It’s known as the world’s hardest adventure race but with temperatures over 30º C, the Red Bull X-Alps today might just be the world’s hottest adventure race.
In soaring heat and amid roaring cheers from hundreds of spectators and fans, 32 athletes from 18 countries, including two women, set off from the historic Mozartplatz of Salzburg city center. Their destination is the cooling waters off Monaco in the Mediterranean sea some 1,038km away. In between lie 10 Turnpoints scattered across the mountains of Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and France – and one formidable challenge.
The first of them was the Gaisberg peak above Salzburg. The first three athletes to reach the summit were Sebastian Huber (GER3) in 1h 03m, followed by Aaron Durogati (ITA) five minutes later. Third up was Paul Guschlbauer (AUT1) who summited in 1h 14m after setting off. After waiting for good flying conditions the first athletes were in the air approximately an hour later.
The day saw lots of action as there is a threat of thunderstorms for Monday, according to weather partner wetter.tv (part of UBIMET), leading athletes to make the most out of amazing flying conditions on day one.
At 14:00 the Race Committee announced that two athletes have decided to pull a Led Lenser Night Pass, Stephan Gruber (AUT3) and Pascal Purin (AUT4). This allows them to hike through the night.
By early afternoon the leading pack of athletes had already passed Turnpoint 2, the peak of the Dachstein, and were heading west, and fast towards Turnpoint 3, Aschau Chiemsee (Kampenwand), making the most out of amazing flying conditions.
After that things could get more challenging, according to race director Christoph Weber. “After Turnpoint 3, it could become more difficult for athletes as they head towards Turnpoint 4, at the Lermoos Tiroler Zugspitz Arena.”
Adds Weber: “We wish all the athletes good luck and a safe race. It will be an amazing adventure!”
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IMAGE: Flying towards the Dachstein mountains, Austria ©zooom/Felix Wölk