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 145- Standing on the shoulders of giants with Mitchell McAleer

Mitchell McAleer properly crashed a hang glider on literally his first flight in the early 70’s. But he shook it off and was in the right place at the right time and had the right mentors and right attitude and eventually became the winningest aerobatics pilot in history. Southern California was one of the true meccas of hang gliding in the 70’s and 80’s. It was the home of UP during their reign with the Comet, remains the home of Wills Wing and was where Mitch took on the sport in his teens and remains today after nearly 45 years of obsessed flying. Mitch has an encyclopedic memory and this podcast is a fascinating and at times totally unbelievable stroll down memory lane.

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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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Episode 134- Martin Henry and a lifelong pursuit

Need a good laugh? Kick back and listen to Martin Henry, a Canadian Hang glider and paraglider who has been chasing free flight for almost 50 years tell some really fun stories. Get on board as we travel around the world, learn how to thermal, fly triangles, retrieve your significant other, fly competitions, compete in the Worlds, compete in the Worlds with your wife!, figure it out, crash, tumble, bomb out, send it, learn, and drink a nice cold beer with your friends after yet another wonderful day at cloudbase. This episode is pure joy and filled with tons of great advice and great learning thrown in regardless of where you are in the sport and what you hope to achieve. This show is a BLAST- enjoy!

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Episode 133- Malin Lobb and Wing Control

Malin Lobb is the co-owner of Flyeo paragliding in Annecy with Fabien Blanco. He was one of the founders of the British Racing Academy, is a keen world cup comp pilot and an experienced SIV and paragliding instructor. In this information-packed episode that our editor called “One of the Best Episodes EVER!” we are given a TON of really solid advice on how to approach SIV; what to be thinking about when choosing a wing; the pitfalls of wing certification and relying on “passive safety” and a whole lot more!

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Episode 128- Ari in the Air and the philosophy of flight

In this entertaining and thought-provoking podcast with Ari Delashmutt, a big mountain skier, world-record highliner, paraglider, film maker, and pursuer of the absurd we take on what is sometimes the hardest question of all. Why? Why do we pursue activities that can quite easily go wrong and kill us? “Truthfulness is a muscle we have to flex.” Let’s flex the muscle we often neglect. Enjoy, discuss and send your comments. I think you’re going to dig this one.

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Episode 95- Willi Canell and wrestling with the Risk

Willi Canell will represent the US in the 2019 Red Bull X-Alps, the 5th US athlete in the history of the race to call Sun Valley, Idaho home of the 10 US athletes who have competed. He’ll be lined up with me in Salzburg June 16th in the greatest game on Earth as a rookie. He’s my neighbor, flying partner and consistently surprises me with the way he thinks about this crazy sport we all find so compelling. I invited Willi onto the Mayhem because he recently shared his private journal with me and I found his thoughts and ideas about paragliding, risk, training, fitness, and the ultimate question- why we all do what we do not only fascinating but informative and thought-provoking

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Episode 92- Marcella Uchoa and breaking the Women’s World Record

Marcella Uchoa breaks the Women's world record

On October 25th, 2018 Marcella Uchoa flew into the record books by flying 411 km across the Sertao, Brazil. She broke Seiko Fukuoka’s record of 402 km in Australia set in December of 2015. Marcella was in good company, team flying with Rafael Saldini, Frank Brown, Samuel Nascimento, Marcelo Prieto (the same group who flew 564 km to break the world distance record a few years back) as well as Sebastien Ospina, an ace pilot from Colombia.

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