Episode 175- Behind the scenes of the 22′ X-Pyr

Pierre reached goal in 3rd place in the X-Pyr 2022

Manu Bonte returns to the Mayhem to take us into the French team of Pierre Rémy. Pierre is of course one of the most accomplished competition pilots in the world (he’s currently ranked 6th in the WPRS) but this was his first foray into the craziness of hike and fly racing. The 2022 X-Pyr was substantially longer than any of the previous races with a big tweak to the route, and the weather this year was downright brutal. You had to be an animal on the ground, but it was in the air, and often in really scary air that we saw the true aviators make their moves. Manu was Pierre’s weather and route-strategy ace and not only did their team hold in up at the front for the entire race, Pierre was the only bird in the sky late on day 6 (when the forecast called for winds in excess of 70 km/hr) when he took a commanding lead. But once again Chrigel pulled his magic and nipped both Pierre and Maxime, who looked like he had the win in the bag right at the last moment. Manu’s description of that final day and what went down in the X-Pyr and how Chrigel continues to outflank the best in the world is absolutely gripping. Enjoy!

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Show Notes:

  • Manu recounts Pierre’s background
  • Manu discusses the extremes the top athletes are willing to fly in
  • We discuss Pierre’s “magic” move on day 6 to take the lead and one of Chrigel’s rare mistakes
  • Making your own decisions
  • The super-human ground game required
  • Manu discusses the team and the dynamics
  • Things they got right, things they got wrong
  • Luck vs skill
  • The gear- Niviuk Klimber 2P, Kortel Kolibri Pro
  • Are the X-Alps next?
  • The training required
  • Giving advice where you don’t pay the mistake yourself. The stress of the risk
  • Maintaining the position vs making risky moves. Strategy…
  • The Team’s philosophy.
  • The crazy last day where Chrigel won and how it went down

Mentioned in this episode:

Chrigel Maurer, Simon Oberauner, Maxime Pinot, XCSkies, Niviuk, Nick Neynens, Ben Abruzzo

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Speaker 1 (0s): Hi there everybody. Welcome to another episode of the Cloudbase Mayhem. My guest today is Manu Bonte legend in the sport, and he's been on the show before. This is the second one we've done with him, but I didn't know this. He was the weather router and want to supporters for peer Remi in the year. And he sent me a text right after the race. And I was, of course, walked glued to it for the week. Amazing race. And Pyr was actually out front going into the end and then a Chrigel and Maxine got them.

They made a couple really nice moves and of course Chrigel very crazy ending and Chrigel was able to beat Maxine against all the odds yet again. So I thought it'd be really fun to talk to a supporter. We usually, we talk to the athletes, but talk to a supporter and get their take on the philosophy and the risk and the, how it all comes together on this was peers, first hike and fly race. He's of course, very famous comp pilot, really big name in the sport, but this was his first foray into hike and fly in.

We got third and get some pretty tough competition. So he had a great race and obviously they had a great team. And so this is the story from kind of behind the scenes that you're going to really enjoy it. Cheers, Manu. Good to see you and have you on the show again, it's a wonderful to see your smiling face. Sounds like you guys had quite an adventure in the XPR. So we're going to be talking a lot about the race, but I thought, where would we should start, would be to talk about Pierre a little bit for those who don't follow comps, very much, you are listening to the show may not be familiar with PRME one of the more famous pilots in the world, but tell us about Pierre and then we'll get into, I want to talk to you about what it was like supporting it.

That's a, you know, it's something I'm going to do for the first time here in a month, over at the Dolan meaty, but yeah. Tell me about Pierre and then we'll get into your adventure.

Speaker 2 (2m 17s): Hey, Kevin, good to meet you again on Cloudbase Mayhem. So appear is for people that do not know him is, was a really classic comp champion. He won the FAI world in 2017 and PWC super-fine or in 2018. And starting from that moment, he started to pay attention to those type of competition, like XR Expedia, and he started to train.

So that was really 2018, really started to physically train, you know, for these type of com. Annie had, you know, the ambition to participate to the XP year, 2020, which was canceled due to COVID issues, you know, and here we are, he arrived in 2022 and the Expedia, he was physically really ready, but the team was, I would say kind of improvise, you know, he called me a few weeks before the comp asking me if I wanted to be support.

And then for the tours of gays, you know, it was pretty much the same. So we went there just to see, you know, a little bit, but yeah, finally we had a good adventure, good sensation. I know it was pretty fun.

Speaker 1 (3m 47s): Yeah. And I mean, I was watching the racy, I got up at four o'clock in the morning all week to watch it. It was, it was going on during our us national. So it was up early anyway, but he made some nice moves, you know, really, you know, the big day, day three, where all the leaders got way out in front and, and had some really nice flying. But the, the weather at the start was, was tough and he was fast on the ground as well. There was, those first couple of days were looked pretty miserable.

Speaker 2 (4m 16s): Yes. The two, two fails, they were pretty miserable and I believe Maxime did the best drop, you know, from the team, even if at the end of the second day, Chrigel managed to make a move. Yeah. But, but the choice of Maxim say a little bit better. And the, so there was the very first day we could fly and looking, looking at the weather forecast at that moment, we believe maybe it would be the only flying day of the comp, you know, but finally it happened that we had some other flying days.

Yeah. But everybody was like that day, we must be at the right place at the right moment. And we had a sub day, you know, a group of leader where we had mainly Maxime and Krieger and also they were together with Noah maybe and see Simon for sure. And so basically we have those leaders, you know, in the front and Pyr was a little bit behind and we made a frog focused and strategy.

And for us, it was clear that in the high-altitude w the, the GL was quite stable and too late, and it would be unstable in the lower layer earlier. So this is the reason why we did not follow them because we arrived a little bit later in Canon shoe. And my plan was to go on the east face, stay relatively low to benefit, you know, the instability we had.

And finally, PR I think it took us two hours before the other guys, when they made the fells late, then decline began and then the hide to wait for conditions to take off again. And at that moment, you know, Pierre was flying for a while. We had probably, I would say three, four, how was we were three, four, how was behind at that moment? And during the flight at one moment, we pass first and, and then they had a good line. And well, in the opinion, Montanez, we had only six kilometers.

You know, we were just six kilometers behind, but that was definitively a good move we did. And on my opinion, there, you know, in this type of competition, they had no choice because they wouldn't wait, you know, Treehouse to take off in the lower layers. So basically they went, they had to go ahead, and this is sometimes you're trapped like this, and we had the same situation, but reversed, we had to wait, you know, later on. And then they put with us again, you know, that was on day five, but in some moments, you know, you just need to do something because the athletes, they say, Hey, I'm not gonna wait.

And so of course, you know, you choose, you know, one option, but you know, that later on, you know, in another place would be better. And this is, that was perfect for us because we were late and we arrived exactly at the right moment to take off on the east face low and just took off and say claimed to arrive super high, but it was not in place. And they had to wait until basically, I would say we, we passed them. And then, you know, secretary, little bit lucky on that, because normally when they arrive, when you arrive from the routes that took, so he's a place where it is rather complicated.

And I really believed we would pass in front, but it worked very well for them. And so everybody was kind of surprised around Bronto how's it could pass, you know, the national park, but yeah, that's, that's the game, but finally the move was quite good for us. Yeah, for sure. The decision and the way PR put it, you know, in into reality was, was quite a good way, is that what's kind of tricky, you know, because we know that to pass from the east face, you know, to the co-writer, that would be kind of tricky.

And he was actually, there were two together, you know, to cross and finally one landed and pier managed to escape. So it was not, let's say crystal clear, it would be good, but he managed to do it. And then he was clearly in the front. So that was, that was the first move that was not too bad. And then, well then as the guys that had a good line, he was chasing them till the end. They were putting like a crazy reason and, and that was virtually impossible to catch up with them.

And I know he kept the distance, but he couldn't catch up with them. That was a very intense flying. Everybody was so motivated. And, and yeah. So I have something to say also about what happened in that flight, is that what, what Chrigel Simon and, and Maxime did, you know, from to go to the first point of the X, you know, like our bus is just amazing.

That's route. We hardly, I don't seeing, I mean, I know a little bit what happened in the Pyrenees, but maybe I make a mistake, but I don't think anybody ever reach for molded Arbus using that route setters went, you know, in the mountains, under underly side of little Hills, they were barely protected. And then they managed to catch them or, you know, to climb it the term or, and then push into the wind to pass in front of the mundane. They did that four time to reach a bus.

And for me, what they did was just from another one that probably one part of the XP I was so impressed with, with what makes him Chrigel on the same on a shift at, you know, in terms of choice of, of, of hood, which, you know, we know it's impossible. They didn't know it's impossible. So they did it, you know, basically. So, but you know, it open eyes, you know, and we were, we were just like, when I saw them, you know, for more go in direction of that south face, I just said, okay, so that, you know, it's never gonna work, you know, and then, you know, it worked for time.

So basically we learn, you know, we learn from those gums for sure.

Speaker 1 (10m 56s): I was going to ask, you know, because you live in the parentees and, and peer lives in the, in the Pyrenees, how I've always thought that with the XL ops, you know, the pilots who live in Europe, you know, have a, have a pretty clear advantage because they just, they know it's a complicated place and they know the different systems and the valley winds and everything. And it's, it's really important to have knowledge of a place. But when I look at the Pyrenees, it's, it's even in many ways, much more complicated, you know, the, the roads never go in the direction of the route.

And so the walking is, it looks really hard, but how important is it for the athletes to have knowledge of what the flying is like there and the Fern and all that? What do you, what do you think about that? Because it's, it is interesting that you said, you know, Simon and Chrigel, they're, they're doing these things that the locals would go nod at. You don't do

Speaker 2 (11m 52s): That. I, on one hand is good to know the place. On the other hand, when you know, it you're limited. So that's basically when you open with, when you get in a place with fresh eyes and you come with your experience from other places, basically, you know, like the, the famous day Chrigel to come from, that was on the, for, he took her from pig DMed in this conditions.

We never fly. Nobody flies, you know, in France. Like we, we aren't, we don't fly just, I mean, Pyr, doesn't fly in these conditions regularly. And what did Chrigel I looked at the track and that's an amazing understanding of what could be way flying. Okay. But when you learn paragliding in France, for the first thing you learn, you know, in the French Pyrenees, you don't fly when it selves. And then little by little, you learn that.

When does us, when is not too strong, then you can still do things. And maybe the best days that we are with light sales wind, but then, you know, when the wind is that strong, everybody stays home and take care of the tomatoes in his garden, you know, and basically he just amazed us, you know, they are, but that was just, you know, like a certain type of flying in very specific conditions. It's amazing it's Krieger, but what's, it did, you know, between more lucid and Arbus for me is something we could do, but we never do because we don't believe it might work in competition.

Is it goes that true with the, the strong feeling that it's the best thing to do. And actually it works. So that's, as I said, you know, on one hand, you know, you know, some stuff or regular conditions, but the winter conditions are not regular. Maybe the guys are able to invent something super special, but even in regular condition, because that day was regular condition Cybil to invent new routes that finally, you know, from the dogma we have, everybody has, you know, more or less dogma, you are not really ready in your mind to break the dogma and invent SIS type of solution to get from one place to another one.

Pretty much they stayed on the line, which was, you know, strategically. Well, when you, in terms of, out of lane in the perimeters, that was kind of shipper weird, and they stayed on the line, shorter slain, you know, from one point to another one. And finally they managed to shift, you know, the, the task to reach the goal. I mean, the place they wanted to reach and following this line was for me, at least, you know, or really amazing PR you did another word more classic and finally got to the place not so long.

I wouldn't say what say did was crazily efficient because finally at the end, pier got to Arbus chest a little bit after them. And , he had at least, you know, six kilometers, you know, behind. So I wouldn't say what we did was just a mega efficient. And then they put everybody, you know, back in the wind, but however it worked and that's already is quite amazing. This is basically my opinion.

Speaker 1 (15m 30s): I don't remember menu if it was day five or six, but I was watching. And pretty much that was the day that was supposed to be 70 kilometers an hour wind at the top of the peaks, really, really, really strong Southwest. And when I, I just got on and watched a few times and, and everyone was on the ground Maxime and Chrigel were quite close to one another. They had kind of taken a different route the night before, but they were pretty close to one, another hiking up in the Alpine.

And then the next time I refreshed Pyr was in the air and, and got way out in front of those guys. I mean, he just, and I was watching his speeds and they were fast, but they weren't too crazy. You know, I was seeing a lot of, you know, 55 K an hour or 60 K an hour. So it seemed like it wasn't too rowdy, but was that a scary flight? Was that because the forecast that day looked pretty unflappable, it looked really, really strong. And I would've thought it would have been pretty scary.

The nice thing is he had a little bit of tailwind and so, but he made a move there that that was, was incredible. And it looked to me like he was in a position that he could win the race. You know, that at the end, it was the very, at the end of the day, those guys didn't fly the, at the end of the day. And Pierre got, got quite a ways out ahead.

Speaker 2 (16m 53s): Yeah. That's that there was a pretty incredible discharge when there was the day before. In fact, that the day when Chrigel took her from, from, from piggy meaty, well peer also to curve and Maxim to curve, but Chrigel was the first to take off. And it was kind of hairy the, the thereafter, this is the day we did that special move. And I'm so surprised for me. It's just, you know, something, I don't understand how Chrigel did not see it for me.

It's maybe, you know, cricket doesn't make many mistakes, but I think that they did a mistake for sure. And, and for me, it was very sure it wouldn't be flyable around 3000 meter because the focus, as you say was 60, 70 kilometer per hour. And the situation for forecasting was not really comfortable because we had to France, you know, passing, you know, the first days it was very unstable, all the models, they were saying something different.

And we were spending our time to find a good model for, you know, the day X day, you know, have the good model. And I had to use three different models during the race. I didn't use the same model, you know, for the wind and the same other for the instability, because, you know, one model was better for instability, another one and it changed, you know, during the race. So that was really a hard work to be on the good model to make the forecast that day. I was pretty sure taking the route triggered, took it wouldn't fly.

And I was pretty sure going to we would fly. And I had absolutely no doubt about it because the day before the wind was stronger and one guy of the XPO he passed by, which was really late, you know, he passed by casserole and he flew. And I had also report, you know, from the schools in Castilian that the conditions were quite strong, but flyable, I would S I would say, not flyable for students of the school, but for, for athletes, you know, and this is basically one guy I seen, I don't remember his name, maybe a Spanish guy, or, but he took off, you know, in Castilian on, and he flew a beach, you know, indirection of surf gout, you know, to come back to France at the moment, you know, the leading the lead of the comp was going the other way.

You know, I was trying to go to, I would say Arbus and the guys are coming, you know, from back, you know, from pig committee. So basically I was pretty sure it would be flyable, but Sarah is a liter, very special phenomenon that happens in Castillo on is that when you have Southwest wind in capstone is Southeast, not for long, you know, as soon as you fly a little bit, then you are again in the Southwest flow, but in the lower layer, it was super clear in the algorithms that below 2000 meter, the wind was not too strong.

And we have also, I would say a wind wind central, you know, when weather station at 2,400 meter, you know, on top of . And I had the, you know, the history of that station, I was looking at the history and I know this weather station needs a Venturi. So when we have south wind, it always, you know, overrate, you know, the wind. And I knew it, it was flyable for pier, you know, the day before. And so that day, even, even more flyable because the wind was, was focused in weaker, but at 3000 meter, it was shipper strong, for sure.

And when I saw Krieger going in direction of , then I said, wow, that's our chance. You know? And at that moment, you're, it's always so complicated to take the decision because you have, Chrigel going one way, you have Maxime following another hood, but finally the same strategy. And you say to the guys, okay, we'll do something totally different. And then the guys are like, Hey, are you sure? But yeah, we did it, it worked.

And at the end of the day, we had a touchy tree kilometers. We were, I would say in the morning we were probably five hours or six, you know, behind Chrigel. And at the end of the day, we were up top to tricky tomato in front of him. And he worked crazy. I measured what he worked that was like from hell. You know, I think he made more than 4,000 meter, you know, positive and maybe 4,500 meter, you know, going down and, and we worked just 2000 meter.

So, and the number of key domain, not, not even mentioning the number of key kilometers. And at the end of the day, when Maxim was more or less catching up with him, I watch. And he was still climbing at 1000 meter. But how I enough after I was at long work, I was just like, what the machine, you know, and Pyr was so happy to do that. Totally, you know, flying and validated, you know, the staff. And we were so happy to have 33 kilometer to be 33 kilometer in the front, but I was pretty sure it wouldn't last much because there were slipping high.

The Southwest wind was quite strong. I freely believes they could take off early and, and flying our direction kind of far away, but I never imaging. They would get to toy the low is that high. You know, I really believe maybe the land, you know, the fruit of the lovey and maybe they have to work at 1,700 meter or, you know, to get to the takeoff. But actually that was crazy because Chrigel and Maxim say manage, you know, to saw the mundane, then there is a big value to pass is arrived on the maintains.

They managed to claim a little bit. And then if you look with the glide ratio of 12, you know, from that mundane, you arrive at the food and they arrived or most at the top, you know, and when the arrive at the place Pyr was finally, they couldn't climb. They had to land and work. So it was impossible for pier to take off early. If you would have taken off early, he would have bombed out and then you lose everything. You know? So basically I was kind of happy that he landed at the bottom of that mountain the day before.

So he had to work up the mundane because if he landed at the top, he would have say, okay, I go, I couldn't have get him here. So that was to have him, you know, work awhile, not to arrive too early on the top. And when you arrived there, you looked at the condition he say to me, yeah. You know, it's not too good for the moment. And we knew the guys already took us. They were riding. I said, okay, let's wait. And let's play with them. Anyways. If we, if we go alone, we just take the risk to Bomba out.

And any way that we catch up with us, you know, later. And it was also the problem of the city, the airspace of let's say, with your shell, you know, which makes you need to go in the back. So if you don't have a minimum of instability and you cannot go, my forecast was, the instability was, would be good around 10 30, 11. And in fact, they managed to escape at 10, but it was like documented before, but they manage, you know, to climb chest a little bit, playing the game, the tree together, so managed to do it.

One, one pilot alone. On my opinion, even at a 10 would have been super complicated to reach, you know, the mountain ranch in the back and keep on going pass by, you know, on the, and find that is a nailed, the turn point super early. It was, I don't remember 1230 or something like this. And that was a really amazing, you know, how has he managed to fly so fast between toy Roe and, and the cell dying

Speaker 1 (25m 15s): Knew? What was the, what were the different roles on your team? It sounds like you were in charge of the weather, but you said there was three supporters. Is that right? And how, how did you, because it sounded like the team came together kind of late and was improvised. You know, I know how much goes in. You know, there's a lot to do when you're supporting an athlete. How did you divvy it up? Who was doing what, and, and what would you maybe change if you had the opportunity to do it again?

Speaker 2 (25m 43s): What I would, well, the team was four people in total. We Pierre and three people, two guys, they were on the field with him. Okay. The two guys on the field say, well, quite strong, you know, in running and, and working in the mundane. So on the flat also one was more specialist of a flat and the other one is really comfortable, you know, in the Montaigne's claiming Montaigne's, you know, is quite strong.

And so basically they would switch, you know, all the time, but yeah, barely got alone, you know, to work. They were, you know, all the time, you know, supporting him on the field. And that was good for the month or of year to have one guy, you know, running with him almost all the time. My job initially was to provide a weather forecast in the morning and another one at night. But finally I was in front of my computer from 5:00 AM to midnight because the situation was so complicated.

So unstable that it was really important sometimes to update information during the day. And finally it happened that I was giving also, that was also in the deal at the beginning. I had to give my opinion on the strategy. So at the beginning I was just, you know, giving an overlook. And at the end, I was a little bit more, I mean, present, you know, in the strategy, but what we would change, I think in terms of team, we would just change nothing because that was X seven team Pierre was super ready, physically, the two guys on the fields, they did an incredible job.

That's a Nicola and a mature. And finally, I didn't do too bad on the strategic and the weather focusing. So we did quite a good job together. Maybe we could just, you know, like there was some communication problem, you know, localization program we should work on. And also, I just realized talking with some friends of mine, like on to NGR that they have developed four set of tools, you know, to figure out what is the best way to take, if it's flyable just glide down, or if it's not flyable, you need to work all the way, you know, blah, blah, blah.

And so this would have eased clearly my working load. And I really believe, you know, like we were absolutely not ready, you know, on Zs type of mother. And we have a huge progression on this, on this field, but, you know, basically at the end you just realize that every thing finally come sometimes just on luck, good luck, bad luck.

You know, maybe I don't think when we went to Castillo on, we had luck, I don't believe this, but probably when on day three, we decided to choose the east face. And the fact that Pyr managed to climb again, you know, on the co-writer, this was probably luck, you know, when Krieger and pier together is they cross the cell dine and they make a low save 80 meter for Pyr.

So CCS sometimes, you know, look and, you know, talent of course, you know, but sometimes you're grounded in decision. You're a little bit too much on the right and the left turn you're branded. And so basically this is it, the fact that, you know, at the end, you know, this AP conclusion we had, you know, with, you know, the tree guys, you know, what happened on the Kenny go and everything. So sometimes, you know, you put a lot of things, you know, together, and it relies more on being at the right place at the right moment.

And sometimes it's just a question of like, you know, sometimes you're late and you're right somewhere and it works. And so, and you know, that's, but in terms of improvement, we have a large room improvement on the tools. I believe the team itself was naturally ready and it works super well, you know, in the field. And they had a super good time together, then show it and me be behind my computer. I had also, you know, kind of fun. So we enjoyed, you know, the adventure.

There is also the point you mentioned before you asked me how important is it to know, you know, the mountain range, in fact, pier doesn't know very well. The whole Montaine ranch when he flies. He always fries from our valley. Of course, you know, a few weeks before the XPS, he flew 200 kilometers. You know, I say a triangle, you know, 200 kilometers in the Northwest of the Pyrenees, which was never done before, but he didn't do it with the, it did it with the X one, you know, and with this heavy harness with this Comcare, you know, so basically the place he knows very well is something like from our place 50 kilometer to the west, and let's say 100 kilometer to 80 kilometer up to the, by 50 to the Western.

And I would say something like 100 to the east, but he hardly flies in Spain, maybe had a comp you know, sometimes in Castillo, but that's, that was not really a place he knows, but something, he, maybe a room of improvement. I don't know. I should discuss this with him. Is fly more maybe with the specific gear use. I don't know, maybe this could help also, but he had very little flying time. Our time with this specific use, you know, for this company,

Speaker 1 (32m 12s): He flew the climber. I understand. And then what, what harness did he fly?

Speaker 2 (32m 16s): It was a specific harness from quarter a pro and as all this type of company.

Speaker 1 (32m 22s): Yeah. That's what I used in the last grace as well, clean your pro and then we'll do you think he'll he, does he have his eyes on the X outs? Will, will that be something he'll do in the future?

Speaker 2 (32m 34s): We have a meeting Monday to make kind of debrief of the adventure and discuss a little bit or this topic and see, you know, what else I know he loves the Pyrenees discussing at the end of the race with your other guys. Many of them, they say the XRP is a less demanding, you know, like what we did in this experience, you know? And so, I don't know. We'll see, I think everything is open, but that was, that was tough.

You know, the two first days it was super tough and it impacted a lot, you know, the rest of the race starting with two days where you barely fly. I mean, the second day, I mean, it just made maybe one Glade that's, that's kind of turf and it's very specific training you must do on, on the flat and on, on the, you know, on the road, which I'm not sure actually did. You know?

And so basically that was kind of tough, but many guys, they said, okay, you know, XR. So you have, you have to start, you know, one hour earlier, you have to, and, you know, one hour later that finally you always managed to fly somehow. And, and it's less mama, you know, like this one, I don't know, but we'll discuss that for sure. Monday,

Speaker 1 (34m 6s): You have, you know, on our first show, you and I talked a lot about all the guiding you do and teaching, and you've been at this game an awfully long time. Did you find it personally stressful to see what these guys are flying in and what they're, you know, in the weather conditions they're flying in and did you find it? I don't know, is it, is it nerve wracking to see it?

Cause it's a totally different kind of, you know, like you said, they're flying days that normally you'd go play pool. You're not, you wouldn't be in the air and they're doing it over and over and over again. I mean, it's, it's, it's quite intense.

Speaker 2 (34m 49s): That was extremely stressful for several reasons. The first reason is that you give advices and you don't pay yourself to mistakes and you have in front of you guys that has been training for three or four years and he's review for that. And if you make a mistake is not too good. So this was one first part. The second reason is stressful is that you need to make a mix between decision you would take for the best flying and decision.

You take to keep a strategic position in, in the race. When you have, I would say, Maxime, you are playing the game, you know, with Chrigel and Maxime. You don't want to make a move where you will see them, you know, fly away. And from the surf place, maybe you ended up 10 or whatever. So you can, as we did, you know, start at the rank, you know, six or seven and end the first, but you can also start at the place of second and ended up 10.

You know, so basically this is a big stress about that. And then the sub point, that was a really stressful for me, but it's very personal. Is that a month before I was helping a friend to fly an incredible BD flight adventure in Peru, and unfortunately he had an accident and he died. And so I was kind of nervous too. I have, I am very, very confident in peer skills, abilities, eating credible pilot, but I know that in a race, you know, people can take risks that are, you know, different than what they would do.

You know, normally because the pressure, because the team, because they want, you know, to achieve something and all my briefings, they were ending the quiz. Okay, keep it safe. So that was like my primary concern, you know, have fun and keep safe. And of course, you know, the flying day at du Dimity was a little bit borderline on my opinion, you know, for everybody, you know that true. But that's my vision, my vision of what was my level of pilot.

And of course I'm not in the place it's difficult, you know, to judge this, but that was actually giving me, of course, you know, a certain level of pressure also. So three, three reason why I was kind of nervous and on this, on this race and, and I want to say a big hello to Henry that had the, you know, this accident in the, in payroll and yeah, that's like that he didn't make any mistake, just gotten lucky.

And so that's also the bad side of paragliding.

Speaker 1 (37m 53s): Yeah, of course. And of course, we're, you know, we're, we're talking about Antwan's partner in Peru and, and then, you know, another very famous, his pilot nickname very recently had had a terrible accident and he was supposed to be in the X pier. And you know, this is something, a part of this sport that just keeps raining down on us. Doesn't it. It's not something you could really escape, but Manu, I'd love to talk to you. We're going to talk about the dramatic end while we still have a hopefully decent connection here.

But I also wanted to ask you about philosophy of kind of Pierre and what it was like, you know, in seven days you experienced as an athlete, a lot of ups and downs and the physical hardship and everything else. And, you know, we have, I've spent quite a bit of time with Chrigel and with Maxime, and they're very different. Their approaches, it Chrigel is, is famously very Swiss. He doesn't get too distraught. He stays pretty positive. He always really looks like he's having a lot of fun.

You know, Chrigel is just always looks like he's having a good time, whereas Maxime can be and who he would be the first to admit this, that he's, he can be pretty emotional. And, you know, he, he gets, he gets pretty upset and, and, you know, just a little bit more maybe goes to the extremes more. And I'd love to just hear what's what's Pierre. Like what, what is the kind of the philosophy of the team? Is it very much, is it really serious? Is it really fun?

And what do you think in the end works and what worked for your team? Cause you did incredibly well

Speaker 2 (39m 37s): On, on pure wispy. Our, you know, PR works that way, you know, at the beginning of a project, it just, you know, try to set up where you wants to arrive, you know, and he will just do what you can do, you know, to arrive there. But if it's done, don't forget that it was a first, a first try. You know, it was the very first try. We never trained before we never went, you know, one a weekend, you know, together, you know, to train or do something.

The first days there really did something together was the first day of the comp. So basically we were kind of relaxed. And as you, you were talking about philosophy and this is exactly what I was asking regularly to Pierre, you know, like, what is your philosophy? Because basically in every decision you take, you can either say, okay, I am a gambler and I like to try something and maybe become first, or I am, I want to secure my position.

So basically in terms of strategy, it's really like, what, what is your mood? What do you have in mind? And, and during the race, the mood of pier could have changed, you know, a couple of time, you know, in this matter. And so I was always asking him before to propose him some options, you know, in what, what was his, his, his mood, you know, like, do you want to try something or do you want to secure your position therefore, as it was the first comp like this, I don't think Pyr, he had a goal to arrive, you know, in the, I would say the five, ten first guys, you know, so basically when you realize he was able to play, you know, in this, in this group, you know, of the ten first guys, he was, he was kind of happy.

And then when we made, you know, like a couple of interesting move, and finally we were really, you know, in the lead then came the questions, you know, about, you know, what do you want to do with that? You know, the, we want to secure your position and, or do you want to try something? And this is exactly finally what, what happened at the end? You know, at one moment, when we arrived close to Kenya, I had the strong feeling that we had to let, Chrigel go alone and work six, seven kilometers, hate hundred meters, you know, up to take off.

And the south side of the mountain. And this was at colder months and called the Monday return before, you know, can you go? And actually by chance, you know, it happens that . And I was like, at that moment, I was pretty focused on, I should tell him to learn here and go past this mountain on foot and take off. And the other side that I was not sure it was very taiko Faber.

I was not sure, you know, you would get, you know, super good conditions. However, may soundings about telling me they had, you know, like 500 meter, most sitting and more, you know, instability on the other side of that maintains and going on the north side of, of the Kenny go. And at that time, your second, you have a, Chrigel just a little bit in front, you have Maxime in the back and it's so hard, you know, to take a decision that would be totally different.

And so that was once again, the question, you know, what do you want to do? And at that time, I think you must be super strong to take SIS type of decision, believe a lot in, in your, in, in yourself, you know, to try that. And that's the whole difficulty of Ziff type of phrase, you know, and you convince of something, it's not the same situation. For instance, when infants, you have Kligerman Maxime, the guys in the bags are fairly far away and you take another option.

You know that if it works, you beat everybody, but if you lose, you don't lose that much. And in this situation you are in second, you know, that, you know, maybe you're lucky and you finish fast. And would you take a specific option? You know, when you have Chrigel in front of you and the terrain is not the terrain of Krieger, it's not like if he's flying in his garden, but you're not flying in your garden either meaning, so then we hardly go fly there. I mean, I flew there, you know, long time ago, but this is all the memories I have.

Pierre doesn't have a tough knowledge, a strong knowledge of these around specifically, you know, arriving on the, can you go, you don't know exists. Usually when you go flying in Saudi and you fly your home, you don't go, you know, that direction too much. So basically this was an unknown terrain. Excellent. Cross-country by a lot of FOMO is a very good Ali go to Syria and to the sea. It's not, not so often Nasar, but we didn't have the knowledge. And so at that moment, we decided, you know, to, to follow, to follow Chrigel and then Maxime arrived.

He got a little bit better. Tamar, he arrived a little bit higher, you know, on that trich of the Kenny group. And he managed to climb, you know, , which ends up in a circus set is totally closed with the summits at 2,700 meters. That was like so early he could pass. And then we saw him climb and pass and we are just like, wow. And at that moment, Chrigel had such an incredible decision to land in the such a nasty place, climb like a goat, you know, super fast.

And Pierre did the same, but he landed a little bit lower. It was a little bit more complicated to escape from the place it was. And the, and yeah, that was the move of Chrigel was like a years ready to anything, you know, he has the hauls on, he knows what's what's going on in his back, you know? And as soon as Maxim picked up altitude, then Chrigel, he knew what you had to do, you know, and what you had to do was pretty wide and did the same.

And, but he did it and that's it. And then at that moment, probably I would say Maxim got lucky. And then a little bit later, you got lucky and Chrigel got lucky, but finally, you know, what you need is to be a little bit in the front at the moment you cross the finish line. And that's what a Chrigel managed to do, I would say as usual, but this time maybe had a little bit more entertainment than that.

That was the time to, because Maxim was really hot and Pyr was too, you know, so

Speaker 1 (46m 51s): Yeah, that last day was, was just, it was a rollercoaster, right. You know, Pierre started the day off ahead and then Maxime and Chrigel flew together and they, they caught them up, like you said, and, and, and then it just looked like Maxime had it, you know, it was, it was, the race was over Maxine one. And then, and, and suddenly Chrigel flies over his head and flies within three kilometers of the final term point and wins the race. And the first thing I said to my friend, Ben, who supported me in all my races, was he, so it's incredible.

He did it again. It's so lucky. And he, it's not luck. It's Chrigel he does this every time. And, and, you know, I, as I understood it, he and Maxine were basically flying together and, and he, like you said, he, he stuffed it into this really tough place and climbed up higher into better air and then, and then jumped him in the air. And, but how do you know to do that? How did he, how did he have that in his mind to, I mean, were the, were the signs obvious or was this just Chrigel being an Eagle?

Speaker 2 (47m 59s): No, it didn't really have better air. What happened is that Wednesday arrived on that reach of the Kenny goo. We all knew that it would be cool, you know, to get on the little cells, phase and claim there and pass, you know, like Maxim did Chrigel and Pyr, they were in the front, but they never managed the work while, you know, on this reach to try to get on the south face. Is it news any disease? They want to do this, you know, as the other option was to fly around the north face of and we know it's possible, but it's wrong.

And it's oddly because you, you get low, you know, all the time, and it's a little bit complicated pre-K, but that was, you know, the, the option, if you cannot claim the, so they arrive there says try to claim it doesn't work. So they say, okay, we start to go on the north face at this moment, Maxim arrived just a little bit higher because he had the chance to have a term or that claim a little bit higher before, right on this Ridge. And he claims directly, boom. And so at that moment, it was quite a views that if you go on the top of the mountain and you take off and that south face, you will climb also.

Okay. So this is for Krieger set was crystal clear. So this is what he did. He learned, you know, in this nasty place, claimed the Montana 400 meter take off in Amazon nasty place and get, you know, to 2,700 meters, 650, like did the, exactly like the Maxime and pretty much takes the same route, like maximum, he follows Maxine. Then they had to cross a big valley. So this is the valley of Emilia labor, which the flying site of Sarah and maximi got to Surrey, probably I would say 20 minutes before Krieger, or maybe half an hour.

I don't, I cannot be, you know, exact on these. And when Maxim arrive on Sarah, he will climb. He climbed on the mountain, rich one five, and he has the goal of touchy kilometer with a light south wind, you know, against if it's flying into the wind to get to the goal. And so he's a one five, and he knows it's not enough. Definitely. So he weighed, he worked the place, he gets 2, 1 5, 1 4 1 5 1 4 1 3 1 3 50.

And at this moment he says, okay, if I wait more, I will end up at 1000 metal, you know, on the mundane. And he goes Krieger right later on, in the very same place. Okay. He gets a little bit more altitude. When, when Maxim went, you know, finally finds nothing, well, each find a little bubble, you know, and it just pass, you know, the highway and he's underground and Chrigel strategically, he knows that he's behind.

So strategically there is no hurry. Pierre is far in the back. He has a maximum in front of him. If he goes for glide, maybe for sure it gets to Maxim, you know, a little bit behind him. And then he has to raise like crazy, maybe beat him, you know, on the running. But Maxim is quite good in running two, you know, so basically it's not sure I will get him. So he, wait, you wait, you wait. And then at one moment he goes, he has a little bit more hearty too than makes him maybe he has like a 200 meter more.

And I, my opinion, there is a north wind passing. The, the little call where you have the highway set is entering, you know, the sales phase. And when Maxim, maximi went a little bit lower, then he got pretty much cut in this north air flow. And, and, and Chrigel basically, he flew above that too. This is my understanding. And I discuss this with some, some guys that are specialist of the area.

And the quite bit of this is what happened is that, you know, Chrigel for some look understanding, I don't know if the situation look because finally he got it manage, you know, to, to, to leave the mundane hires and then Maxine, what could they have done Maxim? I could have waited there. You know, he could have waited there, you know, and say, okay, I wait there, wait. But the risk is that finally, you know, he doesn't find the tomato anymore. You know, it was not a super active, you know, that moment.

And then he's also landed there. So he's his decision and my opinion was not bad. It's difficult to take another decision when you are half an hour in front of the followers. And if you don't make it again to your ceiling and you spend already a while, you know, trying to make it, and you're just like, okay, it's not going to come again. I go, you know, before it's too late. So this is the decision in cook. Obviously it was wrong because when Chrigel arrived, he managed to climb higher and, and finally passed above the highway.

And then he found another one. And that was the game was over at that moment. Maxim was underground. Krieger was stumbling right above his head. The life tracking was pretty much fact at that time. And so it was not so clear. I was looking at the life tracking and I report it to Pierre and Maxime and the Chrigel are landed, you know, on the other side of the highway. And then I looked a little bit more carefully and, and Chrigel was 600 meter above the head of a maximum.

And I said, report it to be okay. No, no, no, it's not like that. You know? And unfortunately Pierre did the same move, finally climb to the mundane. He took off on the south face. He managed to climb to 2, 6 50, you know, like the tools are guys, but a little bit later when he got to survey, he couldn't at all climb. So probably, you know, like Chrigel arrive at the perfect moment where the conditions, they were just perfect. So he could climb a little bit higher than Maxim deed and Pierre never managed to climb at all.

You know? So it was just a window and, and that's it, you know, I mean, he, he got down, so, and he managed to climb higher. And then when he passed in the flat, he got and then he landed, you know, close to the finish line. But yeah, there was, we, we had big projects. I had seen, you know, there's this movement of air turning around the, you know, like the little cities that have in the flat.

And so I say to PR, okay, we will go along the Montaine along the Albury, you know, following the mountain before to go to the finish line. So we had, we still had some plan, you know, not to finish files, but maybe to finish a con, but it was not possible for PR to claim again, the conditions they were up there at the time he arrived. But that was just, I would say maybe 40 minutes of Turkey. Chrigel something like this. And it was for him just impossible to climb. So that's where, as I always say to the guys, you know, they fly that fly in my cross-country class.

When a guy got lucky, not all the time, maybe it's not luck, you know? So maybe in our mind, you know, is luck, but maybe for him, it's not luck. You know? I mean, he, that's what your supporter says. It's true, you know, at the end Chrigel one, you know, so basically we can analyze the stuff and say, okay, they went to the same place, makes him good, little bit lower pier couldn't climb, and Chrigel arrive at the moment between them.

And he was able to climb higher and then it happened super good for him. But, you know, that's, that's, I don't know. Yeah. I, yeah. You have a doubt, you know, about the look and stuff like this maximum would have been even a little bit more late doing the same move. Pierre and Tigger would have been further, you know, in the north face. And then there would have been probably no way to catch with him, you know? So it's sometime the point of being At the right place at the right moment when Maxim arrived on the can ego, he arrived exactly at the right moment at the right altitude to climb.

And the tools are guys say, well, I'm not exactly at the good altitude and not certainly at the right moment. So my moment, maybe not, but altitude. And then for me, I still have this question in my mind, if we had landed at and if we had work, you know, when I went to take off, you know, on the other side, what would have happened, you know? And so that's always, you know, a question we won't, we will never have a, you know, the answer because it will be impossible virtually to repeat the situation.

Speaker 1 (57m 13s): Yeah. Those, those questions live with you forever. There's always the, what ifs of all the races I've done in the X ups. There's always odd 2015. If I'd only done that in 20 17, 17, I'd only done that. Yeah. It's a, it's just part of the, part of the fun and part of the adventure. Well menu, thanks for sharing your story. You guys rocked it. It was very impressive. And, and you're even out in the lead there for awhile. I thought you guys had it, but nice work and a big hug to Pierre and looking forward to racing with them here soon and congratulations.

But thanks for sharing this, this a cool adventure you guys had with us.

Speaker 2 (57m 52s): Thank you for giving, for having me on the show. And that was a pleasure to share this. And yeah, we are quite happy to have put, you know, some fun in the, in the race and the fact that finally, the last day, Simon arrived later and, you know, flu, you know, midday, you know, why Pyr was working, put us enough pressure to be super happy to be served because the same thing could, well, I'm not sure, you know, because the south wind was stronger, but we never know, you know, man, Simon could have, you know, past, above the head of Pyr while he was working on the flat.

So we were definitely all the team super happy to be served, you know, on the podium, because that was kind of heart, you know, behind.

Speaker 1 (58m 40s): Yeah. That was that in Simon can never be counted out either. He also had a great race, but yeah, for, for rookies going into such a hard event, you guys really crushed very impressive. If 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 or share it on social media. You can talk about it on the way to launch with your pilot friends.

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