Episode 140- Michael Witschi and Experiencing the Amazing through Competition

Michael (SUI 3), Gavin (USA 2) and Gaspard (FRA 4) discuss options at the Aschau turnpoint, day 2 of the 2015 Red Bull X-Alps

Legendary Swiss pilot Michael Witschi has an extremely impressive flying resumé. He has over 20 years of World Cup and Swiss League experience, was 4th in the Europeans, has several  world cup task wins, competed in the 2015 Red Bull X-Alps; is a current coach of the X-Alps Academy; and is the mastermind, founder and organizer of the incredible EigerTour, a 4-day hike and fly race in the Bernese Oberalps. Michael is the father of two adorable children and is a very successful businessman and eloquently shares his vast competition experience with us in this engaging, very fun talk.

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Show Notes: 

  • Michael discusses his 2015 Red Bull X-Alps campaign and his reserve landing in a lake during the race
  • The catalyst for the Eigertour and all about the hike and fly race
  • The model for the race and the Eigertour academy
  • Thoughts for setting up a hike and fly race and the future of live tracking
  • Michael discusses his long history of world cup racing
  • The downwind, uphill landing
  • What does the X-Alps Academy teach?
  • Creating guidelines for managing risk
  • Engineering in flight
  • Paragliding isn’t dangerous if…
  • Groundhandling again!

Mentioned in the Show:

Paul Guschlbauer, Aaron Durogati, Chrigel Maurer, Yael Margolich, Toma Coconea, Tom De Dorlodot, Ștefan Gruber, Tarquin Cooper, Thomas Theirillat, Honza Rejmanek, VercoFly


Michael Witschi (SUI3) lands on the Float in Monaco during the Red Bull X-Alps, Monaco on July 17th 2015

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Speaker 0 (0s):

Speaker 1 (21s): Everybody welcome to another episode of the Cloudbase Mayhem. And this is your host. Gavin, McClurg got a great show today for you with Michael Witschi, who I met walking down off, well, actually a train with them before the 2015 X Alps, but who was in the 2015 race. And he and I had a really cool talk on the way down from Ashaw day two and the rainstorm with Aaron and Hur Gotti and a few others. And I've always really appreciated that talk. And one of the reach back out to him because he's been awfully active lately.

He's one of the coaches for the X Alps Academy and he has, he was the brain child and the event organizer and operates the EigerTour, which has been a very successful four day race across the Bernie's over land in the Interlochen zone and EigerTour zone. Then the last few years, it's been a really awesome race, which we hope to get over into this year after the X Alps. And he's a dad, he's one of the most task winning pilots in the world.

Cup and history might even be, you might've won more than anybody else that you don't have that data to back it up. And it searched for it, but fascinating individual, very successful businessmen and engineer and incredible pilot. And it was fun to share some time with them and the 2015 race. And it was really fun to reach back out and talk to him about all things flying in this show and think you're really going to enjoy it. We cover a lot of ground, including the X Alps and what's going on with the X Alps Academy and what he's teaching and learning there.

Today's top of the show tip. I'm going to make a shot at answering this one, although I'm certainly no expert in this, but it actually comes from Nick Hawks. He sent me a text couple of weeks ago that said, when, if ever, would you use a single skin wing? Do you think of them as a viable option for anything beyond getting a workout in a quick flight? So certainly I do use them a lot for workouts and quick flights, but definitely I would use them for Alpine stuff as a descent tool.

I know I've heard stories at least, ah, and Fabian Blanca goes into single service. Wing's a lot more on his show and want to hear more about the single surface wings, but they have come a long way. They are great little tools. I have not. I, I said I've, I've heard of people doing it in the Alps and flying a proper XC, but I can't really imagine doing that them. I don't, I just don't feel very secure.

And you know, they don't have a ton of bar performance. They don't have great glides. They are insanely easy to launch. And once you get used to them land, they don't have the kind of the same break authority, obviously that a typical wing does just because they don't have the energy, but once he kind of get that smooth, then they weren't great for that. But I they're just so light and so fun, but I never feel that secure on them when it's really thermic and a little bit wild.

That always makes me really nervous. So that may just be a lack of experience on them. So I'm definitely no expert on this, but personally, I don't like using them for any kind of real flying. I like to use them as a descent tool and as a fun play thing, you know, they're great to use the ground handling cause they're just there there's nothing to them. So you can really use them in a ton of wind. So that's how I approach it. One thing I think that maybe a lot of people are doing that they should change is make sure you fly them with a reserve.

You know, typically we're flying these things with bikini harnesses and we don't have any real padding and safety, so you certainly don't want to crash them. And that's why I don't really like using them in any kind of a real conditions because I just feel pretty naked up there. But definitely, you know, there are a wing, you definitely don't treat them so much like a Speedway when you're, you know, right on the certain wire on the ground, you need to have a reserve. So I've, I fly with my Livia Roma to harness, which is a nice airbag.

So it's got some pretty nice passive safety and then a, a reserve. And I think that's probably a good idea to add some very little weight and that is another kilos. So that's my thoughts. Let me single surface enjoy the show with my .

Speaker 2 (5m 8s): Yeah, it's good to see your face, but you have an age today. The last time I saw you, we were hiking down off. It was day two of the 2015 X Alps. And we were hiking down off the camp and bond in a horrible storm and a, and I never saw you again. So it's a good to see you here I go. And I'm very happy to see you as well. And I've of course I followed you all of those years, you know, on, on, on social media. And I'm very proud of your, that I met you there and you're the only American that in this race.

Yeah, yeah. At that, that day two, you got out ahead of me and I have a man, I had a bad day. It is nothing, nothing lined up for me that day. And it took me quite a few days to catch up with you. I think I finally caught you on day eight going in to the matter horn. And, and then, you know, we got down to Monaco and Bruce didn't like Monaco so much that we had to leave immediately go to the party. Oh man, he hated it. And, and my, my feet were just, Oh man, I was destroyed.

It was a combo of Bruce, really wanting to get out of Monaco. And then the van rental we had, I had screwed up and we had to get it back to a, we had to get it back to Germany, back to Munich, like the day of the party. I mean, literally. So we had that night in Monaco when I got in, whenever that was day two, day 10, and then the next morning drove all day and all night to get the van back to Munich and crashed it on the way back. So yeah, it, it kept being a veteran after the race.

Speaker 0 (6m 44s): So if you missed, you missed a drunk people sneaking into my van and sleeping next to me that night I had to kick out. I think there were some check pilots through my bus.

Speaker 2 (6m 59s): I was in so much pain that first night. I mean, literally I couldn't walk the next morning, Bruce had to carry me to the bathroom and it looked like somebody beating on my feet with hammers. And so that, that first night that we were sitting around, I think Paul was there and Aaron and a few others in the Kriegel it like gone home dude and then was going to come back to the party or so he wasn't around. But you know, he had finished a couple days in the more, yeah. Yeah. But so we started drinking and my feet hurt so much and Bruce, and it was an anesthesiologist. So he had a bunch of oxycodone on.

So I took like three oxycodone and had about six beverages and Whoa, I was a happy man that night just bouncing up the proverbial walls. But Hey, you know, what I thought would be really fun to start is, you know, cause otherwise we're going to be talking about the X apps and nobody listening is going to know what we're talking about, but you through your reserve, I don't, I can't remember. It was like day five or day six in the race coming in to Switzerland. Right. And you know, that was, I think the same day that they kind of covered this up and it's in a cell.

I don't know if they covered it up, but Toma, I didn't realize that Toma crashed so badly. I mean, it sounded like he really should have died. You kinda had his face torn off. And you know, we were, we were battling a lot of when in that pretty much the entire race except day one, we were, we were just battling the winds. Tell me about your reserve. I, I thought it was just, you just landed in the Lake was no big deal, but we just, before we started there, you said it was actually pretty, pretty dramatic. Your, you had a wife at home who was pregnant and, and yeah.

It sounded scary.

Speaker 0 (8m 38s): Yeah. So it was a bit scared. You know, of one of my problems in the race was that I couldn't really sleep because I hate sleeping with a high temperatures. And normally I went to hotels. I was one of the few pilots who went to the hotels. I sleep in my band if ever possible. And even those hotels in Italy and in Germany, they wouldn't have air-con, you know, and it was so I was actually very tired, but with open eyes all night.

So I think that cumulated and that last day I told my guys this night, I want to paint Swiss Franks. Again, I don't like euros. I want to be back in Switzerland. So we started the last flight. It was a fun group and me and we flew into Switzerland. And at some point we noticed we were very high of 3000 something meters. And some point we started to feel the fun. You know, that's the effect that, I don't know if you have this in the States, we have it from North to South.

You know,

Speaker 2 (9m 45s): We, we do in a sense, but we don't, we don't, no one ever talks about it. I think we get it more than we, and we don't even really know what it is. But if you don't, it's not dramatic. You don't get the real Ferny dumping effect like you do in Europe, you know, where you have these massive pressure gradients. We just deal with a lot of wind.

Speaker 0 (10m 2s): So yeah, this is maybe it's one of the dangerous things can happen. But in the X Alps, it's clear that we'll fly. You know, its clear and it's also, the Fern has this property that is the lower, the stronger. So if you're a high, you start to feel a little bit, you know, face window. And then we start to accelerate. And suddenly we were standing in, in this whole Schiavo, it's called this village and we were, you know, full accelerated and not advancing anymore.

And then I, I got this collapse, which normally I think I would have opened, this was an easy glider, actually GTO to the one that I had, but I was just too tired and I waited maybe three seconds to look up. And then I was already big down. And I thought, now it's time to throw the reserve. You know, I was tired. I was not so high through it. And then of course with this swing 40 to 50 kilometers an hour, it blew me.

And I was first, I was scared to, you know, face a building, you know, hit the building. But then I, I realized I was going to land in the water. How high are chances to land on the rescue in a, in a cold mountain Lake. And I'm very, very, fortunately I have trained this before. I don't know why I trained him. You know, I, through, I, I went over Lake Breanna. I through my reserve, I came down.

I, I, you know, I started to avoid that handle a situation where you have the parachute outside in the garage door and the other side of it, you know, bringing in the normal glider. And then I also, since my harness had no buckles, you know, I knew how to get out of five meters above the water and I can get out of my shoulder straps and stuff. And then I dive in and I get out immediately come out of my harness.

So because I had a trained, luckily I was smart. So I didn't tangle up with the lines, which is normally the most dangerous thing in those lakes when you land there. But also then I don't know, my brain was made a malfunctioning. I start to first, I try to say my stuff, you know, my cell phone in the air. And suddenly I realized, this is, you know, now, now these things are lost. I have to look after my life. So I let go everything and start to swim with, with all my clothes on, which now I discuss the last day.

You know, if you land in cold water, should you be naked or not in our underwear? However, and I think it's, I don't know. I think it's worth to keep the clothes on, but you know, we had a, we had a Swiss pilots dying in a, in the Atlantic ocean in Spain last year and the guy who was with him until the very last moment, he told me that he, he, he was not sure if it was a good idea, but anyway, so I was swimming with a full everything on and against the wind.

I dunno why, because I was in the middle of this Lake and I measured. It is it's maybe it's half a kilometer. It's not that far. And I swam and suddenly, you know, I start to feel my, my energy going down. And then that's where my daughter comes into into the story because my wife was six months pregnant. And I thought, no, you don't have to swim. It can't be that your daughter doesn't get to know you. And this gave me the energy to swim to the shore.

And once a ride there, there was a, a, an ambulance that was the police. They gave me some Bull blankets and I was shaking for an hour from the cold. And then shortly after a, there was talking Cooper calling me the only moment that I was interesting to the,

Speaker 2 (14m 18s): Yeah, those of us who aren't Kriegel don't get a whole lot of attention.

Speaker 0 (14m 23s): Do you have to be in the front there in the very back, you know, that's right in the middle. And if you are like the second Swiss or the third Swiss, then you're not a big, yeah.

Speaker 2 (14m 33s): Oh, you're an afternoon, man. You are an afterthought.

Speaker 0 (14m 36s): Anyway. So the one thing that just, you know, pops out of my mouth is what doesn't kill. You, makes you stronger. Nice, easy said, but then I tell you the next, from the next, until that day, I was always a, the five first pilots, I think. And from the very next day on, I started to do one mistake after the other. And some were also because of fear, you know, like flying over this banana glacier.

And I already saw myself, you know, hanging in one of those crevasses with my parachute. Then I flew shit from that moment. So suddenly my strength would have been defined because I was not, you know, a physical athlete. I've been always a, a competent how you say it is a word called world cup, pilot compound. My, my strength was gone and, and walking became a new strength. And, you know, I, I think I walked like a 150 kilometers more than to get to one of the year, but it was really because I did many mistakes after that.

Speaker 2 (15m 45s): Oh man, you did it. I mean, I think that, you know, I've thought about this a lot since that, that race. And when you, when you went in a, you know, Toma had to retire, obviously, because he was so mangled and you know, Tom door of the DOE had to get helicoptered out of Michael Gebhardt that same day. I think that you threw your reserved just said, enough's enough. You know? I mean, we were dealing with a lot of wind, which I think, you know, we haven't really experienced in the last couple. And you know, I just wonder if I can even do that now, you know, and I've thought about you a lot because you get in this head space where people are always asking, you know, how do you deal with the intensity of the conditions?

Because they can often be pretty rotten in wouldn't you say? I mean, everybody I've talked to the day that competes in the race we get in this head space and almost like day one that you've just got it. You're confident. It doesn't matter what the weather throws at. You, you can deal with it. You're, you're, you're optimistic and confident. It's that combination, maybe you're in flow and that, you know, that Thomas they're a little talks about it a lot. And, but when you have something like what you have through your obviously thrown, weigh out of that and your gears torched, your, all your instruments are shot.

You're you've had this kind of near death experience. I met man. It was, it must've been hard to have kept going.

Speaker 0 (17m 9s): Actually for me, it was very clear that I would go on. Hmm. You know, I never, I never, even though my family, you know, they said, who are you sure you want to go on? Maybe this is a sign and that, and I'm very stubborn as a, no, this is not an assignment I'm going on and I don't regret it. And it was never in question, but yes, as I told you before, from that moment on, I was a little bit scared in a year.

Speaker 2 (17m 37s): Did that, how long did that take to resolve? Was it, was it run by the way

Speaker 0 (17m 44s): You half a year, I was back back in the game. You know, I also, I was very conscious conscience that it was a very, it was a mixture between my being, being very tired in a normal, a normal day. I would not have thrown the reserve. I would just have kept my bedroom. So I knew it was a very special situation. And it was the only reserve in 22 years until now that I had to throw.

And I hope it will stay the only one. So I know this in my head, this was clear in all. It was not a normal situation. That's why afterwards, when flying, I was not really scared that much

Speaker 3 (18m 27s): Was the X Alps, your first hike and fly comp.

Speaker 0 (18m 30s): No, no, no. I did. I did to a comms before, because before that I have no idea. I just, you know, Craig and me, we were at the Swiss championships from normal Competition. And I, I just had lost like 16 kilos because I was, I was a heavy guy and even critical was a heavy guy before, because you wanted to have the big riders, you know, I was 97 kilos and he was 92 in one day. So then I, I lost the weight.

He had already lost the weight before, because he was doing this and this is a Creek. And what do you think? I would like the idea of this race going always forward, you know, not triangles and forth. And back we call it the Makey miles in a non Mickey mouse game. You just go, and then you said, yeah, if you really want it, you can do that. And then I started to train and then he told me to do some, some a preliminary the competitions. And it was a very useful to me because, you know, I was always taking off on very nice green grassy Hills and everything was nice.

And suddenly I had to take off and Rocky feels on snow. So I have those two years to get a little bit more prepared with, with high conflict.

Speaker 3 (19m 52s): Yeah. You and I had, we spent a little bit of time in Vermont before the race. That's where we met. And we had a little bit of training together. I mean, you're being a little humble. You're saying, you know, you, that your strength really wasn't on the ground, but you were a fit. I mean, you, you, you looked fit certainly, and you certainly could move on the ground. Did you, what did your compare compare your training to the 2015 race to what you're teaching now in the X Alps Academy Academy? How does it, how does it look different if at all?

Speaker 0 (20m 25s): So what, what, what we teach is basically, especially if we think about X Alps, because we have a lot of also very fast races in Switzerland, but let's stick to the X Alps, which is a long race. So we say you don't have to be fit. You have to be a solid, solid, which means, you know, it doesn't matter if you, if you get 10 minutes later on the takeoff, but you have to resist 10 days of walking and hiking up and, you know, and that's yeah, durable.

That's a right, the right word. So that's what we, what we teach our guys. And of course, then we train also them to be very fast. So we do in inter interval trainings. I always train my most mussels, you know, like Jim, but a lot of, a lot of outdoor people, they would, you know, they would say Jim is stupid and I don't go to the gym. And I think that that conscious has, has grown. And also the outdoor people know that if they want to get better, they have to go twice or once a week, at least to train their muscles to strengthen not only to endurance, just to be, to be solid, but I always, I always had done this.

So that was one, one thing that maybe they didn't do it at the time. And I'm, I'm pretty heavy. So I was not the guy to do a a hundred meter record, but on the other hand, I trained walking 12 hours without really stopping. And that helped me the very last night that I knew that I had to walk 85 kilometers in a row without, you know, without stopping. So that was, and then as an entrepreneur, I had little time to actually train, you know, much less than other people.

So I had a one day per week and I have the weekend and in the evenings I was running. But that, that was about it.

Speaker 2 (22m 33s): What was your confidence level going into it? Cause I, you know, we were both rookies in 2015 and I, I literally just had no idea if I could, if I even belonged there, I felt, you know, when I saw everybody in the, in the infomercial that first week, I thought, okay, well at least physically I've prepared. It, it just seemed like, okay, well I think physically I'm going to be okay. But I just, I don't know. I w I w I had a lot of anxiety going into the, the race, the prologue really helped, you know, even though I don't think anybody took that very seriously, you know, doing well in the prologue kind of was like, Oh, maybe I can do this, but man, I just didn't know.

Did you, were you confident going in because of their time with Kriegel or your comp background? Or what, what, what was that like for you?

Speaker 0 (23m 20s): Yeah, maybe five wise. That was, I was confident, you know, I, I knew that I was, I could keep up. I mean, I saw Kriegel, I, we fly a lot together, so I know he is better and how much he is better. So I knew exactly where I was flying, but of course the physical thing was completely new. And then the long, you know, sleeping in, in, in hotels and in, in van and all that stuff, that was completely new. So I had no idea how I would perform in that way.

And there was one thing also that I was confident is that a I can let go to the others, you know, and they, you know, some people that are pretty trained and fit, but then they go too fast. And then the third day they're they're dead.

Speaker 2 (24m 9s): Ah, yeah,

Speaker 0 (24m 12s): Exactly. So if they're, if they were mentally stronger, they could have beaten me twice, you know, but, but since they, you know, they pulled tonight, past, they did this and that, and they got so stressed in one day. They were not amongst first 10 or I dunno, but the race was so long, you know, and that's something that I've learned, you know, take it easy, resist 10 days, everything that I did have to be able to be doing, you know, in 10 days.

And that was a certain confidence, I think, you know?

Speaker 2 (24m 47s): Yeah. And in the, in the sleep thing, I, I, I, I sympathize with you with that one in this, in this last race in 2019, it was really, you know, in 2018 went well because we had the one really good day and that, you know, that kind of pole vaulted me into a position that I could get to Monaco because it was certainly not looking like it was going to happen before that day. But 2019 was really, I felt like when our team really hit its stride and things were going well, and I was flying better than I ever had. And, and, and then I had one night getting the Titlist actually is a night to Titlist.

So it was a huge vertical day, the day before, and then a monster day on Titlist like everybody had, other than Kriegel at the top, landed up there, but, you know, physically, I don't feel pretty good. I mean, I was pretty wiped out, but I still felt pretty good, but that night I couldn't sleep just laid there all night. And, and then the next day, I, again, I felt physically pretty well, but I couldn't put a sentence together. You know, my team could tell like, geez, he's not really there. And I just fell apart.

Just totally fell apart. I couldn't, I couldn't fly and nothing made sense. And I was forgetful and boy, it just really takes, so you, like you say, you, you gotta be able to keep that going for 12 days.

Speaker 0 (26m 8s): Yeah. I think the way that the lack of sleep is for me, it was like the worst thing. And I, you know, there were three reasons that I wanted to go again to the X Alps and one was, I have to learn how to sleep. Well, the second one was our communication. I wanted to, if I went to the second time, I wanted to bring the radio because the cellphones, they don't work sometimes. Hm. And the third one was, you know, having a, a better leader, one that they can really cause my one was all good.

And unless I really accelerated and then, you know, it's stable. So I wanted to have a guy there where I can blindly trust even full speed.

Speaker 2 (26m 54s): That was actually my next question. Why haven't you done it again? Because I mean, I'm older, new from the age.

Speaker 0 (27m 3s): I think at that time, you know, I, when I survived, I had three close shaves in my, in a, in my X Alps, the one was in labor. Most, there was already sued from the phone coming from the South and, and you only hit a roof, but then it went all well and nothing, but it was closed in a big collapse. The social is coming. Yeah, exactly. You to sign the board. And then after, when we cross to the two, this is the shit that was so strong conditions.

You know, I thought my glider was torn apart and then there was the Lake. And then the third one, I remember a video was in Southern France. And you flew through it. I saw you on the video with tears below your, your glasses. And they're in the exact place, the same place I thought it's over. You know? And so I was pulled to all the directions with, I dunno, which speed down and up and tell him, you should know this, this is it.

Speaker 2 (28m 15s): I really thought I was dead there. I just, I, I, I hadn't given up, but I was like, there's no fucking way I'm going to get out of this. I'm dead. I'm dead. I was, that was really a kind of a time to embrace. Right. This is too much, what am I doing?

Speaker 0 (28m 32s): Yeah. So, you know, these three close shapes, then I said, and now you have two kids and it's, it's not, it's not good to go again. So this was one reason that the second of course was my company because, you know, I knew if I was going again, I would have to train more, but I don't want to sell my company just to go to an ex Alps. So that's why you haven't done it, you know, and feel sometimes a few.

Why not? But yeah, I would have to give away the company probably to be really prepared.

Speaker 2 (29m 11s): You're supporting Yale and this one, correct. The name right. Is that, you know, so, I mean, that's kind of the same thing. I mean, that's a big commitment.

Speaker 0 (29m 24s): Yeah. But it is not the same, you know? I mean, first of all, you know, I can, I can not fly if I feel it's too dangerous. Sure. I can, I can go and land and she, she can, but she shouldn't probably, sometimes he showed that normally she should fly through. So that's already a big difference and its not the same, you know? And then we're we're we should be able to sleep better.

We will see if that works. You know, we have a camping car with a big AC, said, that's my condition. Come with you, a camping car with a C. And, and then if it's a promise I gave her, you know, and that was in 2013 when we first 14, when we first started to think about this ID and then I told her, if you help me, I will have you one day. So now the last two times she wanted to go, but she had some physical problems.

Yep. And now she's ready. And I sit here and I keep my word.

Speaker 2 (30m 33s): Yeah. She, I had her on the podcast a while back that a landing on a moving car sounded pretty adventurous. You know, she was doing some acro and in Berkeley I think. And yeah, so, well I'm glad she's healthy and wow. You know, this is exciting. I think Laurie and Yale and they're going to put up a good fight there. You know, I think they're, they're both really strong pilots and clearly training hard and this is going to be awesome to watch, you know, that was, that could be one. I mean, you know this obviously, but the, the big thing that has changed since, since our time in, in 2015, I remember at one point in the race, a Honda and I launched together and that was hands is fifth in his last.

So he had done it since 2007 and he made a comment. He said, Gavin, I'm going, everything's going right in this race. I'm going as fast as I've ever gone. And I'm in whatever we were in at this point 16th or 15th or something. And he said, I just can't believe how fast this race is getting. And since 2015, it's almost like it's another 20% or something. It's crazy how fast it's gone. It's just a, yeah. It's, it's, it is really remarkable. I mean, I felt like in 2015 you could make big mistakes and, and still be in it.

And I mean, I certainly made a ton in that race and you could kind of, you can, you can crawl back. And I feel like now it's, and you know, in 2017 I made a mistake early and that was kinda it. And I just, it just, it just, everybody's moving so much

Speaker 0 (32m 7s): Faster. Yeah. That's also what, what my, my friends telling me, you know, the level is constantly rising. Yeah. And I think that that's could be a problem for, for some countries because I know that Red Bull, they want of course, as many countries as possible, but yeah, it will be more and more difficult in order to, you know, those let's call them the adventures. They have no chance, the adventures, no chance in that race anymore.

They have before. Yeah. I know. And the old guys, they taught me that the one that won the first one and, and then Alex hope is that one, the second in the third, you know, they, they have a very huge equipment, 20 Q very improvised at different times.

Speaker 2 (33m 1s): Yeah. Very different times. The, the course itself has really changed things as well. You know, the, in this last race with, you know, they, they almost doubled the, not a term points. And that I think for the athletes really removes a lot of the excitement because you can't make big moves. I mean, when you look at the replays and the track logs, everybody's playing follow the leader, you know, you just can't really, you know, back in our day when we had the turn point in Belen zona, and then to the mater horn, there's a lot of different ways you can fly that.

And it's 200 K you know, you can take South middle North, and now there's, you, you wouldn't, you can't go that far off course line, you know, the, the, the distances between turn points are really sh

Speaker 0 (33m 46s): It makes it less, less interesting in a, in a certain way. Right?

Speaker 2 (33m 50s): Yeah. It certainly does. Yeah. Well, so then let's, let's switch to the EigerTour because is that, is that something that kinda sounds like almost filled the gap for you? Cause you know, that's, that's a massive undertaking as well. I think this will be, well, this be the fourth, the fourth edition and such an awesome race. It's it just looks so cool. So for those who aren't familiar and just explain briefly what it is and what was kind of the catalyst to get that going.

Speaker 0 (34m 20s): So actually the idea of the roles that we had a race in Switzerland, it's called Virchow fly in Switzerland. We have 120 mountain huts that belong to our Alpine club. Bear up behind the mountain. Sunday, you have everything, shelter, food, water, beds, whatever you need. So I was at this race in Switzerland, in Southern Switzerland. It was a very nice, but I felt, you know, a very complicated rules. And then I was at the X Alps and then I thought, okay, let's synthesize those two races, which is the vertical fly in the X Alps.

And then I, I kind of created the EigerTour. I just thought that will be the race I would like to do, but of course I cannot, as an organizer I can participate in. I know it is a very demanding and a, I don't know if you heard, Kriegel saying it's harder than the X Alps. Well, that's what he's stated in Swiss newspaper.

Speaker 2 (35m 24s): Wow. Is that, is that because its, you don't have a supporter and this is just a lot of the vertical cause I mean I know you, you cover some pretty amazing countries.

Speaker 0 (35m 32s): Yeah. Some, some people have done 5,700 meters a day vertical and then you have the, the top landing. And then we are in the most Thermo active month in a year, you know, in top landing and it's very demanding. Sometimes that's also why, why I split and you know, for the pros, I give them a medium to difficult tasks. And for the challenge race, I give them what I think, easy hearts.

But this year I have to take out some more because we always had some accidents, one of the top landing. So, you know, the idea is exactly that you don't need to have this, a logistics that you need in, in, in the X Alps. So you can come along alone, right? You take your plane, put, pack your stuff. You don't need to rent a car and come up with a two or three guys to Switzerland. So you don't need the big budget. And then you don't need to think a lot.

And I also want to make sure that athletes, they eat a sufficiently and there lets say more or less safe because everywhere where they have two lab therapy, there's a hot day. And you know, if you are hungry and you're in the middle of the Prairie, then you probably go on hungry because you say, I can make a big detour to the next big a McDonald's. But if you land at the heart and you're hungry, you lose three minutes and you buy some stuff and eat and go on. So

Speaker 2 (37m 3s): Yeah, I was going to say, so you're not, you're not, you don't have, you don't have to carry much water and food because you're, you're, you're having breakfast and dinner every day at a time.

Speaker 0 (37m 12s): If you want, of course, this was very competitive people. Sometimes they, they don't even want to spend the three minutes to eat the cake, but, and then the hearts, they are very enthusiastic. You know, they like us to pass by and they pay, bring you food and drinks and they, you know, they follow online the race. So that was actually my idea to make it simple and only four days. And there is also a critical, he agrees that four days, he says, it's the perfect length of a race.

He thinks this is three nights. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (37m 47s): And, and don't you don't you. And tell me if I've got this wrong, but I've watched all the videos and stuff, but it's the, you announced the coarse the morning of right. You have that. You have, you have a meeting everybody's already got, what, what would, what would be the prep? What do people say? If you're coming from the States and you want to come do the EigerTour and you're real limited on time, what do you need to do in advance?

Speaker 0 (38m 10s): Okay. So many hats that I can tell you to visit all the hats, because it's like 50 hearts. If you have time, but you can cover five or six in a day, then you can do all the huts. Of course. And that,

Speaker 2 (38m 23s): Can you, can you just show up, like, could you just show up the day before the race starts and download the maps and or is that not enough preparation?

Speaker 0 (38m 32s): I can do that. It's not a problem. Okay. Well of course it is. It can, it can be an advantage to know it, but last year Kriegel and paddle Ancef for, for knowing it, they, they lost like two hours because they thought like that there is a big mountain range and they thought that the West side never works. Crinkle, says it never works. And he lives there. So he made a deep tour and then all the guys in the back, the pack, you know, they, they were like three hours behind the scene in the evening.

Everybody was to get together again. Well, that was the proof that sometimes knowing it, it's not always an advantage.

Speaker 2 (39m 15s): Yeah. And I mean, we see that in world cups all the time, isn't it, it's very rarely the local hero that wins the comp. Cause you know, you get kind of set in your ways. Don't yeah, that's great. Cool.

Speaker 0 (39m 26s): Would I like if you know the area, then you can basically, you can fly without the GPS, you know? And that's also something I just, for me, because I hate instruments, I love Free flight, Free flight is going. And I thought, okay, if somebody really hates instruments and he knows the hot seat can do it without it just needs a cell phone.

Speaker 2 (39m 50s): So you have the two categories, the, the, the lower category. What would you, what would you recommend? What, how many, who does that suit, you know, and how much experience does it suit somebody who's never done a hike and fly race or is that a little too aggressive?

Speaker 0 (40m 6s): So now I, you know, I've learned with a, with the three additions now in, in 2021, I will have four categories. For which of them. I have two that are actually a race with, which is for the professionals, but you have to have done the X Alps. You have to be a mountain guide or paragliding teacher. That's what the process. And then I have the challenge, which also requires a lot of experience. High can fly race experience.

And this year I will, I will ask the guys to show me a video, have a very difficult learning, you know? And I also, some people I don't accept. So you have to be selected by me.

Speaker 2 (40m 50s): So that's still very high caliber. The challenge rate is high.

Speaker 0 (40m 54s): Then I said, okay, I felt the interest of people like I've never done a race. Then I made the Academy. I get to the Academy. So last year was the first time we did it. We had 10 participants and we saw that the field was still too wide, you know, because some, they already pushed and some, they could hardly take off in a, in a snow field. So now this year we, we split the categories, two, two different categories still.

So we have one for somebody who has no idea. And then I have the one that somebody that wants to be a challenge, a pilot

Speaker 2 (41m 36s): To the two lowest categories are, they're not a racist,

Speaker 0 (41m 40s): It's not a tourist experience.

Speaker 2 (41m 44s): So you don't have the pressure of trying to get anywhere. Just go exam, pace, learn. Oh, fantastic.

Speaker 0 (41m 50s): Everybody sleeps in the same heart. Then you have a professional teachers, you have a briefing, you have a debriefing in the evening. So it's really, it's a learning experience.

Speaker 2 (42m 1s): Fantastic. That sounds so great. So I'm going to ask you to imagine something that's very hard for a Swiss to imagine, but we've been trying to get something like you're doing off the ground here in the States. The problem is, is with the exception of Colorado, we don't have a hut system anywhere that, that doesn't exist Colorado a little bit, but then, you know, the Colorado has, there's such high mountains and there's so much wind. It's just, there's no way to pick a time of the year that that would actually go.

So we're trying to figure out how to do something kind of similar, but without huts, what would be your suggestion? Could you, could you just have, you know, tent set up at the top of the mountain where you have, you know, some food and stuff, or how would you approach something like that?

Speaker 0 (42m 48s): I would probably look for four lower, lower places. I mean, I'm sure you guys have some cabins and some, some larges and nothing.

Speaker 2 (43m 1s): I mean, you know, cabins, there's forest service cabins, and that kind of thing that are, but they're so far apart, you know, we don't have any kind of like a network that, you know, where you could stay and a little kind of cereal bowl area, a that, you know, this is kind of protected. Cause the problem we have is of course wind, you know, there's, there's a hard time, you know, like you are, you're pretty much, you're always committed to these dates in July and you know, you're gonna get a couple of date, you know, you you've had bad weather is we always do in the X Alps, but you're going to get a couple of days.

And even in the bad weather, you're gonna be able to fly a lot of time and you just can't fly. So we have to make, I mean, at all, it just is not a day's like that. So we have to make it something that you could do on foot. And yet hopefully you'll get some flying, but we just, it's hard to figure out how to support. Cause we'd really like to do it on supported, you know, it, you can do it with the support team, but then it adds costs and personnel and it's very hard. It makes access for a lot of people, much tougher. The beautiful thing about the Uyghurs you can just show up with your kid and do it.

Speaker 0 (44m 2s): Yeah. You can just pack your glider and some stuff and fly over there and compete. Yeah. You know, that's, that's, it's like a plug and play. Yeah. How, how, how could you do that? Yeah. Maybe with pants.

Speaker 2 (44m 18s): Yeah. Maybe you just have to set up like, almost like an iron man type of thing. You just set up a, you know, refueling zones or something.

Speaker 0 (44m 27s): And then you could also say everybody sleeps up at the certain tent and then you just count at the time to get there. And then people won't stay in the same places you bring them.

Speaker 2 (44m 37s): Do you bring them there and you bring them back to where they, okay. Yeah.

Speaker 0 (44m 42s): Today we're going to have three turn points. And the third one will be our, our sleeping place and the CRICO that arrives at 1:00 PM. And some guys arrive at 8:00 PM, but everybody's there. And the next day you make the next step

Speaker 2 (44m 60s): A mass every day. That'd be kind of neat too, because then everybody's together and having fun. And you're in a salon.

Speaker 0 (45m 5s): We do that. We just created the Swiss championships of hike and fly last year, you know, the day before the year before, and we were doing the same type of thing, you know, we, we do everyday. One thing every, every night, all the pilots are together and at the end of the three days, count the points.

Speaker 2 (45m 27s): Ah, cool. Okay. Yeah. That's just sounds so fun. The let's let's get back to your own kind of a personal journey. And I didn't even know this, but my first world cup, while you were here, you were in sun Valley back in 2012. I know you used to fly a lot of comps. Are you still doing a lot of competing?

Speaker 0 (45m 45s): No, I just, I do Swiss comps because now of course, you know, I have little time and then I have so many how I can fly stuff going on. So I last two years, I just did the Swiss championships for normal comps.

Speaker 2 (46m 2s): And so you are doing the Swiss cup,

Speaker 0 (46m 5s): Please call go too many. You know, I just, I think I went two, two last year and last year. Yeah. Two columns. One was Swiss cup in one with the Swiss championships, which was a five day Competition.

Speaker 2 (46m 22s): Time is the EigerTour takes you to run. What's involved in, in that kind of an effort. Is that like year round or is this something that takes up a ton of your time all year or can you kind of throw it together?

Speaker 0 (46m 35s): Okay. Maybe I dunno. It's it's all year round because right now I'm programming my new web shop and then you have this and that are, we are actually developing a, a high can fly app. So we don't need those fly masters things anymore. Yeah. And do you only have one device in the future? We'll move you through your cell phone, which will also make a tracking and then you just need the cell phone and an external battery. So your question, how much time it takes.

It's very, sometimes it takes nights and nights and nights and sometimes, maybe three weeks. I do not think I can NOV, you know, can happen.

Speaker 2 (47m 16s): And is this just a project and you don't, we don't share anything. You don't want to it, but is this just a project that's really kinda from the heart or is there a financial side of it too that makes it worthwhile or is just because you like it or is that a joke?

Speaker 0 (47m 32s): I am an entrepreneur, Gavin. So it came from the heart and it's been three years now and I I'm still looking how to make it profitable. You know, I don't want to get rich, but at least I want to have my hours paid. And I also want to gather some money because I have some other races in my head that I will do for it. And so I have to be able to develop, ideally I would have like three races a year and I could have a staff that becomes more and more professional and also get probably stronger sponsors because I don't have a lot of sponsors.

I don't invest a lot of time to look for sponsors. So let's say if I don't count my hours, it's been a zero round so far has not paid my hours and it should become probably a little bit more of a better what's the future. I just had some students through a bachelor thesis about making you get to a profitable. And they found that some very interesting things because it can be that I, that I sponsor, you know, I, I sure I want to, yeah.

I want my hours paid ideally, but it's also very nice, you know, as it, as an entrepreneur, I shouldn't do it. And you know why, because of the risk, the risk exists that something bad happens. I know it, people know it that com and I hope it will never be the case, but I have to be conscious that something that can happen, you know,

Speaker 2 (49m 14s): And I mean, it's, it's interesting that even though you say something about that and Switzerland yeah. You know, that's, that's always the huge fear here is we are, you know, we are a very lawsuit, a happy culture near in the States and you can be sued for anything. And it's just, that's always, you know, every year when we go, let's do this or let's have a fly in or let's have a little comp, it's always like, Oh man, you know, you can open yourself up to that kind of a lawsuit. And your you're much more protected as you are from that. But still, I guess it could happen.

Speaker 0 (49m 45s): Well, you have that, you know, the mountain people have that mentality. They say in the mountain, everyone is on his own. Everyone takes his own decisions. Yeah, of course. I checked in with my lawyer and he says, he says, worst case scenario for me would be to be judged. But how would you say like conditionally? Yeah. So I would still live at home and I will have something around by my leg to control where I am.

But, you know, I said, as long as long as I can see my kids, I can live with that, but I can't go to jail. And you know, that would be a no go with it. If it taught me in the worst case, it will in jail. I say, you have to stop it right away.

Speaker 2 (50m 32s): Are you able to navigate that? Yeah. That's, that's always kind of a scary side of what we're doing for sure.

Speaker 0 (50m 39s): And it's, you know, it's, it's funny because yeah, people, they love it. They love the race there. You know, last year I had two, I have to cut because there were too many inscriptions. Yeah. It's, that's also a reason why I do it because I see the happy people.

Speaker 2 (50m 59s): It looks like so much fun though. I mean, the videos for those of you, haven't watched them, you know, get online and just YouTube or go to your, you go to the website and EigerTour rocks. But the, the videos that they're being put up and I mean, that was where I first discovered this whole speed bar uphill, downhill

Speaker 0 (51m 19s): That was invented by clearly because he knew that for us to win that race, it was, is key to be a faster, I mean, that's the next level,

Speaker 2 (51m 30s): Never even thought about that. You know, that's not what you do. You went in and in the wind. And, and I mean, it's, it's an advanced move. It's, it's tough. I've been working on it a lot this year because it's very inspiring watching him, you know, land on waterfalls and stuff, but it's a, yeah. It's well, hats off to you for making that work. It's been fantastic. And I want to, I want to also ask you about, you know, I follow you on Instagram and the X Alps Academy and stuff, and it sounds like, you know, you've taken a real position there.

You obviously do a lot of ski touring and spend a lot of time outdoors, but I've always been so jealous of this, you know, you can go to get prepared for it for a race. I mean, I wish I had somebody like that here where I could go and learn. You talked a little bit, if the top of the show about what that looks like from the physical standpoint, you're trying to make these, these athletes durable and resilient and, you know, get them in to weight training and that kind of thing. But what else are you learning? Is it, is it a lot of process stuff? You know, where are you teaching people?

How to pack their wing? What, what, what, what if I just showed up tomorrow at the X Alps Academy? What am I going to?

Speaker 0 (52m 38s): So first I have to clarify that, you know, I have the coach position with Kriegel at the beginning and I did the beginning of the last year. I handed over to a guy, a bed, but I'm still there. I'm still there, you know, but, but I haven't this position right now. What would you learn? You would learn for example, how to be faster in a, in a ski mountaineering, paragliding race, have you ever done that? Know? So you have the racing skimo skis, you run up, you leave them open.

You don't even take off the first time you fly with them like this down you land, pack your wing. You probably don't even take off your hardest. You run up to the next Hill, you take off again. And do you do with this three times, like this be something that you can learn that you probably never done.

Speaker 2 (53m 30s): I was ripped my skins when I do that, but I love it. And that'll be my next training.

Speaker 0 (53m 35s): Yeah. And then of course, sometimes we do, you know, we just go together on a hike and fly with no specific tasks or, or we go and we make a little tasks with four turn points, and then we have 'em, you know, we have a, how do you call this impulse, the training, you know, running up to the heart, the mouth, which is just next to Interlachen and then, but there's also the mental part.

The, you know, the psycholog that Tomas Steria, you know, in that he was a supportive, he is again. So he helps us as well, you know, to work on the mental part. And then I think a lot, it's just the spirit of all of those people around me, you know? And do you hike up and you talk and you talk about best practice, but this and that. Okay, let's try it. I can show you this and that, you know, a lot of things that are informal, you also learned,

Speaker 2 (54m 40s): If you, what, what's like one thing that you could pull out of everything that you've seen and at the X Alps Academy in the years, since your 2015 race, when you look back, what one thing is like, God, I wish I had known that or had practiced that. And what, what was the what's one thing that would have really made a difference in your own race?

Speaker 0 (55m 3s): To me, actually, nothing, because I was like the, that was the prototype of the X Alps Academy, you know, I asked, can we train together? And he said, yeah, of course. So, you know, I always say, it's like, if you learn to play tennis with Roger feather, you learn, I'm sure you will learn very quickly. And I got so many hints from him and otherwise I would have learned on my own. So I was actually like the, the first X ups baby, you know,

Speaker 2 (55m 35s): Can you share any of the hints? Like, Oh, I have a good example. Cause I know, I know Yale is because she's in Verbier and she's, you know, it's hard for her to come over and join the Academy. So I asked her this and I know she is working with Thomas as I am, which, which is really, which has been a really great yeah. What, how, what are you passing on to her in terms of just being ready?

Speaker 0 (56m 4s): Okay. What would I pass on to her? Is that I tell her that her flying skills are way enough. She doesn't have to be the fittest. She has to be, she has to be durable. That's the only thing. And for that you need also to gain some weight she's to do is really struggling to gain weight because I'm sure that if you are a very, very thin, you know, you need a little, a little fat to burn during that long race.

Yeah. And, and then I think that's about it. And then also she asks me too to maybe come up, you know, the difficult flying decisions to also tell her my opinion, would I still fly? Would I not fly? Because she's, she's seen that with me. You know, you can get very quickly, very dangerous depending on the window and stuff. So that's what she wants for me. You know, a very, very honest opinion.

The ones we're in the race.

Speaker 2 (57m 7s): Hmm. Yeah. Michael, before I got a couple of other questions for you, and then I'm going to fire some, some kind of rapid fire questions at you that we, we put up a survey about a month and a half ago, by the time this goes live, it'll be longer than that, but I've got a lot of really cool questions that just came from the audience. So I'll fire some of those at you before we do. I just got to meet your little daughter there while we took a break. And you mentioned your wife was pregnant like five months pregnant or so in the 2015 race, how has kids changed your relationship with risk and flying?

And, you know, you've been at this game a long time, you know, a lot of years, world cups and then you exhale Alps. And then now you're, you know, I still, I see you're still getting after it. Don't fun things with a wing. It is, I've had my own kind of interesting journey with that. You know, my valance three years old now, she was mad. He was very pregnant. And the 2017 race, I was kept, kept waiting for the call to come in, to have to race home, you know, during the race itself. But I'm just wondering how that's has it in. And if it has, how has it changed your relationship with flying and risk?

Speaker 0 (58m 20s): I think with fine, you know, what's changed even more of my, my, my, a risky behavior was two years ago when I lost my friend in front of me in an avalanche that was, you know, like I couldn't save him and he died. And that was the moment where I thought, Oh man, I could be standing next to this grave. I could be in the grade next to his. And then I thought, you know, my life was actually a very good, I have no complaints, but I want to see my kids grow up.

That was the strongest reason to, to be alive right now. And so then I said in the future, I will, I will always, before I do something risky, I will always think about the worst case. And if I think worst case is death, then I don't do it. If worst case is breaking a leg, I can, I live with that. And that's been my, you know, my guidelines since then. So my, like my ski mountaineering is normally on, this is 30 degrees, you know, no one avalanche risk.

I miss some nice powder, but that's the price I pay. And also flying the flying. You know, I accept that X Alps. I've never really had problems. So I don't feel flying them in a big danger. It hasn't changed a lot of my flying behavior. I've always been, you know, I, I know that I'm my level is a little below that some pros we have in Switzerland and lets give you an example during the Swiss champs, they will, they will go full speed with an answer three 20 meters to a rock and I will go half speed or I will fly further around because I know that my green zone is not as high as theirs, but that's been even before having kids that's always been there.

Speaker 2 (1h 0m 32s): Okay. That was a good answer. I'll I'll get in. So these, you can answer long and short however you want, but there's just kind of some fun ones. What skill or something that you have you learned from life or any other sport has helped you become a better pilot

Speaker 0 (1h 0m 50s): Mmm. That you should never give up? You know, sometimes you think this, I will not find a thermal it's over, but it's normally not over it. You know, I always remember in Brazil, but that was the most impressive I was in Brazil on a camp. And then I was, I don't know, 5,200 meters above ground and I got this terrible, you got up again. And once also in Brazil we were sticking to a, a, a rocket was raining during one hour and we could just keep the height above the rock and then it cleared up again and we made go.

That was crazy, you know, but that's something that I always tried to learn in life from paragliding, but also keep it in mind because our mind, some sometimes, you know, make makes this black and white decisions says, Oh, it's raining. It's over. You can go in there, but no, it's not. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (1h 1m 51s): I think that's, that's one of the things that keeps drawing me back to the X ops in a sense is that you were flying, you know, in the last race we had the day going up the Rhine, there was no sun. It was just, it wasn't windy. It was just, it was kind of a cool day, but it was not, it was never a day. You would wake up and go, I'm going to go flying today. You would never go flying. Cause you, you never did anything more than just this letter. And I have no, I don't, I don't know if I've had that much fun, you know, a long time.

Speaker 3 (1h 2m 20s): It was great. I mean, those were the coolest letters ever. You're sledding. You're just letting over, you know, morning glory clouds in the morning and fog and in and out of, you know, in and out a little wispies and you know, and it was a mellow and there was no wind and there was no thermals and it was just, you're just having a day in the mountains, but you know, usually you'd go do something else on those kinds of days, you know?

Speaker 0 (1h 2m 42s): So I, that's why I like competitions. I still like to do them. You know, it's not that much for winning, but for being, or for pushing myself into those exactly conditions. As you mentioned that, you know, you, you do things that you will never do and you will experience amazing things during the competitions. And also sometimes you will lack a little bit of time to really enjoy because you have always go forward. You know, let's say in the negative side, the positive is definitely that you go into the conditions that you would never, if it wasn't for a comp.

Speaker 3 (1h 3m 19s): Sure. Okay. If you get back to a time before you started flying, would you make a different decision?

Speaker 0 (1h 3m 30s): Yeah, probably. Yes. I think that there is not, there is no other sport that I know that is that much teaching about life then paragliding, even for economy also, you know, for my former company, I learned a lot of things. Yeah. One thing is also the focus. That's what I learned from our league. Cause you said, if you're a high, you can think about strategy. If you're a low don't look at the others, just think, where can I get up?

And then again, you can think about strategy, you know, and that's what he calls the focus. You know, if you're a low thermal, sheer high, where to go, where or the others, what can I do? And in business, it's exactly the same.

Speaker 3 (1h 4m 19s): That's great. I like that. What was the best tip you've gotten in all of these years that influenced your flying the most, something Kriegel taught you or a mentor or somebody, or even just something you saw in a cop?

Speaker 0 (1h 4m 34s): I mean, probably at the beginning, it was probably the, the, the theory of the, the fastest flight, you know, you know, I am an engineer, so I even programed, you know, I had my, I do you call the pole out of my wing. Yup. And then I programed a headwind, tailwind, expected lift and a expected sync. So that's a, my credit theory. And then I, I had a table in my cockpit that I could read how fast I would fly.

And it's amazing that normally you have to fly a lot faster than you do you think to use the macro, the theory you and I had

Speaker 3 (1h 5m 18s): This conversation that I've brought up over and over again. I don't know if you listened to this show, but I've brought you up a lot. We have this great conversation coming off at camp and bond about your business. And you're an engineer. And I don't know if you remember this, but we were, I was commenting on God. There's so many engineers in this sport and you, you gave me a great answer that I I'm fuzzy on. Now. What, why is it that engineers are so attracted to flying?

Speaker 0 (1h 5m 44s): Maybe I'm an engineer because I'm attracted to flying.

Speaker 3 (1h 5m 49s): Ah, I think in the way around,

Speaker 0 (1h 5m 53s): Yeah. It's, it's really true that I think at that moment in the X ups, I told you that like probably 30 or 40% of all the, the guys in the top 10 in Switzerland will have always been mechanical engineers, but okay. Let's, let's call it this way. You know, aerodynamics is a, is a feel of the mechanical engineering methods or a, you know, the weather, it's also a fluid dynamics. So I think we have already this kind of basis to understand better what's going on.

Let's say the non-engineer pilot, you can make it up with the experience, but we already have a little package that we can just unpack to understand things, you know, like the Red MacCready theory to understand that what, you know, the fastest way of flying. If you ask an average pilot, probably you will not really get what, what does it mean? I think that's, and especially because I like flying is like a specialized in fluid dynamics, you know?

So it was all of a fluid and falls and stuff. And I think that helps, that really helps.

Speaker 3 (1h 7m 11s): Is that, is that super translatable though? I mean, understanding fluid dynamics from a theoretical standpoint and from algorithms and math, does it, does it just cross over into understanding flow in the invisible?

Speaker 0 (1h 7m 32s): Yeah, I think it does. It really does, you know, you know, to understand what's the renos number. And to know that the only your wing tips, you have a different one than in the middle of your way and to know what is the induced drag and why the birds are flying, you know, in a V-shape. I mean, okay, now the people probably know that, you know, when you travel, you lose the V-shape or the fly very well.

Like you have a trust, you've seen them on the seat with you both I'm sure. So that's when you see them, then if you're a mechanical engineer, you know exactly why they're flying so low, because use the, you know, the floor effect and do you know exactly why, why the birds that you use this speed shape flying one behind the other because they, they regulate one of their, of their rotors and they have this drag and that's all the things that, that certainly help.

Speaker 3 (1h 8m 38s): Hmm. What should beginners avoid paragliding, beginners? Yeah. People just getting into the sport. What should they be most aware of?

Speaker 0 (1h 8m 49s): I always tell people, paragliding is not a dangerous sport if you practice it only in a good way. So if you want to push it into demanding, whether you needed a lot more of experience and something that I also also think that the beginners don't do enough is ground handling. It's not that sexy, you know, to stand there for hours controlling when, but I, I tell people when it's really windy, go, go out in the field and then after a moment, go, go behind a tree to feel the least sign and try to keep your wing up.

And if you do this for hours and hours, you will be a much better pilot than if you do 20 more flights in, in a nice weather. That's that's my tip for probably for beginning.

Speaker 3 (1h 9m 44s): That's great. Okay. Last one. What was, or still is the hardest or most demanding thing that you needed to, or still need to learn?

Speaker 0 (1h 9m 55s): Yeah, let's say in paragliding and I would like to control my wing better in, in, in a very extreme situation. So, but I would, I will be very scared to be a test pilot, you know, just, just go full gas and collapse, you know, but that would be good for me. I'm sure. You know, you can see those, those pilots, you will see them again in summer that are test pilots. You know, there's, they're dream flying zone.

It's so much higher than, than, than mine because they do this every day.

Speaker 3 (1h 10m 31s): Yeah. Yeah. I saw, I saw Aaron dirt, Gotti, you know, I was training with him. I think that was the 2015 race and take off on a day where it was very much an X Alps day, but it was not a recreational day and we were just out training and I just thought, man, there's no, there's no plus side to this. Why, why, why, why even try? I mean, it was nasty, really strong Fern and awful. And, but I think it's because he has that test pilot and mentality. If you just, you know, that was more than happy walk and down.

And he was like, man,

Speaker 0 (1h 11m 3s): Yeah. You know, just go full gas and then make, make a collapsing that's against my intuition because I always want to keep it open. And I think they have a test pilots. They have a very, very good experience. They certainly do.

Speaker 2 (1h 11m 21s): Michael, what a pleasure. I really, really enjoyed that. Thank you for your time. It's good to see you again.

Speaker 0 (1h 11m 26s): Can you Gavin? Yeah, I was very nice. Yeah. That was a you're in good shape and happy. That's that's nice. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (1h 11m 34s): You know, I, I, I hope we get to have the race, but I kind of figure our approach, you know, since September has been, you know, worst-case scenario is that you spend the winter getting fit. So there's worse things in life. So I hope we get to come over and have this race, but we'll see. But now I'm very thankful to be able to spend so much time on, on just on training, keeping me sane right now.

Speaker 0 (1h 11m 59s): Yeah. That's cool. I mean, for also for me, it's been none such a bad year, you know, I've always been outside and there has been, it's been great when it comes to the EigerTour in a few after exams,

Speaker 2 (1h 12m 11s): We are coming for sure. Whether I race or not is a, you know, it's so tight because we won't get done until the first and it kicks off with the seventh. Is it the 7th of June?

Speaker 0 (1h 12m 23s): No, no, you're fine. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (1h 12m 25s): Yeah. And so Ben and Revis, my two of my supporters are both planning on doing it and you know, if you've got the space to throw me in and my feet are okay, usually my feet are pretty hammered man, after the end of this race. So if my feet are okay, cause I really wanted to do the last one. And, but I just, I, I couldn't walk while enough, you know, so I, I watched from afar, but I think the timing is going to be a little too tight for me. I'm an old guy, buddy. I take some time to recover, but, but I will for sure be sitting in the inner lock-in and watch it go on and have some beers with you.

And maybe I can help with logistics or something else and actually getting the race cars,

Speaker 0 (1h 13m 1s): Flights. Yeah,

Speaker 2 (1h 13m 3s): That'd be great. That'd be great. I just don't know if I'm going to be capable of running up mountains that fast, but we'll see,

Speaker 0 (1h 13m 8s): You know, the cable car, maybe

Speaker 2 (1h 13m 10s): It'll be like 2013 where, where we've just fly the whole day on. Of course it would be a nice weather, but I haven't had that experience yet.

Speaker 0 (1h 13m 18s): Are you? Maybe you, otherwise you can be a, you know, with a special guest for our Academy. And do you go with them?

Speaker 2 (1h 13m 25s): Love to, yeah, that sounds fun. That'd be it that'd be fantastic. I will be involved in some way. We have the van rented for the whole time and, and like I said, Ben and Travis are doing it, so we'll be there and I can see it in person. But thanks bud. That was, that was a blast. And it's so good to see you and congrats on a little ones and a half.

Speaker 0 (1h 13m 46s): That's easy to make, but hard to educate, you know?

Speaker 4 (1h 13m 55s): Okay.

Speaker 0 (1h 13m 56s): It was a big fish to see and yeah, hope to see you in a, in some months

Speaker 4 (1h 14m 0s): if you find the Cloudbase may have valuable, you can support

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Speaker 4 (1h 16m 25s): .