Yesterday, the 2017 Red Bull X Alps began. Touted as the world’s toughest adventure race, the eight edition of the race began in Salzburg, Austria and finishes in Monaco. 31 athletes from 20 different countries compete in the straight distance race covering 1138km across the Alps to Monaco via seven check points through seven different countries.
Athletes travel by foot or by paraglider and you can watch the athletes through a live tracker on Red Bull X Alps.
2016 Winner Christian Maurer from Switzerland discusses Red Bull X Alps for BNQT Inside Access.
BNQT: From an outsiders perspective, this combination of events in the competition seem like an odd pair. What are the origins of this competition? How did this competition come together? What made you want to get involved?
Maurer: The idea was to walk and fly by paraglider only from the glacier to the sea. In 2003 I saw the the first edition of Red Bull X-Alps, I was to young to participate. After three times watching my friends competing, I felt ready to take this challenge on me as well. I had to train my body hard to walk all the important parts but with my Supporter as a Mountain guide it was very interesting!
BNQT: To train for a competition like this requires a very specialized skill set. What does a average training regimen look like for you as an athlete?
Maurer: I do around 60 hours of training a month. I focus on power and enduring by hiking with my Paraglider which is 7-12kg heavy. Also flying is a important part of my training, therefor I also do different competitions in flying.
BNQT: Is it possible to host a competition like this in locations throughout the globe or because of the specials nature of the contest, there are only a few select locations?
Maurer: I think it is possible to compete everywhere but the Alps are easy and perfect for this. Last year we were in the Pyrenees, it was a 440km race from the ocean to the Mediterranean Sea and that was also nice but hard.
BNQT: How do you win a competition like this?
Maurer: I think first one needs a dream to complete this adventure and also rely on the wind then the experienced pilots can do big steps in front while good weather. Finally all the teams have to work together all eighteen hours a day from the first minute to the goal line of the day. There is a goal to not make mistakes, but everyone makes mistakes, it’s all about how you recover from those mistakes.