Red Bull X-Alps 2009. From Mozart to Monaco: To the Limits of Human Endurance
818 kilometres, 30 participants from 23 nations, 5 countries, 1 goal: Monaco!
The picturesque Austrian city of Salzburg was the location for the start of Red Bull X-Alps 2009 on Sunday as members of the international extreme sport elite set off on a transalpine odyssey armed with no more than a paraglider and a hiking boots. Cheered on by a crowd of 3500, the 30 athletes sprinted past the house where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born and through the city’s famous Getreidegasse through before the real race began with the first ascent of the course up to the Gaisberg mountain overlooking Salzburg. South Africa’s Pierre Carter was fastest to the first checkpoint at 1300 metres above sea level in a time of 1:05:00 hours, followed by Michael Gebert (GER) and Christian Amon (AUT).
SALZBURG (AUT). The finest extreme athletes in the world will push their bodies to the limits of human endurance in the next 10 to 14 days as they take on some of the most legendary mountains ranges on the planet across five countries with no more than a paraglider and a pair of hiking boots. Red Bull X-Alps 2009 will demand not only endurance, concentration and tactics, but also the ability to resist pain and exhaustion, defy danger, and master constantly-changing weather conditions.
A crowd of 3500 fans watched the main group depart from Salzburg in light drizzle and changeable wind conditions on Sunday morning. Japan’s Kaoru Ogisawa (image JPN1) was unfortunate enough to be caught by an unexpected gust of wind and almost drifted into a group of trees. Having left Salzburg, the athletes now have to pass checkpoints on the Watzmann (GER), Großglockner (AUT), Marmolada (ITA), Matterhorn (SUI), Mont Blanc (FRA) and Mont Gros (FRA) on their way to the finishing line in Monaco.
“The longer you are in the air the better. Trying to get to Monaco by foot is going to be impossible with 20kg on your back,” explains English competitor Tom Payne.
Live Tracking on www.redbullxalps.com