Gavin McClurg (USA1) poses for a portrait during the Red Bull X-Alps preparations in Wagrain, Austria on June 10, 2019


veteran3 Races
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  • Nationality: United States
  • Date of birth: 20 April 1972
  • Profession: Paragliding pilot/ Athlete, CEO Offshore Odysseys
  • Supporter: Ben Abruzzo
  • Glider: Zeolite S
  • Sponsors: Patagonia, ONNIT, Garmin, Niviuk

When and why did you begin paragliding?I was sailing around the world and my girlfriend at the time handed me a wing and showed me how to groundhandle - this was 2004. I took a couple tandems and thought it was painfully boring. But one day I got to take the controls, and when I learned you could use a wing to fly distance and land somewhere where you had no idea I was totally hooked. I've been a junky ever since.

Do you paraglide competitively? List rankings and events.1st Place US Nationals 2015, 2nd place Pre-PWC Colombia 2014. I compete in the PWC once or twice a year if I have time and US events in non X-Alps years.

What is your mountaineering experience?I was a guide/instructor for Outward Bound in the Northwest of the United States for several years where I instructed rock climbing and raft/kayak guiding. I have mountaineered in the Andes (Bolivia and Peru), run many class 5-6 rivers in North and Central America and have done vol-biv expeditions across the Canadian Rockies ("The Rockies Traverse" in 2014 with Will Gadd, a Red Bull Production), the Sierra Mountains of California ("Surfing the Sierras"), the Wasatch Mountains of Utah and Wyoming ("500 Miles to Nowhere") and recently completed a full paragliding/foot traverse of the Alaska Range from east to west, nearly 800 kilometers (37 days to complete), which was documented by Red Bull for their Explorers Series.

What is your paragliding experience?I crossed the Canadian Rockies with Will Gadd in 2014, the longest series of connected flights that I believe still to this day have ever been flown. That mission took us 18 days. I crossed the full length of the Alaska Range (500 miles) in 2016 and finished the last 1/3rd of that route solo. I currently hold the foot launch distance record in North America (set in 2013- 240 miles from my home town of Sun Valley). I competed in the 2015 X-Alps (8th place) and the 2017 X-Alps (14th place).

What is your adventure racing / endurance sport experience?2015 and 2017 Red Bull X-Alps. I sailed around the world for 13 years, completing nearly 2 full circumnavigations.

What does your typical training week consist of?My training regimen for the X-Alps has become quite well-known. Because I'm older and short - I gotta train hard! In both the 2015 and 2017 races I felt awesome at the end and would have really liked to just keep going!

What are your best and worst adventure / flying moments?Best: Flying the full length of the Alaskan Range and finishing solo; crossing the Canadian Rockies with Will Gadd; being the first American to make goal in the Red Bull X-Alps in 2015; and every time I launch. Worst: getting blown over the back and landing in a river in the Dominican Republic and walking out over a series of massive waterfalls; nearly getting killed in the Red Bull X-Alps 2015; getting caught in a gust-front in the Wallis of Switzerland; and battling SUPER high winds in Alaska on a very dicey day!

What are the sporting moments you are most proud of?Red Bull X-Alps 2015 and 2017, becoming a Patagonia ambassador, and making the US Ski Team.

When and how did you first hear about Red Bull X-Alps?I've been an Red Bull X-Alps junkie since I first heard of it in 2007. In 2011 I was captaining our vessel "Discovery" and my supporter Bruce Marks and I would watch the event on our laptops whenever we could get cell service in small little ports in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. In 2013 I hung my harness in front of the computer and didn't move for 7 days, watching Chrigel massacre the Alps by air. It is the best race in the world!!!

Have you competed in Red Bull X-Alps before and if so, when?Yes - 2015 and 2017

What appeals to you about Red Bull X-Alps?The risk, the strategy, the teamwork, the physical challenge - it is everything awesome wrapped up into one event! I've been fortunate to have done a lot of crazy and wonderful things but the Red Bull X-Alps was the highlight of my life in 2015 and I've been dying to do it again since I got to the raft - Although I didn't actually land on the raft!!! And in 2017 we didn't make it which was a huge disappointment but I felt strong at the end and made a fraction of the mistakes we made in 2015 so it's time for another go.

What will be your strategy during the race?The same as it has been - have a blast, laugh a lot, be TOTALLY prepared and fit and punch it as hard as we can but be smart.

Why do you think you will make it to the finish?The Alaska Traverse made the X-Alps look like child's play. I'm a sucker for punishment and know what it takes.

What scares you the most about the event?The race can be absurdly dangerous. Training, good decision making and understanding thoroughly that it's a just a race - it's not worth getting injured or worse. I understand the risks but proper training mitigates all but dumb decisions, which I don't plan to make.

Have you ever done anything of this magnitude before?Alaska Traverse was harder! And it was 37 days so this is just a warm up:)

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