In Kitzbühel, Austria, 32 athletes raced away from the start of the hardest adventure race in the world. Athletes were moving quickly to Turnpoint 1 Hahnenkamm. reaching speeds of 5km/h on the climb.
There were cheering crowds surrounding the launch site and flags being waved in support of the many nationalities taking part. Lenart Oblak (SLO) and Jordi Vilalta (ESP) arrived together at Turnpoint 1 Hahnenkamm in a time of approximately 55 minutes.
To put that into perspective, the men's FKT (Fastest Known Time) to climb a vertical km was set in 2021 by Kilian Jornet at Vengetind, Norway with a time of 28m 48s – but he wasn’t carrying 6-7kg of equipment.
With many athletes at the Turnpoint, all trying to quickly transition at the same time, it was Pal Takats (HUN) who took to the air first, closely followed by Aaron Durogati (ITA2). After them, it was a non-stop stream of launches. Race reporter Tarquin Cooper said: "What an incredible sight this is!"
The launch site was clear of cloud and the wind was perfect. Ed Ewing, editor of Cross Country Magazine said it was perfect for flying, adding, “If I wasn’t doing this, I’d be up there too.”
Race organizer and co-founder, Ulrich Grill said: “It’s one of the most spectacular starts in the Red Bull X-Alps I’ve ever seen.”
Top image © zooom / Christian Lorenz