This is what you should start with now to be ready for the next application phase!
It’s never too early to start your race preparation. One year before the next application phase opens we speak to two aspiring athletes thinking of entering, Sepp Inniger, who supported Patrick von Känel, and Tom Friedrich, one of Simon Oberrauner’s supporters. Meanwhile, Race Director Christoph Weber reveals what’s he’s looking for on your application.
Let’s be honest, the first thing any selector is going to do is look at your results. You need to get out there and demonstrate you can hang out with the best of them. “Next year I hope to do Ironfly,” says Tom Friedrich, one of Simon Oberrauner’s supporters, who’s been dreaming of entering the Red Bull X-Alps since the age of 12. “I was there one year ago. Chrigel [Maurer], Simon [Oberrauner] and Patrick von Känel were there and you can measure yourself against athletes. That’s important if you want to go to the Red Bull X-Alps.”
Record your activities
As every explorer knows, claims require proof. Get into the habit of recording your activities, flights and adventures. “The important thing is to have a good documentation of these things,” says race directory Christoph Weber. “The best would be a nice short video or a short descriptive text, with some pictures. All this should be put together in a list of links.” Save yourself a ton of time by getting into the discipline of doing it immediately afterwards, and not trying to recall details a year later.
“It is helpful to gather nice stories like vol biv action and big cross-country flights,” adds Weber. “Long flights, adventures and of course experience in the Alps, but also alpine mountaineering skills are important,” he says. If you’re a competition pilot, get some hike and fly adventures under your wing.
Take up ski-mo
It’s what many of the 2019 lineup did over winter to prepare their legs. Chrigel Maurer and Paul Guschlbauer are both big fans. Ski-mountaineering races (and ski-touring in general) are a great way to build aerobic endurance and quad strength. Races typically involve a mix of punishing uphill and fearless descents. “I will make a lot of ski mountaineering endurance training and competitions just to get the body used to such big strains, says aspiring athlete Sepp Inniger, who supported Patrick von Känel this year.
Research the race
Having an inside understanding of the race is a big advantage and there are many athletes who have served their apprenticeship as supporters. “I supported Simon in 2017 and 2019,” says Friedrich. “I think it’s really good experience to see how the race really works.” Don’t be afraid to postpone your race ambitions and support. As the saying goes, time spent in reconnaissance is time never wasted.
Ask an athlete
Athletes are always happy to share their own experience. Ask their advice. Chrigel Maurer has an X-Alps Academy, in the past Nelson de Freyman (2015, 2017) has led guided hike and fly trips across the Alps. There’s a wealth of experience out there. Tap into it.
Start selecting your supporters
Every athlete is only as good as their supporter. Getting the team dynamics right is vital if you want to have a successful (and enjoyable) race. The best way to test your team is to put it through race conditions and see how you cope when you’re all a bit hungry, tired and you realized you left the sleeping bags at home. That’s when you see whether you have the right attitude to last 12 days together.
Photos © zooom / Harald Tauderer