Episode 199- A story of avoiding inconvenience with Alejandro Barañac

We have a saying in our sport, “never avoid inconvenience.” But it’s easier said than done. An easy field a kilometer away from the train station, or a really tricky field right next to it? Landing in strong wind across a river that means a long walk, or landing in strong wind near a road that will have rotor? In the 21′ Vercofly a number of pilots were injured and the race was cancelled due the unusual level of carnage. Some were due to rowdy conditions, but several were just because of pilots making poor decisions. This is one of the latter stories from a first-time hike and fly competitor, Alejandro Barañac. We originally recorded this show as a bonus episode for subscribers, but the lesson here is so important we’re releasing it as a regular show. Alejandro touches on a number or great subjects, including fear injuries. Enjoy!

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Speaker 1 (0s): Hi there everybody. Welcome to another episode of the Cloudbase Mayhem. This show was originally recorded as a bonus episode. Alejandro Barak reached out quite a while back and said, Hey, I've been listening to the show and I've got a story of my own, but I, I, it's just about an accident. It's about making a mistake, trying not to be inconvenienced. And something many is, many of us have done, you know, trying to land at a train station and putting it into a small place.

Nick Grease has talked a lot about the dangers of trying not to be inconvenienced and he was racing In, the Veracode fly for the first time, doing a hike and fly race. In the Alps. In the Valis. We've talked a lot about the Veracode fly on the, on the podcast. And it was a year that there was quite a few other accidents that year. This was two years back, I believe. And they actually ended up canceling the race 'cause there were so many. But this is a talk with Alejandro, it's a short one, just about what went wrong and some of the takeaways and what he learned from it.

And he also sent me a little email afterwards that said that we, one of the things we didn't talk about was the importance of talking to somebody, talking to an expert about your accident. And he feels strongly that this was one of the reasons he didn't have a fear injury after it. So In the end, it all came out okay. He had a lot of injuries that he's had to and still dealing with. But a good lesson here. So have a listen to Alejandro's story about participating In, the Veco fly and a day that went a little sideways.

Enjoy Andro. Welcome

Speaker 2 (2m 0s): To the Mayhem. I understand you're, you're busy with a couple little ones and you're, you're living right where the Vel flight starts,

Speaker 1 (2m 9s): Is that

Speaker 2 (2m 10s): Right?

Speaker 3 (2m 11s): Yeah, yeah, that's right. I've been living here since three years and it's been a, a few more since I moved to Switzerland.

Speaker 2 (2m 18s): And you're from Spain?

Speaker 3 (2m 20s): Yeah, correct.

Speaker 2 (2m 21s): What part?

Speaker 3 (2m 24s): Catalonia? Ah, I grew up at the Seaside, but my mom comes from a village In, the Pyrenees where Paragliding started in Spain. So I did spend all my holidays there and I've seen people flying since I was, I dunno, two or three years old.

Speaker 2 (2m 38s): How long have you been flying?

Speaker 3 (2m 41s): So officially I think it's been 11 or 12 years. Okay. But the first five years I don't really count them. 'cause I did do my instruction, but then I did, I was a student. I didn't have money for gear, so I was flying only in summer when I was renting some gear from my instructor. And I, I think I checked and there were two or three years where I did two or three flights per year. So.

Speaker 2 (3m 3s): And was that In? the Pyrenees?

Speaker 3 (3m 5s): Yeah, that was In, the Pyrenees. There were guided flights, although I had finished my instruction or my training, but I, I really do count flying when I got my own gear and I started flying on my own, which was 2015, so eight years ago.

Speaker 2 (3m 22s): And was the impetus to move to Switzerland because of flying or work?

Speaker 3 (3m 28s): No, it was more work. I was finishing my, my master's in engineering and I had to do my master thesis in a company and I found a, a research institute that, that accepted me near, near Geneva. And I moved there and I mean, yeah, that's the alta really close by. There are some other smaller mountains, I don't know, maybe 10 minutes from where I was living. So that was a big plus for me. 'cause although I grew up In the other seaside, I've always been more of a mental person and yeah, that, that was a big, big plus.

And then where I was doing my master thesis, couple years later I continued working there. I met my wife who, she's from Austria and she's very much into skiing and yeah, we then decided to, to stay In the area. I got a found a later on a job in, in Vals or Val, I dunno what word you use in English. Yeah, Val. And yeah, when I came here to the area for the interview, I was like, wow, yeah, this, this place is good. I saw the high peaks with the snow and so on. Although it was September, so yeah, I was straightaway hooked on and yeah, then moving to which is a village with a paragliding school and so on, was also not so much my idea.

We were living down In the valley in In, the capital, although it's a small town, it's 30,000 people and we wanted to move to a quieter place. And my, my wife really pushed a bit for, because among other things, it has a, a gondola that takes you from down, In the valley up so you don't depend so much. In the car. And, and yeah, we, we ended up getting an apartment here and we are really, really happy.

Speaker 2 (5m 13s): I I, I've been, I've have, I've got this fantasy that I'm gonna move the family over to the Alps after I get this house built, built, done. We'll, we'll hopefully move in in July and not, not permanently, I think, you know, this is where we're gonna live. But I'd love to come over for, you know, I used to do a lot of tooling around, before I had Fallon, I had the NI mobile, I had this motor home and Heimer and I spent a lot, years and years with Bruce, you know, In the Alps, getting to know it, and then of course with the ex Alps and stuff.

But I'd, I'd love to come back and just spend an entire summer. And it's good to hear that you've transplanted yourself from another country and it's all working out. 'cause do you speak German?

Speaker 3 (5m 54s): No. Yes, but not super fluently. I can go to Germany or Austria and yeah. Manage myself without needing someone to translate. But where I'm living, it's still with, they speak French and I do speak French. French and that, that's fine. Yeah. But the German party is really, really close by. But I don't, I think I, I would say it's a bit different for Austria, but In, the, in Switzerland, In, the, unless you go to a very remote place, all the German speakers speak quite good English, so you can,

Speaker 2 (6m 29s): Yeah, it's pretty easy. You can

Speaker 3 (6m 31s): Get around easily.

Speaker 2 (6m 32s): Yeah. It's also civilized In, the Alps. I, I, I love it. It's, it's so fantastic. Okay, so what's your hike and fly background? Because we're gonna be talking about the Raco fly and the unfortunate incident was that last year?

Speaker 3 (6m 48s): No, that was almost two years ago. Two years ago.

Speaker 2 (6m 50s): The, right, the one that, the one that Nick the one they canceled.

Speaker 3 (6m 54s): Yeah. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (6m 55s): Okay. So we, we'll talk about the weather and why they did that and what was going on. I mean, I know there was a bunch of accidents, but what's your hike and fly history?

Speaker 3 (7m 6s): So while learning how to park light, nothing I learned with heavy gear, the traditional way where I learned In, the nees, it's, you go with, it's not like the app, so you have to take the, the minivan up on, not a great road. I don't know how they continue getting companies to run them minivans to those schools in summertime because they just destroy them. And then when I had to buy my gear, I, I wanted it to have like a reversible harness.

I didn't want to carry those massive backpacks, which are not so comfortable. They have changed a lot, but like 10 years ago they were like, yeah, just for 10 minute walks or so they were okay. But otherwise it was horrible But. it was a heavy, it was, yeah. On today's standards, it was a heavy kid. I think I was carrying 15 kilos around and where I was living next to Geneva in Switzerland, there's some small mountains called the Jura Mountains. And I had maybe 800 meters of Dation from the parking spot to the top of the mountain.

And that's, that's pretty stiff. That's how I started my, yeah. But I was a bit younger, I was stronger and, and that's how I started might have been a bit, not the most, I would not recommend the same way to, to start for someone that had my experience back In the day because yeah, it, it's, the takeoff is not the easiest. Wind is always a bit crossed there, but yeah, that, that's how I started.

We didn't have so much access nearby to where I was living, to chairlifts or some sort of lift. And yeah. And I was always sort of attracted, I think it was around that time when I, I started following the X Ops, so I'm talking about 2 20 15. So there was not that much hike and fly back then as at least it was not that, what's the word? Yeah. Trendy or Yeah,

Speaker 2 (9m 10s): 19%. It wasn't a race every

Speaker 3 (9m 11s): Weekend. Pilot Square. Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (9m 14s): Covid really kicked that off, didn't it? I mean, it was, it was interesting to watch what happened, at least in Europe, way more than it did here. But the, the lockdowns and the closing of the resorts just put everybody on their feet, you know? It was, it was, it just, it closed down the gondolas and the chairs and, and everybody had to hike to get some, and so they did. It was, it was, and I, I just, man, it's taken off. It's pretty, pretty cool. Yeah,

Speaker 3 (9m 40s): It, it's true. I never thought about it, but I I know that it, it did the same thing with Skittering. Yeah. A lot of people got into Skittering because of Covid. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Probably also on with, with Paragliding. And around that time, a, a friend of mine who's become a really, really good friend who was working the same company as I was, he got into flying, he, his German did his training in Germany. He took some week or two weeks off, did the training there and then came back and, and he's extremely fit.

He's a biker. He, he really, really is fit. And, and we started doing hi hike and fly together and yeah, then it continued. And I, I basically, I have two kids for flying, like what I call my heavy kid, which is not heavy, but it's more like a hike and fly or cross. And then the light one, which is used to be a single skin wing with a really minimalistic harness and a front container, but with the, yeah. Air quotes heavy kit.

I do, yeah. Sometimes I take the lift because where I'm living there's a tiny ski resort and there's a lift that can take you up the mountain or I go hiking and yeah, I really like that feeling that you can go a bit wherever you want and taking off.

Speaker 2 (11m 0s): And had you done other hike and fly races or events before the Veco fly two years ago?

Speaker 3 (11m 8s): No, I had been a supporter for this friend of mine, Johan, at the Born to Fly in an, the previous year. I did hike a bit with him to take off and so on, but not as a race. No.

Speaker 2 (11m 22s): And I, I had the, I had the Veco fly founder on the show quite a while back, so people that have listened to that know, but just refresh us on how the Veco fly works. 'cause it's it's a really cool race. It's unsupported.

Speaker 3 (11m 36s): Yeah, exactly. It's, it's unsupported because it's taking place in this area of, of the, where we have so many huts. Yep. So there are two categories, like the pro and the adventure category. The pro, it's obviously for pros or really good pilots, you, they, they don't take anyone. You have to be accepted in that one. There's like, there's a rank at the end of the race and they get points depending on the number of flights they do per day and how big they are.

It's a bit complicated to, to understand the ranking system and when you're following it, follow it live. You have no idea who's first and who's second. Yeah. So, yeah. Yeah. It, it's more for the pilots than for the people at home. And then for the adventure category, there's a series of tasks to do, but there's no ranking. So no one will, you, you could lie if you want, but it's, it's about having a good time. And the goal is to tick as many huts as you can from, from a list they give you and then pass through some places.

Like if you go to the top of this mountain hiking or even flying, you get a bonus point. If you swim into this mountain lake, you get some more points. If you have an omelet in this hot lost In, the forest, you get also some points. So yeah, the, the goal is to have fun.

Speaker 2 (12m 56s): That sounds just amazing. It's, it's what a, what a good time. It's wow, very

Speaker 3 (12m 60s): Cool. And it's the fact that it's unsupported, it's great for people that, I mean, yeah. Having someone that will say, okay, yeah, I will follow you during three days and I don't care if the weather's good, I will do whatever you tell me, I'll cook for you. We'll sleep in a van, I'll, I'll I'll cheer you up when you're down and I'll, it's, it's not that easy for everyone, especially if you come, I mean, if it's n next door, yeah, you'll find probably a friend that's able to do that. But I mean, to the ly we've had people coming all the way from Norway, so I can imagine that it's not easy for someone like that to, to find a supporter.

So the, the concept's really good and, and I think they even should try to sell it a bit more from the environmentally friendly point of view because it's a bunch of cars that are not running around following the, the pilots.

Speaker 2 (13m 48s): Yeah, that's true there. You know, Hans is always talking about, wouldn't it be cool to have the no bull red Bull X Alps, you know, just, just no rules, no, no supporters, just you In the mountains and, and and going for it. And that would be tough as a 12 day race for sure. But it would be, it would be pretty interesting, you know, 'cause every addition gets a little bit more strict in a sense because of the airspace and the parks and, you know, there's, there's a lot to it. But the, you know, a huge component both expense wise and also just logistics wise is your team.

Of course, it's, it's critical and it's nice to be able to just go race. I, I was laughing with Ben, my supporter, all four of the races last year. 'cause he, he's done all my training, or sorry, last night because he's done all my training. We were, we were talking about this race that I host called the X Red Rocks here, In the fall. And you know, in all the races I've done, I've totally had to rely on my team for pretty much everything other than flying. And, you know, the cooking and the mapping and the, the navigating, I mean, I land and within four minutes I've got a route to the next spot.

And so to do a bunch of these without them is gonna be great. 'cause it's gonna force me to figure all that stuff out. You know, I've always just relied on them for everything. And so I, I like these self-supported ones that are, that are great. And it's four days, right? The veco fly,

Speaker 3 (15m 10s): Yeah. Four days. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (15m 11s): Okay. So this one unusually for that time of year had quite strong weather. Is that correct? I saw a lot of posts about it.

Speaker 3 (15m 21s): Yeah. I wouldn't call it like that. Just, just let me go back for a second. Sure. This was my second edition of the Vaco Fly. I had participated the, the previous year.

Speaker 2 (15m 30s): Okay. In the adventure category? Both.

Speaker 3 (15m 33s): Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Yeah, both. Both, both. I don't have the physical or the flying level for the pro category. Okay. Yeah. So looking, I have little bit of a video 'cause I had a shitty GoPro, which yeah, the battery turned off In, the middle of my only flight that year. But, it was not that strong. I do remember talking with Lauren Borla, the organizer on the phone from hospital on the, the day after.

And, and he told me that it was strange, the, there was something strange In the air. He could not say exactly what it, it was, I mean, it was thermic, it was August, so it was sunny. And yeah, people were going up easily, but the previous year had been much stronger. We, the first day we had Crazy West Wind and you could see people flying up to 4,000 meters and more. Sometimes only soaring on the mountain.

It was not that strong But. it was simply, there was something different. Strange. I, I don't know exactly what it was, but I do know that was not the cause for my accident. Hmm.

Speaker 2 (16m 48s): Okay. So take us through

Speaker 3 (16m 49s): It. Yeah. Okay. So the, the race starts at the top of the ski resort. There's a, a nice restaurant there. You do all the checkups, you sign whatever you have to sign and, and then they, they do a countdown and you start hiking or you can take off if you want 'cause there's a takeoff there. And yeah, my, my wife came to see the, the takeoff. 'cause we, at that time she was with my, my son who was only six months old.

And I remember telling her, yeah, the goal is to have fun and to, in four days get back home in one piece. And 'cause I wanted to take it easier than the previous year. Previous year I had been a bit stressed during the race and so I wanted to do well and, and this year I just wanted to have fun. So most of the participants just start hiking up towards a ridge that's just, let's say direction south. And yeah, you get to, to a small mountain like, which takes about 45 minutes hiking that, that's the first of the bonus points for the adventure category.

You send a selfie of yourself to to, to the organizers and yeah, you're supposed to have the, the, that bonus and then 10 minutes after that there's a nice place for taking off where I have taken off plenty of times I prepared myself, but I could see that I was a bit in a rush, but I thought it was still fine. I took off. It was a bit windy as it is usually there at around that time of the day. But, it was a good takeoff. And then I, I sort of, I thermal a bit and then I red sort following some of the pilots and In the direction of the first hutt that you have to tick either on the ground or on the, on the air for the adventure category.

The pros have to land. And yeah, I ticked it was happy and I was direction the next one. And if you want, I can read to you my note that I wrote to myself two years ago after the accident, first flight of the vertical flight could take off. Flew well over be Debo zone, which is the first Hutt and went direction, ery, which is another Hutt didn't have enough altitude to cross the, the valley. So I decided to land next to the chairlift of Evelyn here.

I must say that at the adventure category, they allow you to take public transport and, and chairlift or gondolas, if there are, I must have been In the rotor because on final approach I had a lot of speed, got suddenly lift and crash against two cars, In, the car park, broken left femur, surgery, broken, left collar bone, T 11. So the vertebra was also cracked and compressed, right ankle shit. So yeah, to, to explain, to give a bit more of context, I, I was crossing the valley and I took a, a bad line.

I saw other pilots doing well and the, the very good ones are far away. In the distance. I could see them that they were high. I took a, a bad line and I had think, but yeah, I was like, okay, well shit, I, I will have to land somewhere. And I had the option of Landing on the mountain and then having to walk maybe, I don't know, half an hour bit more. And being in a place where I could have taken off again. The place where I could have landed on the mountain was, yeah, I mean there it was a little bit steep, but not nothing crazy full of grass, no obstacles around it.

The wind was coming down the mountain at that point and I'm like, nah, nah, no, don't complicate yourself. You can land here. But you said you wanted to have, make it safe, go land down In the valley. And while I was on direction to the valley, I had several Landing options. One, which is the official in that village, which is massive. It's bigger than a football field. But I wanted to take the chairlift and I'm like, ah, if I land here, it will take me at least half an hour to make it to the chairlift.

Ah, no, let's land next to the chairlift to save this half an hour. I mean, that, that's really stupid when you think, yeah, when you think about it. But at that moment I'm like, nah, let's, let's save that half an hour to have more time. In the day for hiking and flying and so on. And I told myself, yeah, let's land next to the chairlift. You've landed there In the past and the, it was an non-event. I've, I did land there like three or four times. So I, I convinced myself, it's gonna be fine.

The thing I didn't tell myself is that I landed there always in October, November, no thermal activity covered sky, no valley wind. So yeah, no problem. That day, yeah, it was summer. There was thermals, there was quite some valley wind and the place where I landed or where I crashed, it's just behind a, a cliff. And when you look at it on Google maps, or sorry, on Google Earth, and yeah, you can share the, the flight if you want for people to, to check exactly where I crashed.

It's clear that it's, it's on the lee of, of a big obstacle that the, the chances of having rotor are really, really, really high. But I don't know why on the air, I remember seeing that cliff and telling myself, oh yeah, that's a big cliff. But I sort of convinced myself it's, it was gonna be fine and I I I was yeah, going to, to the Landing spot. And for some reason, I don't know, I, I always do, I always check my speed to know where the wind is coming from, but I cannot tell exactly why I didn't do it.

Maybe it was because I had landed there already In the past and I was used to Landing whatever direction there or, 'cause I had done quite some top landings that summer and I was yeah, confident with my Landing abilities. But yeah, I, I was doing on the final Landing approach, the, the, I don't know how you call it in English, but here they call it a volta, like a u like airplanes do. So you go downwind, then crosswind and then against the wind. And when I was going crosswind, wow, I, I just got lift and so much speed I could feel it 'cause I was really close to the ground.

So I had the reference to see, wow, I'm really going fast. And I totally lost control. And then I don't remember the moment of the crash, I just remember a couple seconds before, but I, I just crashed into two cars and my value reading says that I went from about 45 kilometers an hour to zero at that moment. So, oh geez, I, I crashed really, really fast. Ooh. Luckily I saw it coming just a bit before and I had my legs out and I think that yeah, saved me from hard, like from a bigger injury because my, my gear was perfect.

I checked it out afterwards when, when it was given back to me after I got back from hospital. And the harness had nothing, not even a scratch. I just landed with my, my legs against the car and yeah. And, and I broke my, my femur at, I remember sending a message to my wife when the rescuers got to me. 'cause until the rescuers got to me, my memory is a bit, it's not very much there. I don't know if I, I passed out or it's because of the painkillers they gave me.

But I remember telling my wife, Hey, I I, I've injured my leg. They're taking me to hospital. Not a big deal. I I should be fine soon thinking yeah, it's just maybe the TBIs, something like that. But, it was much more than that. And I got found that, that in about that in hospital. And yeah, then I remember again being In, the helicopter completely naked except my underwear, my phone and my wallet and just texting my wife like I was so high with the painkillers it was difficult to, to focus and, and read the screen.

And then, yeah, arriving the ER and getting all the tests, the x-rays, the scans and yeah, gi getting given the, the bad information. I got surgery that same night and, and then yeah, I was for a couple of days in hospital until I could go home. Then

Speaker 2 (25m 17s): What, what did the recovery look like? Was it a year? Was it, how, how long did it take?

Speaker 3 (25m 24s): It's, it's difficult to say. So I, I'm not a newbie in hospitals or in injuries. So I, I, I know what to do to recover fast or to at least be able to be a bit mobile. But in hospital, they told me I, I would have to stay one week there and then they would send me to some rehab center, close to home, like half an hour from home. And I was like, shit, I, I was feeling horrible because I was living my wife at home with a six months old kid and I'm was being like, yeah, useless.

I was really being bad, feeling bad. And I was telling the, the doctor, no, no, no, I can, I cannot stay this long in hospital and I cannot go for a month to a rehab center, has to be better. And he told me, Hey, look, we'll, we'll see better. 'cause this was on a Saturday. We'll see better next week on Monday or Tuesday, how you are feeling. And I mean, three days after I could manage with one crutch. 'cause since I broke a collar bone, I could not use two crutches to kind of limp to the bathroom and to more or less be not super dependent.

And I convinced them to let me go home. And yeah. Then at home it was not easy for the first, I would say month, but yeah, after three weeks from, since the accident, I started getting physio at home. And I, if I'm not mistaken, I was not allowed to fully put all the weight of my leg for almost three months. Hmm. Geez. But yeah, my, my first flight is less than three months after the accident, and so that was mid-November and end of November I started skiing already.

Hmm. So yeah, when the physio was laughing at me for doing that, the doctor was not so happy. But it, But it was okay. I mean, I, I was taking care. I was not skiing like crazy. I also, the flight, it was simply down flights, no thermally with big fly, big Landing to, to land and, and taking it really, really easy. And to feel fully recovered, I would say that, yeah, six months after our, I was running without pain.

Mm. Maybe a bit before, but yeah, after six months I was really feeling good. That's a good outcome mentally. Yeah. Mentally was a bit tougher. Mm. Next summer, the first flights were, were a bit difficult. Now I would say I feel fine from a mental point of view for flying, but yeah, it, that, that, that took longer.

Speaker 2 (28m 3s): Hmm. Do you, so you had it would, would you define it as a fear injury?

Speaker 3 (28m 12s): So the, the cause of the injury? No, the w the the, the outcome or

Speaker 2 (28m 18s): No, just coming back to it, you know, the, the we've there, there's been some studies now and you know, my friend Jessica loves working on it for a thesis for fear injuries. But there's, you know, the, the, any kind of trauma that we experience can the, especially from the mental side, can often be pretty debilitating when you're trying to partake again. And it doesn't have to be in flying, it could be in whatever, driving a car. It could be, it, it's kind of a, I think it's pretty tied to a P t Ss D type scenario where it's just, you know, you, you start having a lot of irrational fear.

Speaker 3 (28m 56s): No, I would not say so much for this accident, but I did break my TV on Fbri and a ski accident four years ago. I still don't understand how it happened exactly. It was with skiing binding and it did not release. And yeah, I broke it before falling and that, that I do have still a fear injury from that one. Mm. Because I, I still have not recovered my confidence while skiing. Yeah. I used to push a lot and now whenever there is hard snow and I'm on touring skis, I'm, I'm scared.

Speaker 2 (29m 31s): Yeah, yeah, yeah. Breaking, breaking things hurts. You don't, you don't wanna break things again. It know, does sucks. Sucks having surgery. Yeah. Did I miss anything? Anything you wanted to add that we didn't talk about?

Speaker 3 (29m 43s): Yeah, something I, I would tell two pilots that have gone through a serious accident. Like I did get their gear checked by a friend, by an instructor after the accident. I, my gear was not damaged in my crash. My, my harness was destroyed because the rescuers just cut through everything, But, it, it really wasn't, there was no scratches. The wing looked fine, but when I went to ground handle before my first flight, I could see that the lines especially close to the risers, they were quite stiff.

I had no idea what it is. What why was that? A friend of mine told me maybe they were in contact with, I had my, my water.

Speaker 2 (30m 26s): They burned a

Speaker 3 (30m 26s): Little bit with some No, no, no, they didn't burn. Oh. I had my water bottle with some electrolytes in which had spilled around the harness. And a friend of mine told me maybe it was that, anyway, I sent it to get it checked by advance. Who? Yeah, my wing was in advance. And, and the guy there told me, I've been working here more than 10 years and I've never seen anything like this. I recommend you to, to change the lower lines, which I did because yeah, it's not worth like, it was maybe 200 euro compared to,

Speaker 2 (30m 57s): So the salt In, the electrolytes, maybe the salt

Speaker 3 (30m 60s): Maybe, I'm not sure.

Speaker 2 (31m 1s): Wow.

Speaker 3 (31m 2s): But yeah, I would recommend, 'cause my, my wing was in In, the In the cabinet for like three months almost before I saw that. So just get it checked while you're recovering. If it needs to get repaired, get it repaired, and then when you're better, you can straightaway go fly. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (31m 19s): So the, I mean, and I'm sure you've broken this down a million times, but the reason you reached out with the, the podcast we did with Nick and Russ, Nick I think mentions he's got a better way to articulate it than I am now. But you'd never be afraid to be inconvenienced. That's one of the, one of the many, many people have gotten hurt because of doing exactly what you did. But they don't, this will save me 20 minutes of walking. This'll be, it'd be better to land at the train station, be better to land on the road.

It'd be better to, and, and we all do it. And then of course, in retrospect, especially if you get hurt, you think, yeah, that was ridiculous. Could have walked a half an hour. You know, I'm here to have fun. But there, so that's, that's the obvious one to me. But there, there are, you know, and again, it's not a knock on you. We all do it, but it's, you know, it's just the human, it's the, it's a very human thing. But yeah. What are, what are some of the other things that, you know, it sounded like maybe you were in a little bit of a hurry on launch.

What are, what are the, what are the things you've carried with you that you're trying to avoid now?

Speaker 3 (32m 30s): Complacency. Yeah. Just because you've landed in a In the same spot doesn't mean it's gonna be always the same. Mm. So, so treat it as, as if it was a new Landing spot each time, get out of the harness early. If I would've stayed In the harness probably I would've really injured my, my pelvis or my back. And that that could have meant paralysis in my lower limbs. So really get out of the harness early then.

Yeah. For hike and fly races, except for the pros, which will probably not pay that much attention to this episode, but like, just go to enjoy it. Just think about it like, yeah, for sure. It's nice to keep up with everyone and, and, and fly with more people or hike with other people and you can talk meanwhile, but, but if you cannot follow 'cause you're not as fit as the others or you, you are not as good as flying as the others. Don't push it, just bring it a little bit down.

'cause you're gonna be tired. It's gonna be probably new terrain. Bring it a little bit down and and just enjoy it. And if it's just you have like an hour flying a day and you spend seven hours hiking, yeah. It doesn't matter. What's important is to get back home in one piece. I I, I'm, I'm really tailoring this to the, to people like me that don't make a living out of it and, and don't want to make a rank out of those competitions. Just really go there to enjoy it. And, and you'll have time to talk at Landing with other pilot or at the Hutt or when the race finishes,

Speaker 2 (34m 7s): You know, that easier said than done though, isn't it? I mean, is as a race race organizer, I'm really listening in to what you're saying because it's, it's, it's very interesting from that side of things. You know, the, the first x-ray rocks we did, we didn't score the adventure category because in our minds we thought, you know, you remove the scoring, you remove the, the desire to go really hard and everybody will just have fun. No one will race. But everybody still raced. Didn't ma you know, and then the feedback was is they, they wanna be scored, you know, it's, it's, it's the, it's again, it's the human condition and like you talk about it,

Speaker 3 (34m 45s): I this feedback In the past. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (34m 47s): I mean it, you're absolutely right and we need to meditate on that and actually live it. But the, but it's hard to do that. And the, the, the other thing, I mean, even with the veco fly, like you're talking about, it's really geared towards fun. However, you're getting bonus points for an omelet at a, you know, you're the, it's still geared towards getting more points, even if you're only In the adventure category, if I understand that correctly. And so, I I, this is no knock on Laurent at all. That's awesome. It's so fun and it's really geared towards fun.

And yet if I was participating in it, I'd want the most points it's, I'd still want to get all those points. I'd still want to, you know, I'd still want you, you've, what's great is they're, it sounds like, you know, they're not rewarding top Landing. It's you, you can hit a, you can hit a a, a hutt or a away point In the air In the adventure category, which is exactly how we do it with the X red rock. So the pros have to land the adventure category can hit it on the ground or In the air. So they're not, they're not incentivized to t to top land.

But, which is, in my mind where hike and fly racing gets really dangerous is the top Landing. So especially when you're tired and all those things, but it's, you know, I fully hear you and there's nothing I could disagree with whatsoever, but man, it's hard to, it's hard to have a race and not have it be a race. That's the thing. I mean, I, I, I know or an event it or whatever you wanna call these things and you have the different categories. We've got three now. We have the academy and the adventure.

And the pro and the academy won't be scored. They can fly the same course that the adventure do and they're getting mentoring and everything else, but I guarantee they're gonna race too. You know, the ones, because it's just the environment, the the environment is, is such that, yeah, I want to go have fun with my friends, but it'd be nice to beat 'em too. Yeah,

Speaker 3 (36m 42s): Yeah. No, no, I, I understand. I, I fully understand and, and I've been in that position of like, wanting to be scored. 'cause the first year I participated there was no scoring for the adventure category. And I was like, I would, I would like have liked to know how I did compared to vr. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (36m 58s): How'd you, how do you shape up? You know, how did, how did you do? And, and it's nice to have the points thing.

Speaker 3 (37m 4s): Yeah. So what I, there's something I, I proposed to Lauren last year. It, it was not, it did not happen. I don't know why, but I don't know how it ha how you organize the x red rocks. But In, the vaco fly, most of the pilots, or I would say almost all of them, unless they live really nearby, they arrive to ko, they, the, the evening before the flight, the race starts and I proposed him, Hey, why? Let's say that we can make this as an, an optional activity.

Let's have dinner at some pizza place altogether. And some pilots can give their, their experience from other, other races. And I was willing to, to give mind of, of how my accident happened and maybe that would calm down or, or put into perspective pilots like me that yeah, they're just there for fun and it's really not worth it for having an hour, like pushing it and, and maybe having an accident like I had, but I, I know it's difficult.

People will keep on risking, but at least, yeah, making them a bit more aware and ma when you give maybe a, how's, what's the expression? Like a first person experience or Yeah, firsthand experience. Yeah, you can transmit a bit better what happened. It's not simply the race organizer, which is a really good pilot telling them, be careful, don't risk it here, don't do this, don't do that. It's someone that just had a bad accident and it's like you the year before and yeah.

Speaker 2 (38m 43s): Good thoughts. Alejandro, thanks for sharing your story. I'm glad you're all recovered. It's fantastic to hear the kids In the background and sorry. Sure. No, I'm sure they're, they're, they're pretty stoked to have their pops. So the glad you made it through it, glad you're still flying and hope to see you In the future Veco fly. I've been threatening to come over and do one forever. It's just always tough timing for me. But if this, if this Alps dream that I have comes together and I move the family over there, my goal is just to do all of 'em born is to fly in Chale and, and Veco and just do a bunch of other, because my only experience really is, is the ex house.

So, but thanks for sharing your story and I'm glad you're all right. You're welcome.

Speaker 3 (39m 25s): Thank you Gavin for having me.

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