A great article by Squash Falconer hit Sidetracked Magazine just hours after the race finished. Here’s an excerpt, click on the link to view the full article.
‘It’s cool I can still walk,’ a bright-eyed and beaming Gavin McClurg said as he strolled up to me just two days after finishing the Red Bull X-Alps 2015 in a very impressive 8th place. Seeing him like this you would struggle to comprehend what he, alongside 31 other athletes and their teams, had just endured and achieved.
The Red Bull X-Alps is known as the toughest adventure race in the world, and for good reason. Athletes and their supporters race from Salzburg to Monaco, a straight-line distance of over 1000 km, by foot or by paraglider, tagging 10 turn points as they travel along the spine of the Alps. The race takes them through deep valleys and over the highest mountains, including iconic peaks such as the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc.
McClurg is one of four American athletes in the race line-up this year. He’s no stranger to big events. At 17 he was selected for the USA ski team, in his twenties he became a very accomplished climber and kayaker, and then he spent 13 years sailing around the world, during which time – to the surprise of many – he learnt to paraglide.
The Red Bull X-Alps came onto his radar back in 2007. His good friend Bruce Marks planted the seed that this was the race for him – and although he knew he wasn’t good enough at the time, he was transfixed by the event. ‘I watched the last edition at home, in my living room, while hanging from my paragliding harness and I just loved it,’ he told me.