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- Nationality: Germany
- Date of birth: 09 October 1990
- Profession: Student, but about to finish my Masters Degree until autumn
- Supporter: Kilian Hallweger
- Glider: Skywalk X-Alps 3
- Sponsors: Flugschule Luftikus, Flugschule Freiraum, Skywalk
When and why did you begin paragliding?I finished my paragliding license in April 2015, but the decision to begin paragliding was made in summer 2013 while I was on a mountaineering trip in the Swiss Alps. Me and two friends climbed the Nadelhorn and had to hike back down while there was a paragliding pilot just taking off from a snowfield. I was super stoked and had to try that out. Unfortunately I had to wait for a while to earn some money for the lessons and gear.
Do you paraglide competitively? List rankings and events.Hike & Fly Competitions: My main focus was and still is hike&fly competitions and smaller adventure races. I competed in my first Bordairrace in September 2016. Without training and special preparation I came 8th. But more important for me were two things: I made an awesome 100km flight although conditions were not that good and I was really fascinated about what my body was capable of as I nearly hiked my first 100km, so I became some kind of a Bordairracer. In 2017 I was 6th in Bordairrace Aschau and 2nd in Bordairrace Ramsau, which at the end got me an overall ranking for 2017. Besides that, I did my first longer hike and fly competition in 2017, which was Dolomiti Superfly. It was a great experience to get a feeling for the importance of tactics and know when it's worth pushing or not. Competing for more than just 2 days was also a big thing. I had to focus much more on regeneration, nutrition, planning and coordinating my supporter. At the end I came 12th, which was totally fine for me after some little mistakes. In 2018 I competed in all 3 Bordairraces and took 4th in Aschau, 1st in Graz and 1st in Kössen, which let me again win the overall ranking. Besides that I also won the Crossalps 2018. Ironfly was also a big part this year. The weather was more rainy than sunny, but during the 460km race course, my flight to walk ratio was almost 50:50. I made some really nice flights in the small flying windows so that I could finish 3rd. I could have finished 2nd but I decided to hike the last few kilometres to the goal for safety reasons. Flying competitions: As of this year, I've been flying normal competitions in the German league, but more or less to learn to fly more efficiently and faster - also learning to make the best out of the "no-flying“ days. Results are: Bavarian open 11th in serial class and 30th overall (part 1 German open) Kaiserwinkel Open 1st serial and 5th overall. Newcomer Challenge Greifenburg 1st which again requalified me for the German league for 2019. Ikarus Open 11th in serial class and 30th overall DHV XC: 2017: 4th in sports class 2018: at the moment 3rd in overall class
What is your mountaineering experience?I’ve spent at least one holiday a year in the Alps for hiking, climbing or mountainbiking. So, over the last 10 years I hiked/climbed several 2,000m and 3000m peaks. Since 2013, also some 4000m peaks. Here‘s a list of some of the higher attempts and summits during the last 5 years. -Summit of Zugspitze, 2962m via Stopselzieher Ferrata, covered in snow, hike and fly 1 day 11.2015 -Summit of Nadelhorn 4327m from Saas Fee in 2 days 08.2013 -Summit of Weissmies 4017m from Saas Grund in 1 day 08.2013 -Attempt of Rosenhorn 3689m, but too many crevasses, so we turned around at 3200m, 08.2015 -Summit of Dom 4545m in 2 days 08.2015 -Summit of Bishorn 4153m in 1 day hike and fly, takeoff from Cabane de Tracuit because of strong winds on the summit 08.2015 -Summit of Barre des Ecrins 4102m in 2 days 08.2016 -Summit of Gran Paradiso 4061m planned as hike and fly but not flyable 07.2017 -Summit of Galenstock 3586m via SO-Sporn 1 day hike and fly 07.2017 -Summit of Hochkönig, Königsjodler ferrata 1 day, hike and fly 09.2017 -Summit of Ortler 3905m, 1 day hike and fly 06.2018 -Summit of Wetterhorn 3692m via Willsgrätli 1 day hike and fly 07.2018
What is your paragliding experience?I am just flying for 3 and a half years now but I made in total around 630 flights with 750 hours of airtime. Most of the flying is XC flying, but also some soaring and gliding back down after some hiking or climbing. I made a few high alpine hike and flys. Besides that, I am also flying a speedwing sometimes and I can do basic acro maneuvers like stalls, SAT and wingovers. Also groundhandling is a big part when the wind is too strong for flying. The most difficult part in my flying career was a bivy trip through the southern Alps of New Zealand at the end of 2017. Me and 3 friends crossed the southern Alps from Queenstown to St. Arnaud just by hiking and flying for about 3 weeks. The conditions were not easy because of stronger winds. At some parts we flew thorugh pretty remote areas and it was not easy to get a proper weather forcast out there. As a preparation for this bivy trip I also made a short test bivy trip where I wrote an article in the Nova Team blog. Which can be found here: https://teamblog.nova.eu/weekend-vol-biv-through-the-southern-alps/
What is your adventure racing / endurance sport experience?I competed in multiple Bordairrace events. Walking more than 100km in one event is pretty normal when the weather is not the best for flying. The maximum distance which I had to hike during one single event was 136km with around 3000m of verticals. During the iron fly, I hiked in 5 days an average of 50km and 2000m of verticals each day. In 2011 I made a mountainbike crossing through the Dolomites with friends – we followed the transalp route 2011 from Bozen to Lake Garda in 5 days. Besides that, I am into cycling (race bicycle and mountainbike) for almost 15 years with an average of 10.000km each year, which let me build up pretty good basic endurance and regeneration over the years.
What does your typical training week consist of?I normally have 6 training days and 1 rest day a week. 4-5 days I am doing endurance training such as trail running, running, road cycling and mountain biking to train basic endurance. Short trainings are around 1 hour and longer ones up to 4 hours. In 1-2 endurance trainings I am also doing some interval training with higher intensity. In preparation for long hike & fly races, there‘s one long distance walk/run per week which I graduadly increase in distance up to a maximum of 50km (winter and early spring). 1-2 days per week are reserved for fitness and strength training where I am doing the basic exercises like squats, deadlifts, benchpress and pull ups.
What are your best and worst adventure/flying moments?It's hard to say what my best moment is as there are so many, and flying is just super cool. But we had a pretty intense moment on a flight during the bivy trip in New Zealand. One day we started on a small hill in some remote valley. Later on during that flight we found a 30-40km wide corridor with perfect thermal conditions in the middle of the island. On the east and west side the sea breeze was coming in like a wave of clouds with humid air. But the corridor allowed us to fly into the higher mountains on the west near Mt. Arrowsmith where we could climb up to 3000m and then could fly over the lower cloudbase which was around 2000m. This was an absolutely amazing moment tp share with my flying buddies. I also had a pretty scary moment on the Ironfly race. On day 2, I took off from Rifugio Alpe Colma for a glide down into the valley. However, I managed to climb and fly a bit. The cloudbase was much lower than the higher peaks around due to the high humidity. It looked fine for flying so I followed the valley towards the north and then entered into another valley. While doing so I recognized a thunderstorm at the middle of this valley around 25km infront of me. It really scared me that I could not see that coming. In the end it went well as I immediately spiralled down and landed on a higher landing field where I saw a barbecue fire. The smoke indicated to me that the wind was still safe to land.
What are the sporting moments you are most proud of?The Ironfly Race was super cool. It's not the result but that I made some good decisions which let me experience some really great moments. In the end, I was proud that I accepted my limits and for making the decision to hike to the goal on day 5.
When and how did you first hear about Red Bull X-Alps?A fellow student told me about Red bull X-Alps during preparations for an exam when I was doing a bachelor degree. He told me about the amount of kilometers the athletes are walking during the race over multiple days and I could not believe him. It sounded too crazy to be real. So now it is even more funny that I am writing this application.
What appeals to you about Red Bull X-Alps?I really like the adventure of paragliding and Red Bull X-Alps seems to be the ultimate adventure. Compared to a bivy trip, the route during Red Bull X-Alps is given. You have to follow the course and deal with what you get. That makes it tricky but also interesting. On a bivy trip you can choose the route depending on the weather.
What will be your strategy during the race?What works the best for me is to see the race as an adventure which I have to take on with my friends/supporter. So my focus will be just on myself and the team. There should be no stress to beat someone. The most important thing is to have a lot of fun. The race is long and hard enough anyway!
Why do you think you will make it to the finish?The perfect ending for such an adventure would be to go for a swim in Monaco, so I have to make it to the finish!