoint 5 at Lake Garda. A lot of low cloud and high cirrus made for tricky flying but I pieced together 5 or 6 short flights, top landing repeatedly to wait for more sun, finishing the day with a long climb up to Madonna Campiglio, waiting out a strong storm and then gliding down to Pinzolo. Day 9 began with a 1700 meter, 17 km climb to launch above Tione Di Trento, then a short and very technical flight to a slope land above Malcesine near Garda lake. Then a 1300 meter climb to the turnpoint on Mount Baldo, then a glide across the lake in strong wind, landing in the trees; then a 20 km walk and further 1600 meter (nearly 17,000 feet of climbing this day!) climb to a final launch and glide. Day 10 was the 2nd day of the race that had good flying conditions and I tried to make the most of it by flying from a lake below Adamello peak across to Bellinzona, Switzerland in three magnificent flights (130 km), ending just in front of Rick Brezina (Team Canada 1) to secure 14th place, but only after running 3.5 hours that night, and a full marathon the next day to stay in front! While we didn’t finish as well as we’d hoped, it was an incredible journey filled with laughter and smiles and an experience to be relished. If I decide to do it again, please someone put me in touch with a psychotherapist!

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