Thursday, July 4, 2013
Red Bull X-Alps 2013. Three Days To Go
All week, athletes arrive from all over the world to the race headquarters. Unfortunately for Michael Gebert (GER1), he will not be one of them. The German athlete announced that he is retiring from the race due to a persistent ankle injury.
"I tried everything but I'm simply not in condition to put up a good fight and give it my all", he said.
But for the rest of the field, they are all putting the finishing touches to their race strategies and equipment as they prepare for the epic 1,031km quest over the Alps to Monaco. Eyes will be fixed on the weather, which has seen snowfall in recent days on the mountains — and each other as the athletes size each other up.
Ahead lies a tough challenge that will test them to the limits, says Red Bull X-Alps mastermind Hannes Arch: "It's not just a physical challenge. It's about the body and the mind. The athletes have to perform for 18 hours a day and sustain that for more than 10 days. It's a real adventure!".
Athletes are not just among the world's top paraglider pilots but also adventurers with years of mountain experience. Adds Arch: "You can be the best distance pilot but you still need to have a feel for mountaineering, climbing and be totally savvy weather-wise".
The starting gun will fire at 11.30am on July 7th in Salzburg's Mozartplatz. Fans can follow the race drama as it unfolds thanks to the latest advances in GPS technology. Red Bull Mobile Live Tracking lets fans and supporters follow the race in real time, including on smartphones and tablets. Live weather information, powered by wetter.tv, 3D maps, real-time updates are just a few of the features that will bring the race to life.
The Red Bull X-Alps 2013 will be the sixth edition of the world's toughest adventure race. It starts on July 7th and will see 31 athletes from 21 countries battling over 1,000km across the Alps from Salzburg to Monaco via 10 mandatory turnpoints, in the fastest time possible. Every kilometer must be covered either on foot or flown by paraglider.
It's a formidable undertaking and takes place in one of most breathtaking yet also unforgiving environments. Each team consists of one athlete and up to two supporters. No technical or outside assistance is allowed. Athletes can race between the hours of 05:00 to 22:30. But in a new twist for 2013 that promises to make the race even more exciting, athletes can each pull one 'Night Pass' that will allow them to push-on through the night on foot.
The race requires expert paragliding experience and a very high level of endurance fitness — it's not uncommon for athletes to hike up to 100km in a day. The 2011 edition was won by Christian Maurer (SUI) in 11 days, 4 hours and 22 minutes. The 2013 edition comes on the ten-year anniversary of the first Red Bull X-Alps held in 2003.