Red Bull X-Alps

5 tips Dawn wishes she’d known before race day

American athlete Dawn Westrum got the furthest of any women to have competed in Red Bull X-Alps. She’s writing a book about her race and shared with us five tips she wishes she’d known before the race began.

Dawn W

Former US army soldier and Red Bull X-Alps 2015 athlete Dawn Westrum is half way through writing a book about her experiencing racing across the Alps.

She posted excerpts of the coming book's content on her blog, but says the book – to be completed by Christmas – will contain more than just a day-by-day account of her race.

“[The book will be] chronological but with a lot of training information and the kind of knowledge I had to find out for myself that might be helpful to next year's rookies,” Dawn says. “Plus, I'm trying to include shorts blurbs from other athletes – the guys had some pretty spectacular flights this year!”

Here are Dawn's top five tips she wishes she'd known before the race kicked off.

1. Choose your supporters wisely! 

I had a couple great supporters but one bad apple can bring the whole group down.  It’s important to be clear about what you need from each other before the race so that everyone knows their role and is on board with the plan.

2. Be patient waiting for a good thermal! 

On day one I missed one thermal and it cost me an easy 50km in the air.  That’s a pretty big mistake as I ended up walking more than 50km the next day to make up for it.  

3. Learn how to fly in the late afternoon. 

Although I had some great flights, I wasn’t able to keep them going into the evening.  The valley winds always seemed to put me on the ground but I know it was possible to go further. 

4. Keep track of the flight lines! 

Take some time during the race to look at the flight lines of other athletes on Live Tracking  (as long as you’re not in front, anyway!). Several times I didn’t fly deep enough into the mountains, not realizing there was a better route.  If I had looked where the competitors in front of me were flying I might have really improved in the standings.  It’s definitely worth a little time to study this, as it could save a lot of miles on the ground.

5. Dream big!  

 

I don’t think I set my sights high enough. I was trying to be realistic and practical with myself and my supporters, but ended up getting much further along the course than we had expected, forcing us to scramble to find maps and to plan flights. That’s a good problem to have, though!