Choosing the right Gear for Red Bull X-Alps
The most important piece of equipment during the adventure from Salzburg to Monaco is the Wing. An X-Alps wing needs great performance against headwind since we are flying from East to West and the main wind direction is coming from the West. The wing needs the right compromise between performance, usability and of course weight. If you have chosen a wing, fly it through all kind of conditions so you exactly know how to deal with it during the race. It’s also helpful to know how the wing behaves in wet conditions, because chances are big that you get a little shower during the race.
During a good flying day, 10 hours of airtime is nothing unusual, so making sure that the weight you’re carrying is comfortable and not too heavy is critical. Whether you’re in the air or on the ground, make sure you consider the balance of your pack when putting in and taking out equipment – as an unbalanced or light pack can create unnecessary drag.
Weight: 1.0 - 1.8 kg
The backpack must fit your equipment perfectly and shouldn’t be too big in volume. I prefer to have some extra pockets on the outside so I can easily check if I have all the equipment with me for the next hike up to the takeoff.
Weight: 200 - 400 gr
All of the athletes have to use the Flymaster Live, which sends data to www.redbullxalps.com so spectators can enjoy the race in real time. However I have a second solar powered vario with me which connects to my phone and lets me send my current location directly to my supporters. A power bank with 7000 mah capacity provides enough energy for my phone and can even charge my action camera on the go.
Temperatures range from below zero at the cloud base to more than 30 + degrees in the valley. The ability to be able to change from flying in cold conditions to running/hiking mode without the help of anyone is crucial! I like to wear running pants on the ground and some down/Primaloft insulation trousers while flying. On my upper body I wear a lite down jacket with a fleece under it. If there is some rain predicted I take a light shell Jacket with me too.
A really important piece of equipment that should be durable and high quality are the sunglasses. On cloudy days I use glasses very bright glasses, as it’s all about staying positive on those gloomy, overcast days. I would recommend bringing multiple pairs of sunglasses for race day! In 2017, I lost 3 pairs of sunglasses due to the pace of the race.
I’ll be the first to admit, I have a shoe fetish. So, for a Race like X-Alps I like to have 4 types of shoes with me during the race. One type of shoe I carry with me is for solid ground – one with cushioning one without. Two other types of shoes that I have are for uphill hiking. One pair is an ultra-light shoe for fast ascents and the other pair is a bit heavier, but has more stability for rough terrain. All together I end up with 8 pairs of shoes because I always have two pairs of each type. If you have issues with blisters I would recommend “Hirschtalg” a cream for the feet to prevent them. Since I starting using it, I’ve not had any blisters!
Foldable Walking sticks with tape on it for any kind of repairs in the field, 1l of water with electrolytes in it, two self-made energy bars (if you are interested in the recipe, just contact me at my social media channels).