While I’ve been mostly occupied with the Raid the North Extreme this week, another event was taking place in Europe that is definitely worth a mention as well. That’s where the Red Bull X-Alps 2011 was taking place, which is a very unique race that is a demanding test of endurance, skill, and nerve as well.
For those who haven’t heard of it before, and I’m one of them, the X-Alps is an event that pits endurance athletes on a non-stop race through the Alps, starting in Salzburg, Austria and ending in Monaco. Participants in the competition, and there were 31 of them, must travel either on foot or by paraglider. Yep, you read that right, foot or paraglider. So, as a result, you have athletes running through the mountains, carrying their paragliding gear with them, while also scrambling to higher heights, so that they can launch themselves into the air and use their gliders to make progress.
The race got underway on Sunday, July 17th, and yesterday the first competitor crossed the finish line. That was Swiss athlete Christian Maurer who managed to glide the final 60km (37. miles) to the finish and land on a floating platform especially created for the event.
The rest of the competitors are expected to filter in between now and tomorrow, bringing a close to the race for 2011.
To find out more about the event, and see Maurer’s winning ride, check out the video below.
Red Bull X-Alps: Day 12 from Planetmountain.com on Vimeo.
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4 thoughts on “Christian Maurer wins Red Bull X-Alps 2011”
I have been obssessively following Red Bull X-Alps since it started on Sunday, 14 days ago. I first followed it in 2009 (the race takes place every two years).
Oh wow! I do know the South African competitior (I hadn't met him in 2009 but I knew his supporter – my friend's brother).
X-Alps is the most unbelievable race. Yes, paragliding and hiking but a bug chunk really is on foot. Ultradistance stuff. Straight through the Alps – mega distances. Athletes are looked after by their support crew.
As for the coverage of the event… The online tracking is incredible. Whether just following on the basic map, which is what I've done, or switching on to the 3D satellite view, which I did briefly a few times… absolutely amazing. Tracking so good that you can see the person moving down a road or climbing up a mountainside to a launch spot… or flying and doing spirals as they catch thermals… quite mind-blowing. You can see all of it. (on the tracking if you click on the hike/fly option the tracking line is thin for hiking and fatter for flying so you can see who has done what discipline and where).
And then the news updates during the day – ongoing, brief, regular. Awesome photos too of the competitiors posted daily – nice selection. And the videos… fabulous. There are daily videos from the event – I really liked the ones where they took clips from videos, posted by competitors and their support crew, and put them all together.
My guy was ill for a few days and then was eliminated on Tuesday. Every 48hrs there's a back-end Charlie elimination – makes it very exciting for the guys to race to try not to be last (great for spectators too).
Even though I was following Pierre Carter (South Africa), I also got totally into following a number of the athletes. Goodness, I can rattle off their names, which I certainly wouldn't have been done before. This is an invitation-only event and these guys are all superb athletes, navigators and pilots.
We also had a nice bunch of people on Twitter, under the has tag #rbxalps. Really great when someone sees something happening on tracking and lets the rest of us know about it. I wasn't really much on the Facebook group, which was also happening.
As for the winner, Christian 'Chrigel' Maurer – the guy is amazing. Can sniff out a thermal from a mile away!
News is that this event will be coming to North America in summer 2012. Called Red Bull X-West. I'll definitely be following.
As I'm not a paraglider (and not intending to become one), I can only sigh, scratch my itchy feet and hope that there there would be an ultra-ultra adventure foot race component to this event at some stage. Hike only vs hike/fly… My entry would so be submitted already!
All in all, an exceptional event on the ground and in cyberspace for all of us X-Alps followers.
During the race I wrote two posts. This was a fun one – I was glued to tracking. It was finally a day of good weather for flying – the first in the race and all the pilots were taking to the air. I just loved the thermal patterns on tracking.
This post was a day before and it is specifically about the tracking. You'll see screen shots of stats linked to the tracking – distance flown/hiked for the day and in total. They also had a thing later on with ground speed, elevation etc. On the 3D tracking there was a thing with a 3D wall – very useful to get the perspective of the pilot's height from the ground when they're in the air – otherwise the tracking line is kinds floating without perspective. Amazing.
Thanks Lisa! Sounds awesome, and I'm sad that I hadn't heard about it sooner and followed along. Seems like a great race. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for the 2012 edition!
Tracking so good that you can see the person moving down a road or climbing up a mountainside to a launch spot…
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