And the supporter award goes to...
It wasn't just the winning athletes who were recognized at the after-party in Monaco. For Tom de Dorlodot, it was his support team.
“Supporters are the unsung heroes of the Red Bull X-Alps and are often the ones behind winning decisions. The Supporter Award celebrates the tactical expertise and exceptional partnership of your team.” So reads the award certificate handed to team BEL.
“You’d get nowhere without supporters,” Tom de Dorlodot tells us. Below, he explains why his supporters were really special – so special in fact, they won the team Supporter Award.
Like many teams, de Dorlodot (who's recovering well from the ankle injury that forced his retirement) actually had more than one helper. His official supporter was John Stapels, but also on hand was Sebastien Granville while he also relied on twice daily weather updates from Mathias Szpirglas.
“Supporters make a huge difference,” says Tom. “It’s a really difficult job. John was in charge of media. He was taking care of the blog, the electronics, charging batteries, loading tracks etc while Seb was really on the field, prepping my gear, cooking my food.
“We were one of the few teams not to have a campervan. Whereas some teams could go in the van and watch the weather on TV they had to put up a tent and prepare food. It made it a lot more difficult.”
This was Tom's fifth time competing in the Red Bull X-Alps and things have evolved quite a bit. “When I first competed I would go to buy food in shops myself! On my first night in 2007 I went to McDonalds to have dinner! We had no clue!
Now you have to optimize everything, be ready all the time whether it's your gear or food. Everything is more professional.”
He adds that they were all really disappointed when he had to pull out due to injury. “We were a great team, really tuned into each other. We all knew our tasks. We laughed a lot and just had fun!”
“Normally after Red Bull X-Alps I say I'm not doing it again, but this time I want to be there in two years with these guys because they were just perfect.”