The world's toughest adventure race is so much more than hiking and flying across the Alps.
During the 2023 Red Bull X-Alps, some athletes managed to cover long distances in a single flight. Damien Lacaze was one of them. On day five he made history with the longest and furthest flight in the race: 266km in 11h13min.
11h hours in the air is a long time, so you might be wondering how athletes eat, drink, and use the toilet.
To perform in an adventure race like the Red Bull X-Alps, athletes must take care of their bodies. It is obvious that nutrition is key to running and hiking across the Alps, but what about in the air?
Athletes also burn calories while flying and it is important to eat and stay hydrated so they can stay sharp, make good decisions, and fly efficiently.
The in-flight menu for Eli Egger (AUT4) includes muesli bars, fruit squeezies, beef jerky, dates, and nuts. As for soul food, cookies are important to keep her mood up.
Damien Lacaze (FRA2) prefers things that are easy to eat. His choices in the air are cheese sandwiches, power gels, homemade energy bars and protein balls; he even manages to peel a banana on glide.
On the other hand, Tanguy Renaud-Goud (FRA5) seems to be the minimalist of the race and doesn't eat or drink much. "There's no time for that, but that's something we need to improve," said his supporter Tim Rochas. Tanguy prefers to eat and drink before and after the flight and usually has a sandwich and cookies.
Kinga Maztalerz (NZL) craves sugar in the air and her favorites are gummy bears, fruit sachets, and fruit bars covered in sugar, "because they're not sticky when you are wearing gloves".
As for beverages, although athletes prefer to have different drinks on the ground, the common choice for athletes in the air is just water. Both Tanguy and Kinga agree in drinking water before and after the flight, but Kinga also takes short sips during glides because it helps her stay focused.
Now the big question, how do athletes relieve themselves? As you might imagine, when you spend many hours in the air there comes a time when you have to go. Men have it easier than women. Male athletes use a condom catheter: a device with a tube attached which athletes route out of their harnesses.
Women have two choices, and none of them are fun. They either hold it or wear a diaper. Eli and Kinga both go for the diaper which is light to carry and easy to put on take off. This option is not the best because, as we all know, diapers can only hold so much.
The Red Bull X-Alps is so much more than hiking and flying, and details like these – to meet our physiological needs – make a big difference in the world's toughest adventure race.
Top image © zooom / Vitek Ludvik