The rookie athlete learnt one big lesson during the race: not to challenge Ferdinand van Schelven again. Here’s what else he’s put in his learnings file.
Looking back now after six months. How does it feel?
The first thing that comes to mind is that I had a really good time with my friends, the people supporting me, everybody I met. There was a good spirit on the whole route. The second thing is how exhausting it was! There were lots of ups and downs, you could feel your body really hurting, especially during the last 100km.
How long did it take to recover?
The first two to three weeks afterwards I just felt so empty. Every strength is pulled from your body. You’re not happy, not sad, just like, ‘ahhhhhh’. You work so hard, you’re in the race, then it’s over. It’s like the wheels come off.
Everything worked with your supporters?
There is definitely great potential to optimise! I learnt that the team is the most important part. Because we didn’t know what to expect we were therefore not very well organised all the time. And my supporters also had to organise the friends and people who also came along who would ask what they could do and that created more stress for my supporters.
What did you do right?
After the second day we tried to focus on my strengths and not just run run run; fly fly fly, but try to be a bit more relaxed. My instinct works better when I have not too much pressure. So we decided not to look at the rankings, focus on flying skills and recovery. That’s when I moved up to 5th place.
What did you do wrong?
Then I made the mistake of taking things too easy, not hiking enough, waiting too long for thermals and I fell back. I could have reached Aschau half a day earlier.
Were there any standout moments?
One highlight was hiking up the Turlo pass near Monte Rosa on Day 10. I was walking up with my girlfriend Anna and it was the most amazing sunrise and I just remember enjoying the moment, thinking how could this be possible? I’d previously broken my ankle and wasn’t sure it would hold out but I had no problems with my body. There were so many good things it was hard to realise. Everything was working out so well, I was so happy. That was the most intense moment.
And next you did that crazy launch off the Matterhorn?
It looks frightening on the video but it was not so hard to take off.
That was one of the toughest things I’ve ever done! My feet were still fresh, I thought, this is the way to catch Ferdy. It was funny, I wasn’t sure if I should try, then I started running and Ferdy called me. He said, ‘Simon, if you’re going to run, I’m going to run too,’ and that really motivated me. The running was really emotional, you’re using all the energy you have. My supporters pushed me on but about 40 minutes before the race end I came to a river and realised I couldn’t catch Ferdy. At that moment I thought, let’s finish it here. It was an awesome feeling.
Are you going to sign up again?
If it’s possible; if I have a good support crew, sponsors and my body’s in good health, then sure! It was clear to me when I got to Monaco that I wanted to do it again. I enjoyed the race!
What are you up to now?
I’m setting up a special tandem flying business for people who want to experience hike and fly, not just go up in a cable car and fly down.
Check out www.simonoberrauner.com to learn more about the young Austrian!
Photos © zooom / Harald Tauderer, zooom / Vitek Ludvik, zooom / Honza Zak