Only 5 weeks to go until Red Bull X-Alps 2017!
The 8th edition of Red Bull X-Alps is only 5 weeks away and for many of the athletes, it will be the biggest race of their career. Starting July 02, 2017, 32 adventurers from 21 nations will hike and fly a straight-line distance of 1,138km across the Alps from Salzburg to Monaco.
Traveling only by foot or paraglider, the exhausting journey will push even the most accomplished athletes and pilots to their very limits. Strategy and training are crucial, but are they prepared for the adventure that lies ahead?
Toma Coconea is the only athlete to appear in all eight editions of Red Bull X-Alps. Over the years, he has secured two second place finishes and proved himself as a serious endurance runner. Toma is one to watch as he knows both the contest and the different strategic vantage points very well. “In May I´ll be going to the Alps for the first time this year, and then back again two weeks before the race to verify the route checkpoints”, he explains.
Returning for his second Red Bull X-Alps is Nick Neynens who took a respectable 10th place at his 2015 debut after fighting his way back from the back of the pack. This year he will be looking to improve on his performance. With his home soil so far from Europe, he will rely almost entirely on his research. He explains; “I’m not checking the route in person, but there is a lot of information available. The new sections have so many options you would need a lot of time to explore them all.”
Three-time Red Bull X-Alps athlete Evgenii Griaznov says that the route has changed a great deal over the years. With the recent announcement of the first ever Slovenian turnpoint, his focus is on exploring the southern parts of the route. Griaznov claims that his training will be fueled by traditional Russian meals such as golubtsy; a kind of cabbage roll stuffed with meat or vegetables. As for his mental preparation, he says; ‘‘I already have a good mindset that works for me. I’ll see you at the finish line in Monaco.’’
Aerobatic legend Pal Takats made his first and only Red Bull X-Alps appearance in 2009. After a knee injury and a career change to long distance flying, he is back to make his mark. He now lives and trains in the Innsbruck area and follows a strict training program which focuses on running with lots of hiking and flying. When it comes to competing, he says; “The most important thing is strategy; and to make as few mistakes as possible. You can never be too prepared for this race!”
For Jose Ignacio Arévalo Guede this will be his first ever Red Bull X-Alps. In recent years he has been highly successful in national contests, but can he bring the same performance to the Alps? In June, he plans to reduce his intense training routine by dedicating the final 15 days to softer workouts. In doing so, he hopes to be both well rested and fully fit for the start of the race. He says “Red Bull X-Alps is the biggest challenge in the world of paragliding and I feel very fortunate to participate.’’
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a rookie or a veteran; everybody prepares differently for Red Bull X-Alps. The new route down to Slovenia and the unpredictable weather conditions present an almost infinite number of possibilities during the race. For this reason alone, a single strategy simply won’t cut it. Taking the title requires physical strength, unbreakable spirit and above all, versatility.
There’s no telling what will happen, but it will be a nail-biting adventure like no other.
Tune into Live Tracking from 29 June 2017 right here on redbullxalps.com and follow the race closer than ever before!