has been decided...
Three skywalk pilots survived the most difficult outdoor race in the world and persevered to the finish. Paul Guschlbauer was able to secure third place in the overall standings, after an unbelievably exciting fight to overtake Toma Coconea. Toma, also known as "the Duracell man", decided yesterday morning to run, and thus had to cover the distance of almost a double marathon before reaching the last turn point. Red Paul decided to fly, until the ocean winds threw a monkey wrench into his plans only 9 km from goal.
Toma and Red Paul clearly gave it everything they had, an unbelievable performance from both athletes, and made the struggle for second place a nerve-wracking pleasure to watch! Clement Latour, our man from France, was able to salvage 8th place, amazing when you consider his 24-hour penalty for entering 100m into restricted airspace near the Großglockner. Just think what he could have achieved without the penalty. By the way, this guy actually biked around the world and climbed the highest peak in each country in 26 months. Clément and his friend wanted to fly a tandem from the top of Mt. Everest, but there was no wind. Andy Frötscher, by now the grandfather of the Red Bull X-Alps with four races under his belt, was able to secure a spot in the middle of the field with 15th place. On Sunday, Red Bull hosted the awards ceremony in Monaco with a party for the competitors and their teammates afterwards. Our teams are all in good health and Sara from Team Guschlpower passes on a "warm thanks" to all of the website readers who wished them well along the arduous route to Monaco.
Tomorrow there will be a small welcome back party. On Wednesday, we have a live interview planned with Paul and Sara, which we will be posting online, and we are considering a forum discussion on Thursday afternoon. There is still a lot of excitement!
Is the Red Bull X-Alps over this evening? After a relaxing birthday spent in Saint-Étienne-de-Tinée, Chrigel Maurer is on the move again. Obviously he knew exactly where he wanted to start this morning and the weather forecast looked good for flying.Yesterday was spent on a lot of failed attempts at flight. The right tactics played a major role. Red Paul made it an exciting race to second position with clever route choices and a landing in between short flights. For a short time, he was only 3 km on Coco's tail as the crow flies, before the duracell man turned on his turbo jets again. We will have to wait and see if the northern route that Chrigl took will work for Paul. Martin Müller also lays within range of the podium in fourth position. The race for fifth to eighth place is just as exciting. Nothing is decided yet! Clément is assured of a placing within the top 10. Andy is still in the race, too. We are psyched to see what happens today, when Chrigel will arrive in Monaco and who can make it to Monaco within the 48h-time limit!
Here a link to Pauls Homepage
here for pictures
and here a link to the newest Videos
The X-Alps is slowly coming to an end, Christian Maurer is less than 70km from Monaco!
The fight for second and third position is exciting again, Red Paul was able to gain some ground on Toma with a clever route around the glacier to the Matterhorn and then south to the Aosta valley. Martin Müller had a great day yesterday, winding up in fourth place. Is it that we have 3 skywalk pilots in the race that makes things so exciting? Many pilots are glued to the live tracking on their laptops. Good thing that the paragliding community is so small, or nothing would get accomplished for the duration of the race!Andy made it over to the top 16 yesterday with room to breath. Clement is safely within the middle of the field and a top 8 position is well within reach for him. We think they are all winners, because we can scarcely conceive of the effort they are putting out every single day. The level of concentration and endurance required is almost staggering. Maybe today will be the day that Chrigel Maurer reaches Monaco (it is actually his birthday today) and in that case, the race only last another 48 hours. Certainly there is still the chance that others could finish and we have our fingers crossed! Here for pictures and videosWhat a day for the X-Alps! The tension level was crazy, since multiple pilots decided on the route around Locarno to avoid getting nabbed in the no-fly zone and our very own Red Paul was among them. Crossing Lago Maggiore served Paul well, as well as Martin Müller and Michael Gebert, we take our hats off to the coolness factor that these guys have! Currently, Martin and Paul are between Monte Rosa and the Matterhorn at ca. 3000m en route to the turn point on the Matterhorn and the fight over the second and third positions is totally open, since Toma Coconea is only 5km away!
But it is also close behind the top three and the field is slowly encroaching. Christian Maurer is still wide ahead with more than 100km advantage and it is simply breathtaking to follow his speed when he takes to the air. If you view his route in detail, it not only looks like he knows exactly where to adjust his route, but he seems to also have a second sense of where the thermals are over every little hill. Clément was able to fly until late evening with his P3, he chose the northern route on the trail of Brit Jon Chambers. A new X-Alps day is here, and the end is already in sight, seeing as Maurer has less than 170k to Monaco! Here for the latest pictures and videos.
Monday, July 25. 9:30 a.m.
Bad weather has most of the X-Alps in its grip. Unfortunately, you could say that Christian Maurer would need a 24 hour penalty and the others would need perfect weather to make things really exciting again...
Lots of hiking has been required and the field chasing Chrigel has a large deficit to overcome.
After reaching the turn point on the Matterhorn, Chrigel headed north and is now underway in Wallis. It should be interesting if his closest chasers ( Coconea, van Schelven, Dorolodot, Paul…) choose the same route. Our Red Paul mixed it up pretty well on Sunday and now he knows exactly how much turbulence the POISON3 can take! He left from Piz Palü and flew almost to Comersee in conditions that most pilots would not even touch. If you were watching live tracking, you could easily feel for Paul as you watched the sink values. But his flying on this day got him into 6. place. On Sunday evening, Reinhard spoke with Sara for a long time on the telephone. Sara said 'The last few days have been exhausting, with repeated showers. We tried last night to dry Paul's wing with a towel in our bus, everything is wet through and through. I sleep a maximum of 3 hours a day and Paul got a bit hypothermic on the Großglockner. But now he is feeling better and we will make up some places, I am sure". Clement, our second skywalk Pilot, lost some time, not hard to imagine with his speed the past few days trying to make up for his 24-hour penalty. Andy has to be careful now that he does not get eliminated, since every 48 hours the last one in the field is eliminated. At the current time, a handful of athletes are close together and it is very tight! Today is a flying day and the cards will be mixed again.
here for photos
Thursday, July 21. 2011...
Things are heating up! While Toma is nipping at Chrigel's heels en route to Brixen, Red Paul has chosen another route altogther! After making the turn point at Tre Cime, he is turning south and seems to be choosing a westerly route through the Dolomite mountain range! The weather just might cooperate today and we are all routing for you, Paul. And one more thing: respect for your earlier decisions! Clement can start again at last and it is amazing how long a 24-hour penalty can last. Perhaps the race directors should rethink this one, considering that the degree of this penalty can rob the athlete of any chance of a win or podium place. A 10-hour penalty is hard enough to overcome! Clément has fallen back to 18th place, but if he can get back to his earlier level of performance, he is sure to make up some spots today. Andy is only 10 km behind Clément and is gliding down in the early morning hours,hoping to make some time. Now that he is nearing his hometown, he is really putting the pedal down!
Here for pictures and here a link to the latest videos
Wednesday, July 20. 9:30 a.m.
Yesterday was quite an exciting day for everyone following the X-ALPS, even more so for the athletes. Unbelievable conditions with wind speeds over 100km/h and still quite a few pilots managing well in the air! Since the live-tracking was disabled for several hours, spectators could not consistently view the results, but in the end it was clear that Christian Maurer had exploited his advantage with an inspiring flight performance. In second position, Coco Tomea and our own Red Paul in third position! Generally, we questioned how anyone could gain even a kilometer in conditions such as these, but these boys simply fly in a league of their own. Videos proved that these are not the conditions for your average hobby pilot. Clément unfortunately took a time penalty of 24 hours for entering into forbidden airspace (100m), as did 4 other pilots. It must be harsh to wait around while the others battle on, but those are the rules of the competition, but especially harsh for Clément, who had made up a lot of time and was holding on to fourth position at times. And things were even worse for Ogi, who was eliminated from the race and for Christian Amon who had to withdraw due to a painful knee injury. Chrigel made it to Tre Cime (drei Zinnen)and Paul is on the way to Sillian, not too far to go to the Drei Zinnen, although he spent a very wet and uncomfortable night in the snowfall!
Info: We have been asked by many pilots which wing our pilots are flying with. Here is some information on the X-ALPS POISON3:
"The POISON X-ALPS from Paul, Clément and Andi is much lighter and developed especially for the X-ALPS. The basis for the concept is the POISON3.
The goal was to make a lighter wing in material and surface, but without losing any performance. On the contrary, we had to gain performance. It was necessary to increase aspect ratio with fewer cells and adjust the contruction accordingly along with the material selection. The profile, individual cell connections, line length etc, were all taken from the POISON3 series. The P3 X-ALPS is a success for skywalk's young design engineer, Red Paul, after just a year of developement and 5 prototypes. The wing has more performance and accordingly is more demanding to fly. Even with sponsorship on the wing, it weighs only 4,3 kg in size XS/S." Greetings, Arne Wehrlin skywalk
In Sillian, Paul will meet up with our Flight School partner Blue Sky. Andy is doing well, making friends with the bad weather conditions. So far this year the motto seems to be: Lots of muscle gel, head down and keep marching! Here for pics!
Tuesday, July 19. 9:30 a.m.
Paul is causing a furor!
With his very individual decisions, Paul Guschlbauer is mixing it up with the top dogs in the X-ALPS.
After a wearying march with Chrigel yesterday, both took off on a short flight near the Wagrain in the late afternoon. After landing, Chrigel took a different route from Paul, gaining a small time advantage, which was then quickly eaten up by Paul thanks to his interesting short cut! Both then gained on the leaders, Ogi and Christian Amon, with Amon dropping out today due to a knee injury and Ogi being elimnated for entering forbidden airspace.
Never to be underestimated, Toma Coconea remains close to the leaders this morning. The three, Guschlbauer, Maurer and Coconea are en route together in the direction of the Grossglockner. Clement Latour also gained yesterday with his intelligent flying. Taking off from Dachstein he passed the majority of the field and landed among the top ten.In contrast to most of the athletes, he was able to crank it up and build an advantage. He must have hiked again into the night or early this morning, as he now finds himself in an exceptional 5th position! Andy Frötscher was not so lucky in his start, but this race is far from over and he can expect to make up some places. The X-ALPS is more exciting than ever, and we have our fingers crossed for our team! Today looks like flying, time for the POISONs to escape from their bags….
Info:Paul is flying with a lightweight competition harness from skywalk, specially fitted for him. His harness weighs ca. 1.3 kg with some extras. The original prototype, constructed according to the same concept, weighs only 980 grams.
Only a few more days!
And the race begins...
the wild hunt over the mountains and through the valleys, on foot or under wing: the legendary X-ALPS is almost upon us. Our 3 boys, Clement, Andi and Paul are now in the final phase of competition: running through the last equipment checks, optimising the tiniest of details, watching the weather reports like a hawk...
A certain low level of tension takes over among the competitors. As far as physical conditioning goes, there is nothing more to be done, except to remain relaxed, if at all possible. This is the first time that 3 pilots will start the X-ALPS with the same skywalk wing, one more reason that the entire skywalk Team is impatiently awaiting the starting gun!
Our 3 musketeers are counting on a revamped version of the POISON3, slimmed down in all the right places, with lighter cloth and higher aspect ratio. The line system is the same proven 3-line concept of the P3.
The X-ALPS will demand the utmost from pilots again in 2011, but we are confident that our 3 boys are fully prepared to take on the challenge.
The entire Team at skywalk wishes you all the best of luck, the right decisions and that the team spirit lifts your wings!
Here for pictures