It’s was a gruelling second day for the thirty athletes in the Red Bull X-Alps 2011.
Kaoru Ogisawa (JPN1, picture attached) was the only athlete to pass the Dachstein turnpoint last night, and led the assault towards the Grossglockner today. During the night several athletes sheltered from snow storms in mountain huts on the massif. As dawn broke, weather conditions remained poor. Ogisawa was the first to make his move, heading back down a via ferrata and making his way on foot to the third turnpoint.
Meanwhile, Honza Rejmanek (USA), Mike Kung (AUT3) and Pierre Carter (RSA) waited atop the Dachstein for a break in the clouds. Their patience was rewarded, and the airborne athletes leap-frogged over the heads of several race leaders slogging it out on foot beneath them.
By early afternoon Christian Amon (AUT 2) had stolen the lead from Ogisawa, who had held it since yesterday evening. It is definitely third time lucky for Amon: in both the 2005 and 2009 editions he was forced to withdraw on the first day due to injury.
The first two days of the race have shown how dramatically this race develops. Yesterday’s sunny skies and great flying conditions were quickly demolished by the arrival of a cold front.
Strong winds and low cloud made flying difficult for athletes as they neared the massif, and they had to land on the scree slopes and battle it out on foot. It was as if the event’s barometer had been set to ‘change’.
Now, anything could happen. Fifteen front-runners are racing along the valleys towards SalzburgerLand's Grossglockner, and hundreds of thousands are watching around the world through Live Tracking, ServusTV and the world’s media. The first athlete to reach the Grossglockner turnpoint will be crowned Glockner King and will win a special trophy and prize.