Episode 153- Burkhard Martens and Thermal Flying

Burkhard Martens is one of the most-recognized names in the sport. His seminal work, “Thermal Flying”, first published in 2005 is the world’s best-selling guide to the art of thermalling and XC flying. Cross Country’s team has been hard at work thoroughly revising and updating the text, line by line, and the design and photography has been refreshed to bring it bang up to date. I sat down with Burki a few weeks ago to talk about his new edition, what’s changed since 2005, and the meat of the book- how to climb!

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Episode 152- Torsten Siegel and Playing the Ultimate Game

Veteran Gin test pilot, designer, European champion, and multiple-time German team member Torsten Siegel has been racing paragliders for nearly 30 years. He designed for UP Paragliders and then Swing before moving to Gin over a decade ago and has left an indelible mark on the sport since the early 90’s. I spoke with Torsten immediately after this years Superfinal in Disentis, Switzerland to get his thoughts on the first superfinal that’s been held in the mountains and to get his thoughts on all things racing- the risk, the tactics, the equipment and how to be consistent in the ultimate game- racing fabric and string in the sky.

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Episode 151- Comps, instructing, learning, and sending with Wally Arcidiacono

I met Wally Arcidiacono on the comp circuit quite a few years back and have been trying to connect with him for awhile now for a show. Wally is a keen comp pilot, started a paragliding school in Bright, Australia back in 2010 and has turned a passion for flying into a way of life. What kind of headspace should we bring to competitions? How can we play this beautiful game with more aplomb? How should we approach the long game? What can we learn from the masters? Why does the local hero never take the trophy?

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Episode 150- Critical Care for going Deep with Justin Grisham

Justin Grisham is an emergency medical physician, wilderness medical expert, and search and rescue volunteer who wants to get our flying community better prepared for dealing with emergencies in the field. In this fascinating and note-worthy episode we brush up on some of  Justin’s free-flight first aid curriculum: medical decision making, common paragliding injuries (what you can fix, what you can’t), the primary assessment, secondary assessment, heat and cold injuries, the use of narcotics and pain medications for victims, drowning and water risk, wound care, tourniquets and securing a scene.

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Episode 149- Dilan Benedeti and learning to deal with gravity

My training took place during one of his SIV clinics with a bunch of very new students so I got to watch his team and his methods in action and came away super, duper impressed. In this episode Dilan shares why we don’t have any kind of standardized training in the US and much of the world and why that needs to change; why so many pilots quit the sport too soon; why so many pilots choose the wrong wing during their progression; the dangers of “risk homeostasis”, especially in free flight; why having a school AND selling gear creates so much conflict of interest (and why this isn’t allowed in many countries); why the US instructor system is so flawed; and why having a basic understanding of psychology is so critical when you leave the ground.

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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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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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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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