The Red Bull X-Alps 2015
Known as the world’s toughest adventure race, held every other year since 2003, the Red Bull X-Alps has a simple concept – athletes must hike or fly across the Alps – from Salzburg to Monaco, a straight line distance of 1000km. In reality the athletes will cover up to 2,500km by foot or by paraglider by the time the race is done. It’s not unheard of that this can mean as much as 100km by foot each day! Each team consists of two people; an athlete and a supporter, no technical or outside assistance is allowed.
As both a paraglider pilot and mountaineer this race has been on my radar for years and a race that right now I could only compete in in my dreams. Watching from the sidelines I have the utmost respect and admiration for those who take part and I’m going to be getting a much closer window on the 2015 race as I connect with the athletes in the months leading up to the race and then follow on my BMW motorbike next July as the event unfolds!
I’ll be covering the event with Powertraveller – official partners with the Red Bull X-Alps – who design, develop and manufacture portable chargers for off grid power. I’ve been an ambassador for Powertraveller since they kept me powered on Everest in 2011 and on every trip since then when I have been off grid. Their vision is to push the possibilities of portable power so that their customers can go further – every X-Alps team will be using the new powermonkey explorer 2 during the race to keep their essential devices such as GPS, GoPro & iPhones charged.
This epic race requires expert paragliding skill and extreme endurance. I recently had the pleasure of meeting X-Alps athlete Tom De Dorlodot, we joked that unless you were born in a paragliding harness there is little point in taking part, such is the level of skill required to be a serious contender in this epic race. Tom is young but you could say he’s a veteran of the X-Alps. The race in 2015 will be his 5th.
I asked Tom about his training and he replied, “I like to listen to my body and keep it as natural as I can, I spend most of the year in the mountains and I run around 60km a week.” This summer Tom suffered from serious injury after experiencing a collapse close to ground during his project to hike and fly across the Adriatic with Paul Guschlbauer, he’s battling back though and looks set to be in peak condition by the time the race starts. I asked Tom about his diet, he smiled and told me, “my secret is a HUGE breakfast!”.
The X-Alps has attracted and tested to the limit some of the world’s top adventurers since it’s concept in 2003. Few women have competed and to everyone’s delight this years line up sees two women, Germany’s Yvonne Dathe and America’s Dawn Westrum.
The X-Alps is an almighty undertaking in one of the most spectacular yet unforgiving environments. I’m super excited that for 2015 I’ll be along for the ride….