Typical weather in this year’s race. Photo Ben Horton
This year’s Red Bull X-Alps, if you could put it in a word- scary. We didn’t have a single “standard” day of flying with light wind, nice cumulus, and good base, unless you count the Prologue! We had incredible heat the first three days, low base, wind and stable conditions, then the thunderstorms started, strong Fohn from the South and North, window-breaking hail, severe lightning and really, really strong wind for the remainder of the race. Every athlete I spoke with at the awards at the end had a look of just going to battle. For the first time in my four races, the bad weather got everyone, regardless of where you were on the course, and it didn’t let up. There were times when all 12 pairs of my shoes were soaked. After a good showing in the Prologue and going into the race pretty beat up from a crash at the end of May, and carrying the remainder of a flu into the race, which later turned into some kind of pneumonia (we’re not sure, but it was ugly!) and having a terrifically bad start, Team USA 1 started clawing back. We narrowly escaped elimination twice, but stayed positive, had a blast, made some critical moves and battled to the very end. We stuck with the process, relied on the training, stayed optimistic, and trusted in our team. In the end Team USA 1 did 590 km on the ground, over 50,000 meters of vertical ascent (Everest 6 times!) and…didn’t die. As always, it was an insane adventure and in this podcast I take on the wonderful questions that came in from all of you who cheered us on. I hope you enjoy!
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Alain Plattner: This is a long one, i apologize:
My question is about the race format. It looked as if a number of pilots got injured or had close calls because of bad flying conditions, but it seems like having “no fly days” makes no sense when the athletes are spread all over the alps. So i wanted to ask your opinion on changing the race format:
For example, the route could be split into five 2-day segments. The start of each segment is the end of the previous segment. At the end of each of these 2-day periods, all athletes are taken to the start of the next segment. Athletes who don’t make it to the finish of a segment would get “negative miles”, athletes who go beyond the finish would get “positive miles”. At the beginning of the last (fifth) segment, athletes would start based on their “mile balance” (positive miles from the segments minus negative miles).
The advantage would be: The athletes stay close together, so “no fly days” would make more sense. Also, it could be more exciting for the athletes and the fans to have everyone fly closer together.
Philipp Bethge: What happened on the first two days?
Alejandro: So many thing to comment on! Could you talk about airspace and all the mess that went on with pilots infringing it (or not)? and also about the issues with some pilots and turn points on the prologue. How did you keep motivation on the first days with the bad weather, the wrong decisions and finding yourself so much back? Could you also comment on gear? Has the super light been taken too far with pilots having issues with flying with a wet glider? Should there be a minimum parachute reserve size? Having a parachute for 90 kg max for a pilot’s AWU of 87 thrown at 3000 m is probably no a good idea. Also in all the photos from you it seems your backpack is too big to be comfortable(too far away from your back), was this an issue? Planning on doing the Vercofly this year?
Nadine Wyss: I would be interested in how you perceive the risks of these events.
It seems as if more and more pilots are inspired to challenge the « no flying » conditions and think that anything is possible. But it seems that most of the athletes take a very calculated risk – where and what is the difference to a recreational pilot?
How did you decide on whats flyable and what is not and could you give any advice how « normal » pilots can decide?
Especially with more and more people participating in hike and fly races it would be interesting to get more perspective. Because in races like the eigertour there is real carnage going on. And secondly, what did you do nutrition wise in this race? Mainly fat and proteins again?
Jim Fuhrman and Chris Brent: What were some of the “fear” injuries that were encountered? I heard Lauri Genovese had some sort of incident and I know Theo did but I missed the breakdown. We’re you disappointed that Cody withdrew when it looked like you might be eliminated, when he could of just waited out the clock?
Livia Gilstrap: I would like to hear more of a break down of the incidents: the reserve throw, the power lines, etc.
Davis Straub: It seemed like the race commentary was a bunch of happy talk, but then Chirgel just mentioned a bit about how dangerous things were (rotor and collapses). Please link to where the real reporting was going on. Red Bull X-Alps Addicts? What about the training that Chrigel does to prepare for this race (flies in high winds)? Does anyone else do that? Any thoughts on official wind speed limits? Landing on roads? Really, this is okay, sort of taken as normal? Other than Chrigel it seemed like a lot of the race was running, which is okay I guess, but not that great. What about the great dividing point when as I vaguely recall (I don’t seem to be able to use a way back machine to go to a previous day on Live Tracking) Maurer, Pinot, Kanel, and Outers were all very close in front, and then Maurer just blew them all away by taking a different route to the north. I realize they were all looking at the predicted weather and made choices, but go into more detail about what happened.
Terje Hansen: What do the athletes think of not ending in Monaco and do you think future Race will also not end here?
Andy Read: One thing I’d like to know is why RB reporting consistently ignores the support teams. Every competitor will tell you how important their team is and yet year after year the support teams are totally overlooked. They all have incredible stories to tell but RB just want films of the pilots. Are they not interested in the human interest side of it?
Thomas: Would you consider being a supporter for another pilot? Your knowledge and experience is surely invaluable. What did you think about the new format, and how could it be improved for 2023?
Ben Netterfield: Did you find it hard to switch on and off at the end of the day and actually get rest or were some things playing around in your head especially once fatigue set in? Having had the crash not long prior to the race when coupled with some brain fog did you notice any moments or days of decision making were a bit haphazard? What was the funniest moment you and the team had together?
Stanislav: Is it still fun, or did it went to the stage where only professional team with huge number people behind can compete? I like to follow it, but it seems even more ridiculously hard and impossible than before.
Trey Hackney: I’d like to hear some stories about your top highlights, and the flip side: top scariest moments or most challenging situations (flying outside of standard “reasonable” conditions), and what that was like, and the physical reality of managing the glider when conditions are pushing all the limits. How common were collapses? Any situations you thought you might not get out of or that you might need to throw? Would be cool to hear more and learn (second hand!) about the reality of flying in fully extreme conditions like this year presented with such high wind. Any valuable lessons or insight you learned this time around about flying in strong rotor?
Gunnar Friese: What’s the biggest takeaway from the race? What did you learn?
Will Gadd: Really enjoy your emphasis on battling well rather than the just the results Gavin! Question: Almost every pilot in the top ten is a full-time competition/test/sponsored pilot. Is it necessary to have test-pilot, three hundred plus hours a year, level skills to hit the podium in the X Alps? From what I saw of the launches, landings and lines flown it sure looked like pilots better be very comfortable operating way, way outside “normal” flying conditions. I’m OK with that, but I think this year’s tough conditions really emphasized very specialized and high-level skills, or maybe not? What do you think?
Speaker 0 (0s): And everybody welcome to another episode of the Cloudbase Mayhem. I am home in sun valley, Idaho, and we're camping the rest of the summer and it's, we're renting our house. And so I'm sitting in the library. So the sound might be not exactly what you're used to, but should be pretty good. The show was planning to release last Wednesday, which would have been on time. So I apologize for the delay here was with Dylan Benedetti, who I'm speaking to actually in a little bit here today, because when we submitted all the sound to miles for editing, it wasn't good enough.
And I didn't realize that when we were recording it. So we were having to redo that. So again, apologize for the delay. We were able to put out a couple of posts about and ask me anything, show about this year's race while it's still really fresh and got a ton of great questions. So that's what we're going to fill this week with. And then we'll get back to our regularly scheduled programming. As soon as we get this Dillon show done. Before we get to that, a little bit of housekeeping, my friend, Stacy Whitmore, and their whole amazing team who runs the Monroe Richfield flying on the red rocks flying.
And that has become the biggest event in north America by far, I think they had over 500 participants last year during COVID and just an awesome place to apply at the end of September, early October. And this year we're adding a high can fly then kind of based around the bear co fly and Agra tour races. Of course we don't have huts here and the states except a few and Colorado, so we can't do that, but we've got all the way points insured through HBA and ready to go out. And we will set a course like they do the Uyghur, the mourning of the event, and we got to categories the pro category and the adventure category that time of year is still really good for exy flying and that part of the world.
And it's absolutely beautiful. All the fall colors your out. And this promise is to be really cool race. The, the adventure race, there are really no qualifications except to be a licensed pilot and be pretty fit and breathe, capable solo in the mountains. These are all unsupported. So there's no support teams. You can have a sport team, but you don't need it. We'll have supply stations at various way points and should be able to just do it on your own. And it's a two night, three day race. And for the pro category and to be pro category is going to have as many as 30, 30 participants, Andy.
But to be in the pro category, you've got to have some pretty serious experience. So either you have raced in one of the big events, like the orange to fly or Barco or Uyghur Dolan MIDI, or of course the X outs, or you've got to have really solid top landing skills and you could submit a video to me and then we'll go a little race committee, then we'll go over that. So, and the prize money first time was I had been real prize money, especially on the side of the pond is 5,000 bucks or the winter.
So nickname lenses coming, and Griegos hopefully coming and bunch of others from the Xcel. So working on that and I'll keep updating on that pretty fun. There will be a lot more information available soon. We're working on a new website and hopefully some information available is available now on kwassa C U S S a s.com. So check it out and reach out to me. If you want more information, it should be a blast this show yet.
Speaker 1 (3m 30s): And then ask me anything with yours truly just got home. This show, this race was properly scary. And oftentimes it was a pretty wild. And I know a lot of that was picked up on with the live tracking, but, and a lot of it wasn't, we were dealing with a lot of Fern wins that were similar to what we had in 2015, which was my first, but even scarier because a lot of it was from wen and a lot of thunderstorm's unbelievable hail or the kind of breaks windshields on cars and a lot of lightening and several fury injuries that took people out of the race and just, yeah, it was intense.
And so let me get into these. And again, while it's still fresh, got some great questions and I'll be happy to answer more as they come in. And we just put this up a few days ago and I'm going to try to answer everybody that sent me a message either through Facebook or through the email let's dig in. This was a crazy race Alon Plattner asked the same. He said, and, and actually this is along one. I apologize my questions about the race format. And it looks as if the number of pilots got injured or had close calls because of bad flying conditions, but it seems having no fly days makes no sense when the athletes are spread all over the Alps.
So I wanted to ask your opinion on changing the race format. For example, the route could be split into five too day segments. I started each segment at the end of the previous segment at the end of each these two day periods, all the athletes are taken to the start or the next segment, how are the two don't make it to the finish of a statement would get negative Mile's athletes who goes beyond the finish and get positive models at the beginning. And the last fifth segment athletes who started based on their mile balance, the advantage would be the athlete stay closer together and no fly days would make more sense. Also, it could be more exciting for the athletes and the fans to have everyone fly close to the other.
And let me take this piece by piece. The first is, you know, can they close it down? And the answer really is now. And because of that, we're just too spread out and the abilities are pretty close, but you know what might be totally flyable for one person isn't for it and might, may not be for another. And that's just a personal decision. So in this re this was the first time I've ever seen a possible race closure, and that wasn't the Guisborough. And when we were down in the Mozart Platts, w it was gusting over 50, up on the Guisborough and Christoph came to the athlete committee, which is myself and Tom to Darla DAU and Kriegel and said, what are we going to do about this?
If we get 32 athletes up there, and it wasn't 32, because several people weren't able to make the start of this one due to COVID. But then I think there was 28 or 29, and he said, there's going to be so much pressure, and everybody's going to launch, and it's not safe up there. And we agreed. Kriegel came up with an answer to that. If the five minute average was over 30 K and our, they closed the launch, and if it was below that, then they'd open it. But at the time we got two, the Geisbert, it was, the wind had really backed off and it was a non-issue. But from then on, we very, very frequently flew in conditions way over 50 K and our way, way beyond recreational, and obviously very dangerous.
And it did take few people out of the race, for sure, mostly with fear injuries, but yeah, you just wouldn't be able to mandate any kind of thing like that. It really has to be up to the, the, the athlete at the pilot and what they're feeling at the time and their own personal decisions and their own personal training. So I don't think you mandate that as for switching the, the, the format of the race. This is actually something zoom has been discussing for years. They've, they've also talked about this, you know, until this year Kriegel is always so far out in front, and they've definitely talked about having it in stages, which would keep everybody together and make it a lot more exciting for the fans.
This one was obviously pretty exciting, cause until day seven, until his breakout magic move, it was really tight when the top 10, it kind of looked like it was anybody's game until he had that amazing flight and that really strong south Ferne and covered a lot of ground when Maxime and some of the others hardly went anywhere that day. So we'll get into that. So there's more questions about that and later on and the show, but the problem is, is, you know, forever and ever until 2013, I believe this race was whoever got there.
They'd leave it open for 48 hours. And then they changed it because that, you know, the race could potentially take 17, 18 days to get there. And that's just impossible from the organizational standpoint. And it's impossible from the team standpoint and, you know, many people have to get back to work. So they changed it to just 12 days. Now there are some weird rules if nobody gets their and 12 days and be able to open for another 24 hours, or if somebody gets there late on the 12th day, they leave it open for 24 hours. I'm not sure exactly how that goes. I all them the rules on the website, but basically it's a 12 day race.
And if they do it and stages, they'd have to knock off a bunch of distance, which for various reasons they don't want to do that. They like to kind of keep making it harder and longer every time because of the teams get better and faster. So we're not sure the, you know, that has been presented to them, the athlete committees present them. And, you know, it's kind of up in the air, but for, as for now, I don't really see that changing, but it's a great idea. The next question's from my friend, Phillip Becky, what happened in the first two days yet Team USA had a really terrifically bad start and that was new for us.
We've always had good starts. And the other three races I'd like to blame it on my physical condition. Although I certainly didn't feel that I was fine in the prologue of the day before the prologue. I was still kind of having a hard time walking from the crash. Then I had at the end of the MEI. And it was kind of looking like, eh, I don't know, but I felt fine. And the prologue and I was fast at the top and the flu pretty well and kind of blow it. I was in forth leaving the start and the Goggle, but it made it kind of a quick move with Lucca and ended up eighth in the prologue, which was fine.
And that was great. And I was kind of the only decent day of flying. We had it in the entire race. I actually yeah. Felt trying. And from that standpoint, in the beginning of the race up till about day six. And so I started taking the antibiotics, I was still really fighting this bad flu that I had. And when I went over there and I can't say that it really affected me physically, I just was coughing up long cookies. Like you wouldn't believe all day and all night, so that couldn't have been good. And it certainly, once the antibiotics kicked in, it was kind of, oh, this is how you feel when you feel good.
So, but I didn't notice that that was affecting anything. And it was basically just that nothing we did worked and it wasn't bad decision-making necessarily. It was just, I just, wasn't making the moves in the air and every time we'd get to the launch, it just didn't work just totally out of psycho with the sky in the sun and he aspect. And a, from the very beginning, I know when I launched and then I launched seventh and eighth off the Geisbert and everybody was together there base was really low. If it was, there is a ton of Strattice and serious, and that day, and, and quite a bit of wind.
And, you know, when the first fleet left I was with, I was right with, Kriegel just cruising around it at the start there. And when the first fleet left, I was, you know, 15 meters lower than everybody else. And I just, you know, it was going to be a really slow struggling day and I didn't want to be impatient. So I waited. And then when the second fleet left, same thing and I was a little bit low. And then the, then there wasn't many of us left and there was Manu and Theo and a few others, some of them top landed and waited for better conditions deal.
And I almost bombed out which would have been terrible, but we survived. And then we all Emanu and Theo and eye and Michael Latcher and few others left. And, ah, it was just the struggle, but then there was more cloud's. So we kinda missed our best window and made it about 23 and a half course line. Most of us landed in and Michael squeak through. And ah, and then we, and we, should we fly shoot, we not flash. We, and I, you know, some of the people in front of us had bombed out and this kind of pretty treed canyon.
Anyway, it just didn't work by the time that the Thiel and Manu and I got to another launch, it was really windy. We made it work. We launched Mankato two and a totally different rout, which ended up working better for him. I, you know, the other, and I got a decent glide down in the valley. He decided to walk and that was a much better decision. And I decided to race and try to launch. And then before 9:00 PM and launched and a ton of head and, and almost went backwards and of course line. So, and that didn't work out and nothing.
And the next day, either I think the next day and had eight flight's and almost 5,000 meters of assent, and it was over a hundred degrees and, and most of them were just sledders or just trying to survive. And so, yeah, they just, it didn't work for us and the beginning and we slid way back and of course makes it harder cause you're working a lot harder. And the third day was again, pretty hot. And then we started getting the thunderstorms that out afternoon, getting into Arkansas did make up a bunch of ground that day as we did in the subsequent days.
But, you know, by then the damage had been done. So it was, you know, the disappointing at the same time, you know, we knew it was a long race. We knew other people would had airspace and make mistakes and bow out of the race. And to some extent we were able to really claw back. You know, I think we made, made up ground on pretty much everybody, but Kriegel for most of the rest of the race we had, some days were bad and then others, but I was super proud of the effort and incredibly proud of the team.
Everybody stayed, wicked optimistic. We had a blast that was always the goal was just had fun, fun, and come home safe and stick with the process and stick with our plan, which we always did. And sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't Alejandro. It's so many things to comment on. Can you talk about airspace and all the mess that went on with the pilot's and fringing it or not. And also about the issues with some pilots in turn points on the prologue. Let me tackle that first. Yeah. Airspace is really become a problem in this race.
In the beginning, they only really cared about the big ones, the CTRs and that kind of thing, but complaints, but because of the, the race is so public, they've really got to adhere to airspace. And then now they just care about more and more and more all the parks and then no land and areas. And I mean, there was just hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of airspaces and they were switching them on us right up until the start. And this makes it really tough. You know, you gotta update the fly master. You're going to have day your phone. You gotta stay on top of it. Some, some are open some days and closed other days, you know, like when I went through a, the Rhone valley, the wings of the CTR, its CEO and aerospace world, and you could fly through it and other days, and they were closed for others.
And that's what the AU had. I'm not sure if you had the CGR and one in the wings, but yeah, it's just something you really gotta be on top of. And you really need someone on your team. If you're not really good at airspace, like I'm not, you need somebody on your team like Revis. He was really good and he could update my stuff on the fly. And he was constantly sending me new files before I'd take off about stuff that I needed to worry about and others that I didn't need remove. So if you don't have that and makes it pretty tricky or the thing is having a great setting on your phone, if you use something like fly sky high, if you have, you can have a side view, which shows the airspace in front of you and if he could be over it or under it, so I've never had trouble with airspace.
I never had, I've never had it on in any of the races, but many people did. And yeah, it's just, it's a huge bummer and it's a real mess and it's becoming harder and harder for the organization to handle and also deliver to us in a timely fashion, what we have to worry about and what we don't. So it gets people every time and yeah, it's a bummer for sure. But yeah, I don't see that really changing the, the term points and the prologue you continue to do.
And then the athlete committee had been incredibly vocal about this and hopefully this will not be the case and the future, but they give us 50 meter cylinders. And, you know, at the third turn point and I spent 1500 feet going up in a five meter climb, trying to hit the damn thing and 50 Miller's cylinder. I don't know why they do that. And it's ridiculous. And I'm assuming they just aren't race pilots. And we've asked them to change that. We've asked them to give us an inner speed section for the prologue, which they don't do. And so the landing was just chaos because you got all these pilots that are really good, that are trying to land as close as they can to the Red Bull, 10 thing that you got to go through when the clock stops.
So if you had an into speed, like they do, and world cups it'd be way safer and you wouldn't have a gallery of people all over the place. And I was, it was mayhem. So hopefully that will change. There's no point in having 50. I mean, we had a 50 meter cylinder in the 2017 race and tree glob and it took me maybe 30 passes to try to hit. It sounds easy, but you know, when you are really struggling on the super stable day and you're barely surviving and you're trying to hit this thing and the air and your instruments are obviously there's lag time there. Yeah, it's ridiculous.
That's all I can say. It just, it doesn't work and it needs to change. How did you keep motivation in the first day with the bad weather, the wrong decisions and finding yourself so much back, could you also comment on the gear has the super light and then taken too far with pilot's having issues with flying and wet glider and, and should there be a minimum parachute size, so much stuff here? Let me take these one by one motivation. I and struggled with too much. I mean, for sure it wasn't the start that we wanted, but like I said, it was, it's a long race, you know, things are gonna happen.
You just have to stay optimistic. You've put a year and a training into it and way too early to bow out. And I knew from previous additions that I think it would have been really tough if this was my first race, but I knew from previous additions that, you know, we know how to make moves and we would make moves. And we just had to kind of keep our head in the grindstone. And, you know, we had this kind of motivational sign. Thomas they're low actually helped me with working within this winter, upright in the van and you know, one of the things on, and his love, the grind. And so we just, that just became what we did love the grind and keep grinding and it'll work out.
And, you know, we knew in the first couple of days that we were no longer going to be in contention for anything great, but you know, look at what the man who did, he was way back with me and he ended up six. So, you know, and you know, I beat man back in 2015. So I mean, we all have similar skills. A lot of the guys that beat me this time, I've beaten in the past. It's just, you know, that's how the race goes. And the cookie crumbles a lot of different ways that re ways, and you just gotta stay positive. And so to be honest, I don't feel like I had a lot of trouble with it that, you know, for sure it was really hot for S two and a half, three days.
And I struggle with the heat. And that was probably more of a hard thing, especially when you're just walking down the road and really busy roads that, you know, one huge bridge at and actually walk on the railing and, you know, it was 300 foot, drop-offs bring one of those dangerous things that did race wasn't even fly. And just walking on this thing with tons of traffic going by. So that kind of thing kinda sucks, but motivation-wise never really lost it. The super light side of things.
Yes, of course it has, you know, we're all flying with Tawny reserves. You know, the, the really high end, the new harnesses this year were all less than a kilo. Mine was 1.3 that Columbia pro, which I really liked, but they don't have much protection and they're super flimsy and they're not very good when you're flying two liners, which we all are now. So yeah, for sure it's been taken too far, but it adds up to metric tons when you add it over the course of the 12, 13 days. So it makes a huge difference.
Kriegel pioneer and all that back in 2009 when he showed up for his first, and I don't think it's going away, but it certainly, it's a warning to most pilots out there that, you know, you need, you should definitely be flying. You should carry an extra 200 cramps and to have a bigger reserve. I proved that when I crashed at the end of may, I had one of my tiny little X-Files reserves and had that had been bigger. I probably wouldn't have hit and nearly so hard. So yeah, I mean, you just have to choose what's right for you and maybe not, maybe not push that envelope too far.
Cause you know, I think what is important is that it's all a compromise and you're definitely compromising on, on passive safety when you go in the super light stuff, the wet glider thing. Yeah. This would be a bit of advice for someone going into a race like this. I had a second set of gear, a complete set of gear. So an extra backpack and extra Wang, all in, all I had to do is switch to the instrument's and my helmet. And I had a, you know, legitimate race kit.
And now I wasn't flying that second wind because it wasn't all logoed up. But very often I was landing either in really wet grass or landing after I had some reign in the sky. Luckily I was never in the sky in a real proper day luge, which some of the pilots were, you know, I could just switch it out. And as long as the van could get to me, I could switch it out and have like, it had dry gear that I could carry that was legitimate and had all this stuff. And then, you know, the flare or, and everything else. And, but it didn't have all the weight of my wet glider and then my team could dry it all out.
So that was really key. I had backups everything, XC, tracer, fly, master flair, wing, harness, everything. I had backups for everything. So I could just switch it out. And that was, that was really advantageous reserve size of, of comment and on, yeah, for sure. I mean, and you just don't want to push that too much. It's better to carry the extra weight and have a proper reserve. All the photos from you and seems your backpack is too big to be comfortable way too far away from your back then and backpack, then it was the cartel's prototype.
It was two big. And that was my fault. I just, I liked to be able to not have to be completely anal about packing my gear so the big, but it definitely could've been smaller, but if it was incredibly comfortable and it's an awesome back then and I, I really, I really loved it from 19 S I would be interested in how you perceive the risks of these, of the risk of these events. It seems more and more pilots are inspired to challenge the no fly and conditions and think that anything is possible, but it seems that most of the athletes take a very calculated risk.
Where, and what is the difference to a recreational pilot? Yes, I think we do take a calculated risk, but you also get in a crazy mind frame in this race and this race more than any of the others I've been in with the exception of 2015, we did fly and all the tunnel when, and then it took a lot of people out, you know, and then they don't report. And I get into this later and they don't really report on the bad side of things. It's just a Red Bull dictate, but they, you know, Tom almost died in 2015 on the door and window was helicoptered out six or seven.
People went down to injuries. 2017 was also another bad year. So it seems to be, we lose kind of 20 to 30% every time, but this one was proper scary. And I had a number of crashes. There's a film that will be out probably by the time this goes live. That has a bunch of those and proper scary fly into the tunnel wind. This is just the way I can't emphasize this enough way, way, way beyond anything recreational.
And, and in my opinion, beyond anything that most of us should be doing even ops pilots and maybe with the exception of Kriegel and Maxine, but Paul, he doesn't seem to mind and Aaron, you know, and they don't seem to mind really extreme conditions, but it's vastly extreme. And the sun of the stuff we were flying, I mean, I was regularly flying and 50 K an hour winds and pretty okay with it. And, and some of the Fohn days were just terrifying and again, pretty okay with it, you know, and just laughing it off.
And the whole day I had flying down from fish down the road, you know, I had a monstrous tailwind and way too much wind for the thermals to even be a thing even, and it was totally gray anyway. And I basically Ridge store down the road, you know, I just plant myself on to one of the kind of north south facing ridges. And I wouldn't even need to turn, I just sit there and just take the elevator up and full bar until I couldn't hang on anymore and Huck over the back and do it again and again and again, slow plan.
And when it was about to dump Rainn and hit out and her account thing high, and an hour later, I was back in the year and it wasn't sunny, but it was just wasn't raining anymore and kept going. And, you know, I would never certainly comfortably fly on a day like that at home. And then most days would like that. And so going around while block was even worse and a strong Norford day. And so, yeah, it's extreme and it's definitely, I don't think, you know, that one day that Kriegel had the big flight and then he was asked how's flight was, and he'd just said was bad or something.
And he'd be, I mean, he, he was like, well, the one word it was the hardest white had ever had in his life. And I'm sure he was pretty scared, sounded like he was catching a lot of collapses that's Kriegel and he regularly trains 60 can hour wind and stuff and the snow. So I just can't emphasize enough that this race, you know, on a year, like the year 2019, we had no one you can launch anywhere. And then there was quite a few thunderstorms and stuff, but hardly any gusts fronts, no wind, no furn. And I think for many that that was their first year were just blown away by the difference that you can have from one, one race to the next, you know, for those who are contemplating doing the XL apps and competing in something like this, you just have to know that that's what you're taking on and you have to be pretty good at judging.
Is this, do I have this move? Do I, can I fly? And these conditions, and like I said, you do get in this crazy confident Headspace where you can handle it, or you don't, and you lost a few people. I'll talk about that here and a bit to fear injury's and they're, you know, they're very real as far as calculated risk. I don't know how calculated it is. I, you know, I'd like to think we're all taking calculated risks, but at the end of the day, you know, you hock or you don't.
And, you know, I know Tom, got to a few places really tall and decided it just wasn't flyable and walked down and, you know, maybe some of the other pilots would have decided it was okay. Certainly there've been quite a few times where, okay. And then I launched and, and, you know, and made it work. So, yeah, Carney and there was definitely a lot of carnage in this one. Like there has been, and other high can fly races. And again, I think that's just what you've got, you know, that there hasn't been worse.
Carnage is just, it's almost a miracle and knock on wood that'll keep happening, but it doesn't seem like that's likely, secondly, she did. What did you do for nutrition, nutrition in this race, mainly fat and proteins again, yes. To an extent, I really tried to stay with the OFM protocol, which is the optimized fat metabolism. And I did for the, about the first five days and heavy on, on protein, real heavy on fat and not a lot of food, you know, letting my body be the fuel instead of glycogen the carbs.
And for some reason, this race that just wound down and I found that my brain wasn't working very well. And then, and when I switched that to, I didn't really switch it consciously. I just started craving. I started eating the chute bowls of oatmeal with lots of nuts, butter, and milk, and then, and adding quite a bit, the more carbs you and more pasta and that kind of thing in the evenings, and just started eating a ton more food. We didn't go that route in 2019, and I kind of stayed with the throughout and this one, it just didn't seem to work and as well.
And so we started adding more carbs and my brain started working better. I definitely started racing better. And a lot of the issues I was having went away and I wouldn't, and I wasn't having the GI issues, but yeah, and kind of thing, but it was definitely suffering a little bit with brain fog and that cleared up. And so it was basically a combo and that were, that were create the big difference in this race from the previous ones where my feet, I didn't have any feet. I used it, the, and Gigi toe socks with smart wool outers.
And it was really wet This year. So the dozen or so shoes I had paid off cause we were constantly switching them. And there were times where all of the little wet, but if it was really very anal about keeping my feet dry and at one bad blister on one toe early on didn't even hurt. And then that popped and kind of went away and just dried up and the rest of the race, I was totally fine. So that worked great. That was, that was a huge positive change from previous events, Jim firm. And then Chris Brett both asked pretty similar questions.
So I've kind of combined them. What were some of the fear injuries that were encountered? I heard Laurie Tenovus and some sort of incident, and I know Theo did, but I missed the breakdown. And were you disappointed that Cody, which withdrew when it looked like you might be eliminated when he could've just wait it out the clock? So you have commented on that about Cody? Well, again, I know he's put out a post on Facebook. Yeah. But I can comment on all this. So yet the, the, the physical injury is the first was Ken and GUMA well, first the, the reporting.
So like I said before, the Red Bull there's addictive, which I didn't understand until actually after this race, because I had the same question. Why aren't we seeing that stuff? It just seems so interesting. And the fans would appreciate it. I mean, if you weren't following the actual athlete on their Instagram and you didn't get any of that, and it's actually a dictate from rebel, they don't, they don't want anything bad, quote, unquote, bad out there. Why? I don't know. I can't really understand that. So it just seems totally wrong to me, but that's what they do.
So, and I encourage you to the future and just follow the people you like on their Instagram and our Facebook, and you'll get more information. But the first major injury was, can go in the Japanese pilot. We noticed that because the only his, his little guy went way north and it ended in the hospital. So I'm not sure if he was Fohn there, if he was driven their, but he had a leg injury. And that's all I know. I didn't get to see him at the awards afterwards, Lucca and Thiel hit the wall. Luca didn't had it, but he spun his glider and lb and hard to miss a cable up in the class and pass the U actually hit his and destroyed his glider.
And luckily was able to have, and another glider for him put together real quick and he was able to continue on, I can't come in. And then he had a severe injury or not, probably not, no idea that he had been a really good post about, he said it was the scariest thing and it never happened in his fine career. And he says, if not the best air co-pilot and the world, and certainly more of the best Luca, incredibly good pilot spun his glider and hit pretty hard. He was helicoptered out, but then just to be safe and he was okay.
And then he did the honor code thing, which we all should do and do, if we're at the back, he just sat down and waited. And so that was the day to day Cody and I walked by him and, and OGI was, I had made a flight a little ways at the Rhine. And so we were all kind of in contention for being eliminated next. So he very kindly did what you're supposed to do, which is just sit down. Cause he was, he wasn't hurt enough that he wanted to keep going, that he wasn't hurt enough. And he, that you wanted to continue.
So he was eliminated. And the next elimination was between Cody, myself, Lauri and Ogee. We were all kind of in the back and I had a really nice, pretty good day and that south Fern where Kriegel made his big move on and the other way flying and an absolute ton of wind, probably the most wind I'd ever heard. And I had texted Cody who we were up in the class and pass together. And when I chose and I think a little better decision that morning doing a couple little glides and then I top land and your bend to get the water and some more stuff and just check in with him.
And I taught my in the nearer pilot who, another pilot, recreational pilot, who wasn't going to fly, but he was just up there and I saw them. So I flew over and landed there. And then there was a road at the land Rover could get up us on. And, and he was looking at all the wind OBS, live wind OBS and, and the area. And, you know, it was gusting over 50 it, the peak Topps. And you could see it at the south from, was just dumping in. And I'm really quite a bit more terrified a south first and then the north Fern, because the previous experiences, not on the race, but just trading in the Alps and, and I had to get it to the room to get to fish.
And that exposes me to the Andermatt past where Lori was and where she sat most of the day and also the row pass, which is one of the major breaks that the south for and can come through. So we really struggled with, okay, how do we get three or should we just walk? And should I try to fly? Should I stay more north, which is what we ended up doing. And you'll see it in the film that I taught. And I know the snow field up above 3000 meters kind of near angle Burg and your Titlist, which is where we were and then previous race. So I new that area and, and it was insane, the rowdy, but very beautiful and kinda cool.
And we made some great ground until I got to the past the point, the grim sole, which leads down in the morning and airspace. And then, and I couldn't get over the peaks there to dump into the room, which is what I was really hoping to do. Every time I got to about 2,500 and the south from which slammed me and lose the glider. And, and, and I tried and tried and tried, and every time I got my head up high just slamming. And so I had the land in the past and relaunched and then fly down, I'm towards the Marine in the airspace, which is really low and kind of get wind underneath it as far as I could and land.
And then I had to walk, I think, from their almost 30 K and then seventy-five hundred feet to get it to the Grimsby pass where OGI and Lori flew later that afternoon and got a little bit of a jump on me and heading down to fee. So it ended up working in terms of making a lot of ground, but it also meant I was still in last and was going to be next on the chopping block. And that's when we got the news that, that Kody just DNF. And yes, the Cody, I was that morning when I learned about the 50 K and our wins, I texted them and just said, Hey buddy, heads up, it's going to be really rowdy today.
And, you know, we're, we're kind of go in the wrong way for them, for this kind of condition and just be careful. Yeah. And he just texted bag and he said, I'm over it. I'm done. And I didn't think to remind him that, you know, when you don't, don't DNF, just sit and hang out or just walk or, you know, just be safe. And then he'd had some pretty rowdy flights and just definitely was game over. And he would just, he wasn't into it. I had caught up with him and Santas or the day before, and we had a nice flight together. And you could just tell you just in his head, wasn't in the game anymore.
And which is totally understandable. Especially considering the, some of the stuff that he had been flying and he'd been having a really good race, but then he was just kinda over it. And I think he just lost the plot. You know, that's kind of the honor code. That's what you do. You just sit down and you become the next one, eliminated. If he hadn't done what he did. And then Thiel wouldn't have been eliminated. Then a couple days Inn in the end, it didn't affect me. But I certainly thought at the time it would, and I was pretty bummed and very vocal with them. And then I put out something on Instagram that probably wasn't very polite, but yeah, we were all bombed.
And then it turned out that Laurie to answer the rest of this question, Laurie, a few days earlier going into their moose, she signed the board and she was having a really good race and went up launched and sounds like pretty proper thunderstorm. And a lot of rain and her wing went pair of shoes. And she was right over big, high tension, power lines and through the reserve. And luckily that worked, it put her in the trees instead of the power lines, but then it took quite a while to get her out and get a rescue.
And she went back up. I aye, I heard three times, I never got to ask her this personally. I don't know if it was twice or three times and bombed out and just didn't get anywhere. And so had about the roughest day you possibly could Laurie's and insanely good pilot, really good world cup pilot. And like I said, was having a great race and super inspiring and just, yeah, freaked her out as it did with Cody. And so when I was kind of on the chopping block, a couple of days later, going into fish, it was going to be, the next morning was the elimination, or maybe it was that morning.
I can't remember. She and Ogie were a little bit ahead of me. And she sent me a text as I was taking these little glides down the gums down to get down a fish early, early in the morning that I didn't have to race anymore, that she was just gonna sit and wait it out. So she did the, what you're supposed to do, the kind of the honor code thing, which we all know to do. And that was the very kind of her, I caught up with her and fish. I was a couple of K behind her at that point and sign the board and, and then a nice hug. And yeah, I think that was a very good decision that she made.
And I said, it was, it didn't get any better. Got rowdy. And so, yeah, she had a great race hats off to her and everybody else, but yeah, that's, that's what happened to Lauri and to Cody, I don't know, you know, Theo certainly had a really bad day when he got the debt dose. She'd hit the airspace the day before, maybe the same day. And so that was going to hit him hard with the 48 hour penalty, but he also stayed stationary for a long time. I think also the weather was terrible where he was even worse than it was for some others.
And so I'm not sure if it was just a weather thing or if he was just over it as well and never got the app. The about that Livia asks, I would like to hear more the breakdown of the incidence, the reserve throughout the power lines. Yes. And I've just covered that with, with Laurie, some of the other, and then I don't, yeah. I don't actually know more about those. I could certainly comment on mine, you know, and we'll do here in just a little bit, David Stroud, it seemed like the race commentary was a bunch of happy talk within, Kriegel just mentioned a bit about it and how dangerous things were rotar and collapses.
Please link to where the real reporting was going on for the, was it the rebel X ops addicts? Yeah. Like I said, this is disappointing and I I've taken it up with some of the journalist's and, you know, cross country magazine had this thing, you know, red rebel X and Y unvarnished. And I was doing calls with him and the first few days and the race, but if it didn't really work that well, so I don't know if they kept that going. I know they did one with Tom to Darla dough as well. Tom, just put up a podcast on Red Bull adventure, about 30 minutes.
Then I listened to yesterday. That was great. It kinda had audio from most of the days of his race. So you can get some more from that. But the best commentary honestly was from everybody's Instagram. And some people do that a lot like Paul and Griego and myself and Tom and some others Manu, no, he had, he had some videos on there landing backwards and a lot of wind, a lot of Bollywood and stuff. So that's the best place I have critiqued this and talked to the race organization. Many times I find most of the reporting to be pretty puff PC type stuff.
That's centered on the sponsor's and not on what's really going on. And I can say that now because I'm not doing it again. But yeah, I think a lot of the reporting frankly, is pretty weak and certainly could be a lot better and a lot more real then that's, that's a bummer. What about the training? The Kriegel does prepare for this race fly's and high wind. Does anyone else do that? Yes. I certainly do a lot of it. I know many of the others do a ton of it. He's obviously the best and he's, he was the one that introduced all that, you know, flying behind cornices to find out how much when you can actually fly in.
And the Lea you know, like Kelly free and talks about his book, anything over 15 K an hour. And the Lee is way too rowdy. Well, I can promise you that we're flying very often in 50 K an hour and Lee, it's not recommended. It's absolutely gnarly. It's incredibly dangerous, but it's what many of us had to do, or if not, all of us had to do over and over and over again. So I think many train for it. And, and, but sometimes you just have to stick your nose and, and see how it goes.
It can be pretty scary. Any thoughts on official wind speed limits? I mean, to me, 30 K an hour, and the mountains is still really top end and incredibly dangerous. And, and this race we were flying and way more than that on almost every day. So there you go. I don't, you know, it's hang lighter speeds. It's hang glider wins and we're doing it on paragliders is the safe now. And it's not landing on road. It's really, this is okay. Sort of taken as normal.
Yeah. We all land on roads. You know, there were S there's video of me kind of crashing into a little small tree and people asked why I didn't land on the road. Wait, you can see from the video until that moment, it had been really busy and there was no shoulder whatsoever. And then there's train tracks and power lines on one side. And so I just chose what I felt like was the safer option of landing in these trees. And there was a little bit of grass and it wasn't too bad the way I did it, maybe I think I could've helicoptered. And they're better just by, you know, doing really controlled deep stalls and really almost fly back in and letting the wings snap back into position, which the climber does incredibly well.
You can almost just take it straight down like a helicopter, but I chose the way I did and it worked out, but it could have been certainly worse spun it because I had to rip for just nodded a tree caught that and then land. And so, but very often I landed on roads four or five times in this race. And, you know, you just have to judge that from the air many, many, many times that's literally to get two or 304 meters. And that kind of risk is, you know, I actually crashed pretty hard coming into fish.
I mean, I didn't make it in the future, but a couple of the few case, short of fish, literally I had a huge field that I could have landed in and I was trying to get another 200 meters and, and ended up coming and pretty hard on my, but on a rock then I didn't see trying to clear this fence. My whole swoop thing didn't work as well as I did. And I kind of stalled the winner at Brian land and, and that kind of risk is I was really hard on myself about that. That's just unnecessary. So I think oftentimes it's literally just because there's nowhere else to put it in or you've just passed up and pretty decent launch or sorry, LZ, and you just want the extra distance.
I mean, everything we can do in the sky is easier. So sometimes yeah, I think it's pretty, pretty silly. What about the great dividing point then as I vaguely recall, I don't seem to be able to use the way back machine to go to the previous day on live tracking, Mauer, Pino, Patrick Kanal, and outers. And while we're all very close in front and then malware just blew them away by taking a different route to the north, you had had some pretty funny thoughts on this. Although I wasn't able to confirm this with Kriegel. So the day David's has talking about it and it was day seven, Maxine was the head about 20 Kay, but they both landed nearby this almost the same spot.
And obviously Maxine landed first. And the huge question is why would you take a different line when you're literally and Kriegel backyard? And you know, that he's capable of making huge magic moves. I asked the guys at Cortel this cause they caught up with me when I flew over Solange on getting around Mont Blanc. And, you know, I just said, you know, did he just fake them out? Did he do what Kriegel often does, which is, you know, probably kind of walk slowly and let Maxine go because he knew Maxine would and Maxine had it up to the simple and, and Kriegel stayed north stay in the room.
And the next day it just had that massive breakout flight. So on that strong south Ferndale. So, you know, if it's Salford and you know, the weather, it's going to be a strong, better and the north, but it's also going to be pretty rowdy. And he stayed on the north side, which is going to give him the best chance. And you're not totally an, the leave of course, snap on the south side, but had a huge day. And why didn't the others do that? I, you know, obviously everybody's looking at their own weather stuff and you know, it's, it's all a gamble in some ways it's a coin to us.
And I'm sure the thought there was that if you're, if you could stay on the south side, you're going to be in a better place to make distance more safely. But of course you're going to have lower base and maybe more rain and that kind of thing. And that's exactly what those guys got. They get a level of wind, it was pretty and launchable, and most of the walked and, and creedal had the huge day, you know, I think in retrospect, I'm sure Maxine wondering why he didn't follow Google, just wait, slow down. It's just not in our DNA. You know, you hit the ground, you pack up fast and you start moving and I'm sure Maxine thought that he could make a better move there, but yeah, I'm sure he'll be kicking himself for years on that one.
I think that this race enforced yet again, you know, the talk at the beginning is always, is this going to be the year the Kriegel gets taken down? Certainly this was closer than any. I mean, he's never been in under this kind of pressure. He's always gotten out in front, stays there all race. This one was really tight until that day. And in fact, most of the time he wasn't even in the lead. And so, you know, but you know, he's gonna make a magic move and he wants to get improved at and T for him to get in there. And nine days just absurd or any of those guys, all the top five that made it just unbelievable performances and hats off to them.
And it's incredible. I had the weather that we were battling was unbelievable and that those guys made it. It's just so many. And it's so epic Terry Hanson, what are the athlete's think of? Not anything and Monaco. And do you think the future of the race will also not end there? Definitely. I think the future of the race will not end there and that's been a real pain for the organization. It sucks for the athletes. It is neat to get to the sea. Luckily I did it in 2015, but I got the, see what that was like, you know, the principal, the race was always to cross the entire out Alps.
And so we lost that and I know that's definitely disappointing to the rookies. Definitely disappointing to anyone you'd never got there for sure. But as I've said, many times Monica does suck. It's incredibly hot. It's incredibly dangerous down there and spend, and that's when you are really tired and the race is just brutal. And so I think for everyone who has gotten there, this was really hugely refreshing change and much safer. There's no fans down and it's really hard for the race organization because the roads are tough down there.
They always had a very hard time getting permission and nobody cared in Monaco. That's more an F1 thing and big boats and big money. So nobody cared that the, the XL apps and did down there. So I definitely don't think that that's going to be the future. I think the future will be more like the race we saw this year and it was awesome. It was, it was great to do that. It was awesome to have an out and back. It was great to not have to be constantly battling headwinds. I really do.
And I think it's, I think it's pretty exciting. I know, I know that there was some disappointment, especially among the rookies that weren't go to Monica, cause that's kind of what it's all about. But in the end, I think for the most part, everybody really enjoys joy and the enjoy the change and you read, well, the thing I'd like to know is why the reporting consistently ignores the support team. Every competitor will tell you how important their team is. And yet you're, after a year, the support teams are totally overlooked. They all had incredible stories to tell, but rebel just wants films or the pilots or the not interested in the human interest side of it.
Can't comment on that. I wasn't able to put that question two, the reporting teams. I know it's certainly something that everybody thinks about. And certainly, and you know, they, I have seen stories about, you know, how important the support teams are, but they don't you're right. They don't do a ton of reporting on it. I think a lot of it's just bandwidth to, to put it, you know, I it's just, I asked tarp one, for example, afterwards, you know, why wasn't this report on that report on?
And they just, there's not enough people, there's not enough, but yeah. To do it, you know, like it could be done. I'm sure that, you know, and they try to do the best they can, they have video teams and then the green teams all over the place. But in the day, it's really hard to keep up with the teams and their moving and sanely fast, faster, and faster and every race and, you know, I'm sure of it. A lot of it's just, you know, what can we cover? What can't we, again, a lot of the reporting has to keep going back to the sponsors. Like that's really unfortunate, but yeah, that's a big hole for sure.
Yeah. Yeah. And hopefully that the race race will listen to this and, and maybe that will be a bigger thing. And the future of the, the, the support teams are just insanely critical. You know, we have a blast. I can't imagine doing this without the team that I have. And in fact, I wouldn't, and, and many times more fascinating what's going on there and then what's going on with the athlete. So you're, you're totally right. I don't have a good answer for you. And Thomas related question, would you consider being a supporter for another pilot you're knowledge and experiences is really invaluable.
What do you think about the new format and could it be improved for 2023 by the new format? I'm sure he's talking about the, the, the course, I think the course is great, and that was a huge, refreshing comment on that, but I love it. I I've always hated Monaco. How could it be improved and just provide a whole bunch of feed back to the race organization? I think the one major thing is just to extend the rest period, at least a half an hour. I think it is truly dangerous how little sleep we get and these days with very rare exception, you know, I think twice in the race, we shut it down early the night before, just cause we were in position to be on a perfect launch at 6:00 AM the next morning, which is when we're allowed to fly.
You're allowed to move between five and eight and 30 at night. And you're allowed to fly between 6:00 AM and 9:00 PM. And then, and it just didn't make any sense to keep walking because then I would be in a valley or something at 6:00 AM. So, you know, we, we tried every day to have a flight somewhere around six or seven o'clock in the morning to get, to get a glide, get six to 10 or 12 K or hopefully if it was katabatic and we've got really lucky, you could get more than that, but that was just the style that we wanted to do the style that most of the teams and I did this massive study of Avery of the last few races this whole winter, and most of the really exceptional teams and the top 10 are all flying once in the morning, at least before the big part of the day.
And then again in the evening, you know, the kind of last little flight between eight and 9:00 PM. And so we really tried to emulate that for the most part at work. Sometimes it was a big wind. Sometimes it was, would have been better and just to walk, but I think it's an important to do. And so those are the twice I think, and the race we shut down before 10 30, but otherwise, because we we're in position like that, but otherwise it was start at five, go to 10 30 as the, especially the teams at the front did.
So if you lengthen that rest period a half an hour, I just think it'd be a lot safer. Other than that, you know, there's a lot of things that they could do that I think would make it more entertaining, like having the stage race, that kind of thing more like the tour de France. But, you know, as I mentioned earlier, there's, there's challenges with that and I'm not sure that's going to really happen. Would I be a support for another pilot? I would, of course, I'm going to support, I was planning a sporting band for the Owens thing. The Logan was running, although, and her, these just canceled that for lack of interest, if Ben, or if Ben ever decided to do something like the exterior, I would support him that my hesitancy is that I wouldn't be great.
I wouldn't be like Revis or Ben or the other members of my team just because I'm, I'm not really technical. And so I'm not very good at the computer and the weather stuff like rabbit. Yeah. And I'm not very just military in terms of diligence and organization. Ben is, I mean, I'm up at four 40 in the morning. I have a quick bite and eat that Revis has made me and I grabbed my stuff and I go, and all my instruments are on. They'd been charged on night and my watch has been charged my instrument. Everything's ready to roll and then is doing that on no sleep.
And he gets those guys to get less sleep and I do. And so I'm just not very pedantic and not very thorough. It's not my personality. So I'd have to really work at that. I think my experience would be helpful, but from the pilot side, and those are skills that, you know, the are very easy to pass along and then the person I be supporting as to have those skills engrained and have them anyway. So I'm not sure I'd be great at it. But of course, if somebody asked me, I would, but only my team it's, it's, it's an insanely hard endeavor.
It's very, very time consuming. There's a particular style that Team USA has that I would want to have. And so I would certainly wouldn't take it lightly, but I would consider it for, for someone who has supported me, of course, then Netherfield asked, did you find it hard to switch on and off at the end of the day and actually get rest or something's playing around in your head, especially once the fatigue set in? Yeah. I had a hard time sleeping the rest of the first few days. I used things to help with that. Nothing like Ambien, but you know, various supplements.
I use the stuff from Onnit called new mood. And if he's finished that Revis would give me and I used melatonin and just things to kind of quiet down for the first few days special day to day is your kind of, err, sorry, the night number two, cause you are not the nightmare it for the race. But the second one, I try to bank as much sleep as I can. And the weeks before the race and that might just be lying down, you know, they've proved that you don't necessarily need to sleep, but just wind down and relaxing meditating. I do that as much as I possibly can before the race starts and I've sailed around the world a couple of times.
So I'm pretty good at sleep deprivation, this whole race. Usually those guys have to like shake me awake and this whole race, you know, they wake up and 10 minutes later I'd be up and out of bed working on my feet, having some food and be ready to roll. I was just excited and I was excited. I was stoked. That was, I was really excited to catch up and just keep grinding. And I was kind of in it the whole time. So I don't think I had too much trouble with that. Yeah, it is an issue after day five or six. I mean, and then I have dinner.
I would just fall asleep in my bed. In fact, well, one of the questions here that we're going to get to is one of the funniest things that happened in one of those was I fell asleep when those, when Travis was making dinner and this was one of the times where we were able to shut it down early because we were in a good position for the next day. And, and Revis kind of shook me awake. He said, okay, it's time to go again. And I thought it was the morning and they were just playing a joke on me and, and, you know, had slept for 20 minutes. And I thought it was more than that. Oh man, really? Geez, that didn't seem like a really long sleep.
And I kind of rustled out of bed to get going again. And they were just cracking up here. But if you have a beer dinners ready after a while you get so exhausted, it's pretty easy to sleep. I actually had really good rest of this one next question from Ben having had the crash, not long prior to the race, when coupled with some brain fog, did you notice any moments or days of decision-making were a bit had happened hazard? Yes. The several times in this race, I literally got completely lost in the air and that was just totally brain fog.
You never feel it. You feel like you're okay. But there were a few times in the race where Ben actually asked me, you know, Hey man, how are you doing? And then fine, what's going on? And he would say, yeah, you don't, you seem pretty spaced out. And there was the day probably the best, the most fun I had and the race was we were in the valley behind Larry moose. It's where Firebird used to be. And Robbie little used to have Firebird and it's supposedly the hardest, most difficult sketchiest place to find the Alps.
I can't remember the name of that valley. It's the one that leads up to the Wharf pass. We were between the and Santa is turn points. And we had had this really cool flight the night before off the castle. I'm sure many or all of you saw that the light insane was so cool and had the S 71, 2, 1 glide down in the valleys, completely dark S lightly reining and his epic glide on the valley made a 1520 K and then hiked the rest of that night. And then the next morning was got caught up with, oh, actually I had a glide in the morning and then I got caught up with Addie, the photographer and Robert bloom, who is the current German FAI world champion, or sorry, German champion for FDI.
And I'm really, really, really good pilot. And I knew who he was and they caught up with me and you know, we're not allowed to team fly at all, but were allowed to fly with the wreck creational violets. And it was just to be in a place. And I didn't know at all with the German champion and ad use and a really good pilot, you know, we hiked up to this, the launch and I just said, Robert, I'm following you. You know? And he basically told me and be up to the Wharf pass and we weren't able to get over it in the cloud base was to low. And I came into this Ridge with a bunch of wind with just slightly less hide the Navy.
He was able to kind of dig out and I wasn't landed. He came down, landed with me and we raced up to the past. And so we flew, I don't know that 25 K, but it was insane to just be able to unload my brain and follows. And then suddenly I was climbing really well and everything was clicking and I was keeping up and we were just having a blast. And then we were hiking up to the past and I thought I was gonna get the fly with him this next section, which is really difficult down to Feld Kirk down to this big gap that you've got to make across the flats over too, the Santas rich.
And he just, and he said, oh, I'm sorry, I just got the call from Addie. I'm going to have to switch to Marcus. I'm going to have to leave you. And I should've just said, dude, I'll pay a thousand bucks stay, but shoot. And so he came in to the race band and showed Revis, you know, exactly what I needed to do to get through this next section, which was really complicated and a bunch of different moves. Okay. And now ground this corner, try and get some try and get a league climb. And there was no sun, but try to get a leak line and then cross the valley across to the scarier top land and hike over at the top.
There's a hot up there. Keep flying, you know, keep going down to, I can't remember. I can't remember the name of the town, but anyway, the towards, towards Santas and, and we mapped it all out and we put it in my phone and I took off and I got this cool climb, exactly reset. I would. And, and I just kept flying down that same valley, looking at my instrument, going, why is it telling me to go over? And I don't understand it. I just, nothing in the sky made sense. And I totally blew it and ended up slope planning and climate and other 1500 meters up in the clouds and flew again and land it.
And I mean, it took me three flights to get out of there when it should've taken me one then maybe. And, but who knows, it's hard to say and revenue really thought it and ended up working out pretty as well. But I just got completely lost, just totally the blue it. And that happened several times where I do. And I just couldn't read my phone and yeah, pretty funny. And so, yeah, there was, there's a, stuff's pretty interesting some of the day. And if we was been pretty haphazard, what was the funniest moment human team had together?
If there was two, a one in the last days when I was rounding, Mont Blanc had this very special flight across the launch and Passy and total darkness, it was not from dark, from being dark at night, but just no sun. And you just kept finding these cool convergence lines and milk and every little bit of lift. And then it did one of these where I had very easy listening and, or I could fly another 200 meters into this kind of understandable canyon flew back in there. Of course, as we did.
And there's little, tiny feels huge trees. And I've just had to arch it up on a wing tip and come in with a ton of energy thought. I had the camera on it, had it off. And so when, when, and I turn it on and just as a couple of horses approached me and you've gotta watch the film and it's after the credits, this is a little seven minute film. We'll put up here very shortly and it'll crack you up. I'm not real big fan horses. And they were really a big fan of me and the other ones, when I just told you, they woke me up in what I thought was beautiful, four 40 in the morning to get going.
And it was just because I'd fall asleep while Revis was making dinner. But we had a lot of very funny, funny moments. And most of them, I can't repeat on the podcast because they all had a lot of language, not a brief funny stuff, but it was, we had a blast a to Z, it was always fun. Those guys are really good at laughing at me and making fun of me. And that keeps everything pretty light. So yeah, it was, and it was great Stanislav ass. Is it still fun? Or when I went to the same day, the only professional teams with the huge number of people behind them can compete.
In other words, it's fun that the teams are getting so professional with so many supporters. I love following it, but it seems like even more ridiculously hard and impossible. And then before that last bit is totally true. I think the top 10 least teams and not more are insanely good, insanely fast. It's just a totally different game. And it was then my first year in 2015, I keep saying this every time, but you know, we'll get to ask the question here shortly that covers some of this too.
Most of the top 10 pilots are all professional pilots. That's all they do their test pilots. They easily over 300 hours a year. Somebody like Patrick is 500. Yeah. It's still a blast. It's still an amazing adventure. I still love it. This was very clearly going to be the last, even before this one's started, I just did my age and the amount of training I have to do. It's ridiculous. And even when I did all that, I had a really hard time hanging with those guys in those teams.
And so, yeah. Think about that long and hard before you apply to the XL. I think, you know, those of us that are on the other side of the pond where the massive disadvantage, just unless you spend so much time over there and training as I have and my dead before the 2015 race, but it's still nothing compared to those guys and those teams. And so it's still a blast. It's still the craziest adventure in the world. And you still, the grace brings you to the most amazing places and you find yourself doing the most incredible and at times stupid things, but it's magnificent.
It's the most fun I know how to have. And then if you have a good team, like, like we do, it's a blast, but yes, it is ridiculous. Trey ass, Trey, hackneyed and friend Meiomi. And I'd like to hear some stories about your top highlights on the flip side, some scary moments from the most challenging situations flying outside of the standard reasonable conditions, what that was like, and the physical reality and managing the glider wind conditions are pushing all the limits. And then I talked about this a little bit, but top highlights for sure, a, the flights I got these little, really cool flights between the Arkansas turn point and the Kimsey turn point.
And let's see the letter moose turn point when it just looked totally unflappable Luka. And I had this crazy flight out of the clouds, leaving the Kimsey and then, you know, just, just went hundreds and hundreds of meters where you couldn't see very much. And, and then we both popped out and followed each other on this Ridge line. It's just beautiful. It just shouldn't be working, but it was. And then the next flight, I didn't let the sun come out long enough and made it across the end valley landed and a bunch of wind.
And then Luca flew over my head and then a really big day. And I ended up having the hike up to a launch with Ben and, and then kind of making it work. I mean, I lost a couple hours on Luka there, but we're a lot of people are on the ground and fighting a ton of wind. You know, I was able to piece together these kind of short, really cool, very fun flights through the lakes in the Northern Bavarian Alps and make made a lot of ground that day on Nick. Cause he and I were both kind of on the ax on the chopping block for the next elimination in the next morning.
So that kinda, that gave me some breathing room. And then another huge highlight was landing on that snowfield, which is on the film on that proper south Vern day. And, and luckily the snow wasn't ice thermic and it was just beautiful. It was amazing up there was scary, but really cool. And then two huge highlights. One was the big day leaving fish and when OGI bombed out and I just made massive distance that day and the weirdest just had a massive tailwind, which I had never seen it in the room and you never get east winds there.
And just the flying was, you know, flying over. And I was proper in the big Alps. They're flying over glaciers in frozen lakes and flying and a ton of wind, but it was working. And I just, that was one of those days where I was screaming and my quiet and yeah, we got this and, you know, just massive air, huge air. And, you know, I don't think I had much more than tip collapses that dad, which is, you know, just felt like I was really on it using a ton of BARR, my wing and I, and we're one, I know how to, I just would never fly like that on any, I just be no point to go out on a day like that.
And, but it ended up being the timing was on a slow plan and high before a rain storm. There was luckily this little Cal thing I could tip over my head and stay dry during the race storm and then got another flight after that and land and near this cheese shop and bought some cheese and some sausage off on when it just unleashed huge Haile and mudslides. And I was able to kind of hide under their roof and eat cheese and eat sausage and then get another cup of flights that night. Some of that's in the film, crazy clouds and made up a bunch of distance got way ahead.
OGI so I didn't have to worry about being eliminated anymore. Made of a bunch of ground on Theo actually made a bunch of ground and everybody that day. So that was, that was very, very special. And then the last really special one was two flights going around my block and this combines with the scary part of it. Actually the dental coach day, none of this was on film, unfortunately, butt launched one day. And we were just trying to do these little valley, these little kind of Ridge Ridge crossing's. And there was really strong headwind, but if you kept your head down, you can stand underneath this blue and 50 K an hour.
And just above my head. And every time you get to a coal or something, it was just, Jesus is on fly, was the scary, and we'd go down there and get underneath it a little bit and go, that's going be Harry, but I think we can do it. And I took off, I sat there with Ben for about 20 minutes and, you know, there were, the times were swirling. There were times when she was really strong down and we were just very clearly just totally in the rotor, but there were times where it seemed manageable and I waited for it to, you know, get some kind of up-slope wind launched immediately 20 feet off the ground, lost over half the glider and just immediately spun me right in towards the hill and looking at Ben just thought, okay, I'm dead and spun the glider hard the other way and landed and a nice soft grass.
Luckily I didn't had any rocks. The glider came down hard, packed away and walked and walk to the, the next Ridge and then flew again, same kind of conditions. I mean, it was true, you know, Ben said he is and they didn't even go up. I kind of went around the corner, so he didn't see anywhere Eliana. And he thought, well, he's either dead, but he's not screaming. And so he's either dead or he's okay. He's probably okay. Cause you usually are in this race. So I mean, it's just weird. It's just unreasonable. And then, then that night had the great flight across the launch, into the valley.
And then the next day epic hike with Ben up into the past, you know, we were skiing on our feet and blowing and then so hard. It was just, this is totally unreasonable. And, but I got kind of around, away from the wind again, launching and total Roeder and just to save myself 20 K to fly from one coal to the next day. And you know, as rowdy as it gets this in the film, some of this in the launch was at least been caught on film and, you know, had a really scary 20 K flight over this big deep valley across to this next Kohl.
And there were people there in the cold or the hikers. This was the day that was really strong, Northern and, and cleared the coal 300 feet and literally went 300 feet straight to the ground. Just 10 down, 12 down glider was flying. It wasn't parachute it'll, but I had no control of it. And right before I hit the ground, the only thing I was trying to do was land and the snow there's all this snow. And then there was rocks and dirt and I couldn't get it on the snow. I landed about three feet off the edge of the snow in the dirt. And I thought, oh my God, I'm gonna break my legs.
And it was the softest ground. It was just totally soft mud. And as soon as I landed the wind, the link just ripped out of my hands and it was blowing 50 miles an hour and a day and was able to pull it in and just sit there for a second. God, geez. I mean, how many times are you going to keep doing it and walked over to another Kohl and walked out down a little bit, got out of the wind and judged it to just be on flyable, sat there for an hour.
And then Revis suggested that I get, I keep moving around and get away from the road or more. He thought it'd be potentially flyable. He was reporting some pretty scary conditions down in the valleys, but thought that the uppers would be OK and launched and maybe the strongest ones I've ever launched in and, and just got plucked and went straight up and flew 50 or 60 K in lovely the air. It was, you know, rowdy and very strong, but I could just, again, I could plant myself onto these west facing slopes that also had sun on them and just, and get to where I couldn't hang anymore and go out to the next one.
And that worked until I got the one place that was kind of sticky slope landed, walked over a little cold, was a hundred meters of climbing relaunched. At this point, the wind was really easing off and flew another, I don't know, 40 K or so, and got to where the value right before the MCIC Naga valley. So right underneath Monterosa I had cleared, ah, the matter Horne and everything was going really well. I picked off at that point and Michael and cause they had taken different routes and Michael was kind of stuck at that point.
And he was to see if, I don't know, I never get to talk to him and I'm not sure what was happening, but he wasn't really moving. And a and the next valley who had had this big cell blow up in it, so it had no son. And the Cloudbase was way below where I was, I was about 3,200 at the top of the peaks and I could easily log into their, and I briefly discuss with reference if I should fly down and then they Austin and instead, and avoid the valley. But we had the airspace to deal with they're and anyway, the logged in to the, the valley before MOC, Naga and predictably, because that had been cloudy for, I don't know how long, but at least as long as I had been able to see it over an hour, there was no thermals and no wind, so nothing I could surf.
And so I slowly on and really quick and then did the calculation really quick. And they did as well and said, Hey, if you book it, you can get up there about eight 40 and get one last final glide into the NOC Naga valley. And you'll be up there at 2,500 meters and you'll get a nice glide, got out to the top, were other athletes who had been, and it was totally isothermal, deep snow, and there was no wind at all. And so that my first two attempts to the foreword failed and a, and then I plucked and line on one on the rock and was just scrambling to get off.
It's like, God, I gotta go. I gotta go. I've got to go and find the did 10 minutes before the cut-off and Revis called and said, you need a two, one, or you got to get on the ground. And I was getting this epic glide, you know, way beyond pulley to pull you just full bar, as fast as I could fly and pulled up my maps. And it's been my dream to stay at a refuge, a hut high. And one of these, and I read the maps that this, I can see this kind of Hutt and this building off to my left on top of this Ridge line. And it looked like I could make it.
And I said, Hey, I'm going to go to this. I'm going to go to this Hutt. And he said, great. And the hub was actually below me down in the bottom of the valley. And so I did this fly on the wall killer slope landing in this little toony, tiny field below the Hutt and landed and looked at my maps and realized that that wasn't hot. It was just an abandoned building. The Haute was down below and had already blown the opportunity to just spiral down. And so the sole crushing it. I had to walk down 1500 feet. It wasn't a big deal, but you know, I basically walked down and spent the night to the band and then walk back to the exact same place and flew the next morning.
So that was the only problem in and otherwise really, really epic day. So yeah, lots of highlights. You have them every day and lots of big downers and a lot of really scary ones for sure. And then, you know, the beginning of the race of course was not scary. It was just that didn't really work. How common were collapses. I heard from many others that they had a lot even Kriegel I flew the climber to P it's an epic wing. I didn't have many. And for the most part, and I had the won on that launch and which ended up in the crash that went well.
But other than that in the air, you know, and then really ratty conditions and I don't remember ever and losing the way and actually it was its its an amazing way. Yeah. And the situations you might not get out of that you might need to throw several definitely had looked at the reserve handle many times this race, but luckily we never did. And a but the worst was that one and the coal, when the clearing mop block, that was definitely pretty dicey and I'm not sure the reserve would have helped. In fact it would have been really scary because the wind was so vicious on the ground.
I would've gotten total over the place, not having to cut. It would be cool to hear more and learn secondhand about the reality of flying and fully extreme conditions like this year presented with such high wind. Hopefully I've covered that. Any valuable lessons or insight you learned this time around about flying strong rotor. Yeah. And I don't know that the city needs to be shared necessarily, but you can fly and a lot more when then you think you can match and you're taking a lot of risks. And one thing I learned from Wil on the Rockies traverses course, the safest place to be as write up in the train line, right on the terrain, write behind the rotor, which is what Griegos learn flying and the cornices and stuff.
So yeah, you gotta be right on the train and that's scary. And so very often pushing into the Lea is pretty hardcore and you take a much hit and you'd get, and these huge flushes and you just gotta stick with it and keep going. And then of course you're going to be tighter on the terrain. So I'm just not sure it's reasonable, you know, and I'm not sure that kinda risk is, you know, and it's definitely not worth it if something happens, but it's, you can handle way more than I thought you can.
And, but I certainly don't look forward to it gunner free sass. What's the biggest take-away from the race. What did you learn? God, I learned the way it could be stupid. I, the risk is too much and that was, I had known and that from previous events and I don't know if that's changed cause I have a daughter and family now, but like, we'll get as experienced. We're gonna get the oil and gas question, which is the final one here, the next. But you know, he, he felt like the race was just too much.
It, it, it pushes the envelope too much beyond what should be comfortable in. That's certainly true and this and this one and the 21 race and it's too much. And it's certainly beyond what is reasonable for me. Certainly they seem like that was the case for many others, even Kriegel on that flight. You know, I know many the athletes I spoke to were pretty excited about doing it again. This for me, was it. And that's more my age.
I just, you know, OGeez sanely inspiring God one and want to do it. But you know, I learned in this one, I think of course, you know, there are people that I've beaten in the past that I think I could still be competitive with. If things had just rolled a different way for us, I'm not sure that the 17th is really where, you know, the preparation in the training and stuff puts us. It just, but this is crazy race. Things happened good and bad. And so that's where we ended up, which was, I didn't really care about honestly.
And that was, you know, when we went into this race, the goal was to just stick with the process and have a lot of fun and be safe. And I'm not sure that third one was, and I'm not sure we held to that. You know, I know I scared my team several times and there were some couple of things I did that were just flat out stupid, the good. And then I kind of did and the brain fog that could have been really weird the way worse and, and I'm just not sure I've got the youth and then, and the reaction time and the, to deal with that stuff and safely.
And I don't think that I don't think the training, the thing that I did, the training that I do, I don't, I know that, you know, some people can get it out and get away with doing a lot less. Yeah. But you know, I like being able to do 50,000 the meters in 12 days, which is what I did, you know, that's six times up Everest. I, you know, I know that I'm not as good a pilot and I know, I don't know the Alps nearly as well as most of the teams do. And so I've got to make up for it and other ways, and to do that just requires an insane amount of time and hats off to Ben my support and, and Bruzzo, who's trained me and awesome and my support and all the races, his trainings incredible.
He also trained in Duardo who had an amazing race, who also felt better at the end of the end. And then he didn't really beginning and, you know, hopefully we'll see him do it and again, but yeah, so had to have to be, and for the training, but it's just become too unreasonable. Just requires too much time. Hope that answers. What did I learn will get really enjoy your emphasis on battling. Well, rather than, than just the results, the question almost every pilot at the top 10 has a full-time competition. The test sponsored pilot is a necessary to have test pilot 300 hours plus a year level skills to hit the podium in the X outs.
I'll tackle that one first. Yeah, I think it is in 2015, my first one you could make big mistakes and make huge comebacks. And it was a very different race. It was still a little bit more of an adventure then now, you know, I think Kriegel said after the prologue, that when he did the borders to fly this year, that there were five, six French pilots who applied to the X ops who didn't get in, you know, the French are that deep who would have beaten everybody, but the top three potentially, and, and Ben in the top three in the, in the prologue, in other words, you know, the prologue, we had great flying conditions and, you know, the, I think I was eighth and I was 20 minutes behind Kriegel and, and Maxine and, and Tommy, you know, for a very short race, you know, the tan guy and some of the, some of the guys that were in the sum of the teams that were in the, in the borders to fly are exceptionally better pilots.
Then many according to the Kriegel then many who were in the XL. So, I mean, I think the XL ops is definitely attracts some of the best pilots in the world, but there are many, especially in the French and Swiss who are, who don't even make the cut because they're so deep as nation's and this, and certainly the top 10 are totally professional and at a completely different level. And you know, those of us who are 49 are just never going to catch up, you know, I get 300 hours a year, but I'm never gonna catch up to, I'm never going to be the pilot that Maxime is and Kriegel is, and Patrick is, and Ben woah.
And then, you know, and then walk and do 100 K on the ground every day. And he he's always running and, you know, that's just unbelievable. And so, yeah, I think that this year we really saw in that top 10, you know, the skill level is, is remarkable. And if you don't live in Europe and you don't train in Europe and you know, race a ton on the racing is really important and you don't have that local knowledge of every little piece, or at least most of those little pieces of the course, you got a hard road to get in to the top 10 and, and it's nearly impossible.
And what I saw the launches, landings and lines flown, it should look like pilots better, be very comfortable operating way, way outside, normal flying conditions. Okay. With that, I think this year's tough conditions is really emphasized very specialized and high level skills are maybe not what you think. Yeah. And if I tapped on this and some of the other questions, obviously many of you saw that, and that's why you're asking about it. It's extraordinarily extreme. And what more can I say about it?
And I just, I think that every pilot in this race, you know, I mean, look at Cody, he's maybe our best acro pilot in the U S right now he's, you know, very regularly in the top 10 in the world, cups is very safe and, and capable, talented, hardworking pilot. And, you know, it was just the S the extreme of this was too much.
And I totally get it. And Laurie, same thing, you know, top 10 and the super final last year, she's an awesome pilot really knows how to race well, had an incredibly talented team, the same thing. And Michael Mitchie was her supporter. And one of the best in the world, you're going up against the best of the best and the conditions, I think really challenged everybody, even Kriegel and this one, and then I guess that's just not to be taken lightly.
And so I don't think it's reasonable to tackle something like this, unless you have a mindset of totally be willing to walk and not racing the others, unless you're totally professional pilot. And the other big one is that most of these guys that are certainly the top 10 are also doing all the other race. CRICO went from this one to five days later, competing in their Iger, which is had really bad weather, and you still want it.
So, you know, most of these teams are over there competing and hike and fly you round. You know, they're doing one after the other, after the other. And that experience really adds up.
Speaker 0 (1h 24m 56s): And I say, folks, I hope I answered those well enough. I'm still a bit of brain fog. Thank you all for your awesome questions. And you've got more, some more, I'll do what I can about answering the future shows. Thanks to everybody and hope you enjoyed the, the epic race and the big show and our efforts and hope you'll watch the film and take a look out for that. We'll post it up everywhere. It's a lot of fun, man. Then Horton shot all of it and except some of my POV. And he's, he's a real pro
Speaker 1 (1h 25m 27s): Is awesome. Having him on the team and handling
Speaker 0 (1h 25m 30s): A lot of the content this year. Thanks everybody. Appreciate it. See you on the next one.
Speaker 2 (1h 25m 44s): If
Speaker 0 (1h 25m 44s): You find the Cloudbase Mayhem valuable, you can support it in a lot of different ways. You can give us a rating on iTunes or Stitcher, or however you get your podcasts that goes a long ways and help spread the word. You can blog about it on your own website and our shared on social media. You can talk about it on the way up to launch with your pilot friends. I know a lot of interesting conversations have happened that way. And of course you can support us financially. This show does take a lot of time and a lot of editing, lot of storage and music and all kinds of behind the scenes costs. So if you can support us financially, all we've ever asked for is about the show.
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