Red Bull X-Alps

7 lessons of competing in the Red Bull X-Alps

What lessons can you learn from competing in the Red Bull X-Alps? That’s what we wondered. From having the right attitude to remembering that it’s all a game, athletes share their take-home messages.

© zooom.at/Harald Tauderer

Play up and play the game!

“Don’t take the Red Bull X-Alps too seriously, says Samuel Vurpillot. “The Red Bull X-Alps is like a big game so we are here for fun,” he says. “Every day was pleasure and fun (even walking for 14 hours in the rain while the other competitors flew more than 100km).” There’s only one catch – and that’s the elimination axe that brings Game Over. “That’s the game,” he adds. Sound advice…  

Live in the present


“One of the great things about flying is it forces you to live in the present,” says Nick Neynens. “As in life you learn from the past and consider the future, but the most important thing is to stay focused on what you have control over at that very moment. In the Red Bull X-Alps, Louis, my supporter, was managing the distractions of the details so I could concentrate on my race. Life can be a little more complicated than flying and walking but the same principles apply.”

Don’t look back!


“Keep up your hope every hour. Go forward, never look back and never regret the team decision. This is important!” says Samuel Vurpillot.

Face the consequences – with attitude


“Sometimes in life you make bad choices and you have to face the consequences,” says Neynens. “But you don't have to suffer. When travelling you notice that some of the happiest people have the least. Attitude is everything.”

Don’t be too goal obsessed


Steve Nash learnt a valuable lesson at Brenta. He’d spent so much of his race prep building up to this moment that he had no plan for where to go after reaching the Turnpoint. “We got so focused on this point that we didn’t have a plan. When we got to that single point it was like, ‘what do we do now?’.” He spent the next 10 minutes on the ground planning the next stage and watched as Antoine Girard and Pawel Faron immediately took off. Those 10 minutes cost him dear. They flew an extra 70km that day. “It was a harsh lesson,” Nash muses. 

Life’s a team event


“Some lessons are positive though,” says Nash. Myself and [supporter] Richard agreed as a team that whatever decisions we made – whether me in the air or him on the ground – if something went wrong, if he sent me down a dead end, we would never criticise each other. Working as a team was a strong lesson and we thrived on that.”

Fight hard!


“Participation in the Red Bull X-Alps is really powerful. You learn to fight and how motivation can push you to your limit, searching solutions for every problem and how to keep calm in every situation,” adds Vurpillot.