For Juraj Koren it’s all about the adventure
Juraj Koren (SVK) made Turnpoint 7 Titlis today and couldn’t be happier about it. ‘Finally the hardest Turnpoint is behind me, and I am in the second half of the race, so I am happy,’ he said while hiking through a valley this evening.
Currently in 16th position he said the day hadn’t actually gone to plan. ’It should have been easier than it was, but we made a wrong route decision. The prediction was for a strong north wind, and east wind in the valleys, but nothing like that happened. So, we chose the wrong route.’
It meant he landed lower than he wanted to near the Turnpoint, and had to hike up through the snow.
However, he wasn’t too worried about that. ‘I’m good. I’m just burnt from the sun today, from walking on the glacier.’
He added: ‘I am not racing, my goal is to get to Monaco. So no running, just as much flying as possible. No blisters.
For Juraj the Red Bull X-Alps is an adventure, not a race. It means he has adopted a steady approach to each day. ‘I don’t run. I have some trouble with the knees and if you push too much it is easy to hurt it. It is better to walk two weeks than to run six days and then you are done.’
Adventure is in the 27-year-old athlete’s heart. Outside of the Red Bull X-Alps he is involved in a long-term project to climb and fly from a virgin summit on all seven continents on Earth. Last year he was climbing and flying in Antarctica – after the Red Bull X-Alps he is heading to Greenland. He is used to dreaming big.
It’s that dream of adventure that made him want to take part in the Red Bull X-Alps. So how does the reality match up?
‘The reality of the Red Bull X-Alps is really nice,’ he said. ‘I was afraid of the very hard route, but for me the hardest part is now behind me. Reality compared to dreams? I think the Red Bull X-Alps is better than it was in my dreams.’
A highlight of the race so far has been the day he flew across the spine of the Alps twice, and signed in to Turnpoint 4 Kronplatz.
‘That day I thought I would be able to fly 50km to the main ridge, from the north, then bomb out in the snow, hike to the pass, and maybe in the evening just glide down to the other side. And then I flew 193km! I was super happy! My hiking that day was about 5km. I just slept where I landed.’
This evening he was planning to go ‘as high as possible’ until his team caught up with him. ‘And then I’ll enjoy food, a beer, a massage – and sleep. A lot!’
Follow Juraj on his adventure through the Alps on Live Tracking!
Photos © zooom / Honza Zak, Harald Tauderer, Sebastian Marko