Two wildcard athletes announced for Red Bull X-Alps 2017
Two additional athletes set to join the world’s toughest adventure race.
The first wildcard goes to Mitch Riley from the USA, a 32-year-old paragliding instructor with a strong background in mountaineering and climbing. It might be his first Red Bull X-Alps, but he’s certainly no stranger to competition. With an impressive portfolio of contest victories, including two US national championships, Riley has hiked and flown all around the world.
The second wildcard athlete is Jose Ignacio Arévalo Guede; a firefighter by profession and the only Spaniard in this year’s race. He too has had an impressive few years on the contest circuit, with several wins at Spanish national competitions as well as further afield. His trekking, canyoning and rock climbing experience, combined with his familiarity of the Alps could give him an edge in the upcoming race.
“We are extremely excited to give two more athletes the chance to participate in Red Bull X-Alps 2017”, says Race director Christoph Weber. “They may be Red Bull X-Alps rookies, but they certainly have the skill and experience to challenge the rest of the field. As we’ve learned from previous races, the constantly changing conditions make it impossible to predict the outcome, so it really is anyone’s game.”
It seems both wildcard athletes have come prepared. Arévalo Guede who has been training up to 4 days a week already has a strategy in place. His plan is to fly as much of the route as possible and to account for all foreseeable variables. He says; “Red Bull X-Alps is the Olympic Games of paragliding, it is the highest level of adventure.”
Mitch Riley has a similar approach to ensure that he is in top shape both mentally and physically for race day. His plan is to eat healthily, rest well and stay patient. “At the start line I’ll be excited, not scared. I’ve got the skills and the preparation, bring it on”, says the American confidently.
ABOUT RED BULL X-ALPS
Red Bull X-Alps 2017 will start on July 2 and will be the eighth edition of the world’s toughest adventure race. The combination of trekking and paragliding is one of the most exciting hybrids to emerge from the ongoing convergence of mountain sports. During the race, athletes must hike or fly as fast as possible a straight-line distance of more than 1,000km across the Alps via a currently undisclosed number of turnpoints.
To bring fans even closer to the action, a one-day race – the Leatherman Prologue – will be held in Fuschl am See, Austria during which spectators can watch up close as the athletes race for one of three additional Ledlenser Nightpasses and a five-minute headstart on the main race. In 2015 this one-day race was won by Austrian Paul Guschlbauer.
Red Bull X-Alps 2015 saw 19 of the 32 competing athletes make the goal – a record number since the first race in 2003. Incredibly, 12 rookies crossed the finish line, including athletes from the US, Korea, New Zealand and elsewhere for the first time in history.
Swiss athlete Christian Maurer, however, won the Red Bull X-Alps 2015 race in the time of 8 days, 4 hours and 37 minutes. It was his fourth successive win – and a new record. Could 2017 see athletes like Sebastian Huber or Paul Guschlbauer end Maurer’s reign as Red Bull X-Alps champion? Only one thing is certain – anything could happen!
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Reference/Quelle with thanks to redbullxalps.com