The Red Bull X-Alps 2015 Route Revealed and the Powertraveller Prologue Race
Last week I headed to Salzburg to the famous Hangar 7 to attend a press launch revealing the route for the 2015 Red Bull X-Alps race.
Known for being the toughest adventure race in the world, the race sees athletes cover a distance of over 1000km, by foot or by paraglider, from Salzburg to Monaco.
During the race athletes must pass certain designated turn points and this dictates the route. For 2015 there will be 10 turn points, through 6 countries covering 1038km.
This year also sees the brand new one day Powertraveller Prologue race. On the 2nd July the athletes will take part in a mini X-Alps completing a triangle around Fuschl Am See. Unlike the race itself the Powertraveller Prologue will allow fans to be really close to the action for the entire duration. The first three athletes to finish will earn a five-minute head start in the main race and they will also win an additional Led Lenser Nightpass to journey through the night. The night pass could be a game changer and have a significant impact on the race results.
Attending the route announcement were four of the Red Bull X-Alps athletes.
Chrigel Maurer (SUI1) winner of the previous three races and race record holder (last year he finished the race in 6 days 23hrs and 40mins!). Chrigel told me that whilst the route isn’t much longer he thinks it will be much harder, especially if the weather is bad. I wondered if now he knew the route he would change his training plan but he said not, that the weather now will be very different to July and so there would be no real advantage. Maurer told me that he uses a process to train that works for anywhere in the world – the process is “to learn what is needed to continue. So taking small steps using the map, a weather forecast and feeling”.
I asked him if he was feeling pressure to win because of his previous race domination and he said, “I feel pressure because I broke my leg and the big question is how it will work in the summer”. He continued, “my head is fast like last summer but my leg is slow and I hope I can perform like last year, I believe I can still be fast. There are also many new athletes this year, 22 new teams, and we don’t know how they will do, maybe they have some new ideas and will be much faster, this we have to accept and to know it can happen and react smart – that will be the challenge.”
Not the only one with leg troubles, Italian athlete Aaron Durogati (ITA) and his team mate Ondrej Prochazka were also there – both recovering from broken legs! Aaron, now well recovered told me about his Italian diet and said he can easily eat half a kilo of pasta! “…but it must be gluten free with just olive oil.” He smiled and looked over to team mate Ondrej ” he has to cook a lot of pasta because I don’t like energy gels too much, I prefer real food.”
I was excited to get the chance to meet Yvonne Dathe (GER2) – one of the two women in the race this year – there hasn’t been a woman in the X-Alps for 10 years!
I asked her what her first reaction was when she found out she had been accepted into the X-Alps, “oh god!” was her reply with a big smile! “I think it’s a big challenge and I want to do my best, concentrating on having my own race.”
Yvonne told me, “I think women have the same chances as men although less enter because they are fearful. I hope to send a positive message to other women and more will get involved.”
Local pilot Paul Guschlbauer (AUT1) was also there, he’s been training harder than ever before and several people suggested that he would for sure be one to watch this year!
As the press launch came to an end Hannes Arch, the race mastermind summarised…
“The race will be fast if there is good weather and good thermals. This is the 7th edition of the X-Alps and more than ever the athletes are learning and developing in every detail of the race. One thing is for sure, every year there can be big surprises and the organisers are usually one step behind!”