Episode 148: Red Bull X-Alps 2021, Gavin answers your questions!

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.

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Episode 147- Special Red Bull X-Alps Podcast with the Salewa athletes

I sat down for a special edition of the Cloudbase Mayhem directly after the Red Bull X-Alps Prologue yesterday with my Salewa teammates Paul Guschlbauer, Aaron Durogati, Markus Anders, Chrigel Maurer, Simon Oberrauner, and Tommy Friedrich to find out how they are feeling going into the race, what they are most concerned about with the course, how they take care of their body for 12 days of pounding, how they train, what they changed coming into this race, funny stories from previous editions, critical gear choices and a lot more. We all had a blast with this and we hope you enjoy. The race kicks off Sunday, we hope you’ll follow along and cheer us on!

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Episode 146- Maxime Pinot and turning up the Volume

In this episode we discuss how Maxime approaches training (physical and mental), his thoughts on just making better decisions instead of doing SIV for pilots who don’t have the money or time, how to manage your emotions, how to thermal and glide better, dealing with the “mental pain” that sometimes comes with flying, finding the opportunities from mistakes, the importance of visualization, and we look back at a couple key moves that made all the difference for Chrigel in the 2019 race.

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Bonus Episode- Bastienne Wentzel interviews your host!

A few months ago I interviewed Bastienne Wentzel about her book “Paragliding, The Beginner’s Guide” and at the end of the interview Bastienne turned things around and interviewed me for her magazine about the upcoming X-Alps, my history in flying, preparing for this campaign vs previous campaigns, why learning is so addicting, flying and family, making a living through flying (sort of!), the book (Advanced Paragliding), why the X-Alps and flying itself is so addicting (and could it be without the risk?), comparing the Alaska Traverse and the X-Alps, what the spectators miss in the race, the most memorable days, how to eat for the race, dealing with the physical trauma, the wonderful impact of the fans and a lot more.

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Niviuk Klimber 2P First Impressions

In all my years of flying I’ve never been so excited for a new wing to arrive. With the 2021 Red Bull X-Alps getting close I’ve been thrilled with what I’ve heard from Niviuk’s test pilots and their lead designer Olivier Nef; and the photos I’ve seen on social media have displayed an extraordinarily profile, but you never know until you have it in your hands and take her for a spin.

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Episode 140- Michael Witschi and Experiencing the Amazing through Competition

Michael Witschi has an extremely impressive flying resumé. He’s won pretty much everything you can in competition paragliding. He’s a 3-time world champion; has won maybe more world cup tasks than anyone; competed in the 2015 Red Bull X-Alps; is a current coach of the X-Alps Academy; and is the mastermind, founder and organizer of the incredible EigerTour, a 4-day hike and fly race in the Bernese Oberalps. Michael is the father of two adorable children and is a very successful businessman and eloquently shares his vast competition experience with us in this engaging, very fun talk.

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Episode 138- Nik Hawks and Expectations

Nik Hawks returns to the Mayhem in response to the pilot survey we put out a couple months ago to take on a whole bunch of topics you, our listeners asked for. We broke this wide-ranging show into four main parts- Nik’s answers a bunch of questions about his own sometimes frustrating progression and how he’s had to adjust his own expectations in the sport in order to avoid being a “dangerous pilot”; I answer questions from Nik about a recent interesting discussion he had with a new pilot on launch; we revisit some of the takeaways from the Kiwi SAR effort in Nevada; and finally Nik interviews me about the upcoming Red Bull X-Alps, my own progression choices over the years, what makes a “dangerous” vs a “safe” pilot, gear choices for hike and fly and a lot more.

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Bonus Episode- Ask Me Anything with Gavin, your questions answered!

In this bonus episode I take on listener questions. We talk about coring thermals, Red Bull X-Alps preparation, the dream bivvy line, fear injuries, weather planning tools for bivvy flying, line and glider degradation, what qualifies as “big air”, risk changes when you have children, flying performance under pressure, team flying tips, hydration and energy tips for big flights,  how to not be a “freezer” when anxiety jumps, Flow state and transferable skills from other sports, the “Survivor bias” and more!

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Episode 131- Ferdinand Van Shelven takes on his 5th X-Alps

Ferdinand (aka “Ferdy”) Van Shelven, “The Flying Dutchman” is returning for his 5th Red Bull X-Alps this June. Ferdy has been in the top 7 in all of his previous 4 campaigns from 2011 to 2017. How has a pilot from the flatlands of the Netherlands become so competitive in the toughest race on Earth? We explore his flying philosophy; his approach to risk; the dynamic with his wife Nicole supporting him in the race; the right head-space for something as huge as the X-Alps; how his approach will change in this edition; the good and bad side of ignorance; some of the sketchy situations he’s experienced in the race; how to follow your instincts and a lot more.

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