Friday, July 31, 2009

Red Bull X-Alps 2009 day 12

Alex Hofer Alex Hofer take off

Today was the big day for Alex Hofer who finished the last 112 km of the race and took the second place in this competition. After landing at Roquebrune beach, the same beach where Maurer landed yesterday, Hofer climbed to the top of Mount Gros and had a smooth glide to Monaco.
Hofer family
Alex was greeted on Mount Gros by his mother Marianna, grandmother Elisabeth, his girlfriend Nicole and friends (one of them Toma Coconea).
Tomy Coconea Monaco
I'll be back are the words of Tomy : I'll be back in 2011 to race again for Red Bull X-Alps.
We are waiting for you to come back Tomy ;)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Red Bull X-Alps 2009 day 11

This morning July 29 at 11:24 AM Christian Maurer has won officially the Red Bull X-Alps 2009 race after 1376 km of flying and hiking and he did this in only 9 days, 23 hours and 54 minutes.
Maurer covered over 190 km yesterday, landed at a beach east of Monaco and hiked Mount Gros at the end of day. The remaining pilots have 48 hours to complete the journey, X-Alps competition will officially close on July 31 at 11:24. The competition prize giving ceremony will take place at Stars'N'Bars in Monaco Friday 31 at 19:30.

Christian Maurer Monaco
While Maurer is busy with interviews for BBC and French TV news, Evgeny Gryaznov, Alex Hofer, Aidan Toase and Honza Rejmanek are rushing to reach Monaco within 48 hour time limit.

Christian Maurer wins
Aidan Toase had a bad day being blown out by a strong wind in Chamonix valley near Flegere, the same wind gave troubles to Evgeny. Alex Hofer faces the same problem with strong wind in mountains near Brianco.

Evgeny Gryaznov

Aidan Toase

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Red Bull X-Alps 2009 day 10

Christian Maurer
So....we have a winner !
Last night Aidan Toase overtook Honza Rejmanek and regain the third position. In the mean time Christian Maurer managed in the evening to fly away from the bad weather and this morning he was only at 120 km away from Monaco. Yesterday was the last chance for Alex Hofer to catch Maurer but he couldn't make it through the bad weather near Matterhorn and Mont Blanc. So, instead of cutting the 65 km between him and Maurer, Hofer lost another 100 km.

Christian Maurer
Late this morning
Christian Maurer took off with Mount Gros as target. Film crews started to panic and began to pack stuff and rush towar
d Monaco in an attempt to catch Maurer arrival at Monaco, however most have doubted he will make it this evening because the conditions tends to stabilize and there is also a strong breeze blowing from the south.
After 350km travelled Matsayuki Matsubara has retired from this race. He was chasing Peter Vrabek but couldn't break the 23 km distance between them.

In the afternoon Maurer was getting nervous as he was struggling with week thermals. Climbs were weaker than expected. However, he did make it this evening, after 193 km of flying and hiking in one day, Maurer passed over the final turnpoint Mount Gros.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Red Bull X-Alps 2009 day 9

Another high pressure flying day with stable atmospheric conditions. That means low level fly close to cliffs and little lift from narrow core thermals. Flying close to the ground requires a lot of concentration and quick reactions from pilots which are already tired after 8 days full of effort on flying and hiking.

Helmut Eicholtzer

Not yet half a day has passed and we have the news that another pilot is out of competition:
Helmut Eicholtzer was disqualified after he entered the airspace of Locamo for only 35 seconds. Helmut was only 100m too high and 55m deep in the airspace.

At the beginning of the day fly condition didn't look good: very stable and windy in the same time, so Alex Hofer assumed that is not very good for flying.
Aidan Toase landed after a short fly, the reason: strong wind, dangerous conditions.

Later in the day a cold front was moving towards the northern Alps bringing instability, so Christian Maurer has started hading for a launch place. Alex Hofer is already soaring Pierre Avoi peak, 56 km back.
Honza Rejmanek has just accomplished a 50+ km fly and left behind Aidan Toase who was concerned by the strong wind and started on foot down the Matterhorn valley.

Christian Maurer

Not very long after all of this, Christian Maurer strikes again with his phenomenal flying skills: he covers more than 100 km.

Red Bull X-Alps 2009 day 8 update

Devastating news for Toma Coconea, the running man. as race director Steve Cox explains Coconea was disqualified because of an airspace infringement. Apparently Coconea didn't recognize the warning audio signal his GPS was making and he has switched it off as this was a very annoying noise.
This is unfortunate since Toma was among the favorites for Red Bull X-Alps race. Come back Tomy, we are waiting you at the next edition !

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Red Bull X-Alps 2009 day 8

Vasile Trifan

Toma Coconea has a new official supporter in x-alps paragliding race: Daniel Pisica who will replace Vasile "Gigi" Trifan - the former team member of Tomi. Trifan is exhausted physically and mentally after an entire week with no sleep time. Coconea has been followed by a series of bad luck starting with car mechanical problems and then 4 malfunctioning GPSes, Nokia phone loose, reserve chute deployment and his competition glider damage.
With all this bad stuff on his had, Coconea manages to keep a rhythm of 4 km/h every day with mostly of his travelling on foot which makes him unbeatable on ground. Every pilot in the top ten is averaging at least 4 km/h. Red Bull race leader Christian Maurer averages 7 km/h and has a 68% of travelling in fly.

Red Bull X-Alps 2009 day 7

After the last night cold front, today the sky is nice and clear with cumulus clouds building up.
Most pilots take advantage of these conditions and are flying. Alex Hofer is receiving a new GPS cause the old one malfunctions and his live tracking is not working. Raul Penso is out of competition because he entered forbidden airspace around Bozen. Pal Takats and Michael Gebert got a nce fly at 3000m altitude and are following Alex Hofer on his north route. Christian Maurer reaches Matterhorn turnpoint.

Red Bull X-Alps 2009 day 6

Day 6 of paragliding competition and other 3 pilots leave the competition:
Vincent Sprungli suffered a lower back injury after a failed take-off yesterday. His paraglider touched a tree and got entangled during take-off . Pierre Carter is being eliminated as back runner of the race. Ronny Geijsen is in the hospital and doctors told him to give up, he is the third to leave this competion today.
Coconea, Toase, Rejmanek and Muller took off on Maurer's route this morning, however only Muller got a good fly because this area is very difficult for paragliding. Later in the afternoon Coconea was forced to throw his reserve parachute after loosing control to his glider. After landing in a tree, Toma is safe, uninjured and already running further for this race.
Helmut Eicholzer and Pal Takats landed 15km backwards after fighting with the wind and turbulences and where hugging each other: 'We were lucky not to have a worse accident". Meteo conditions were really extreme for flying today.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Red Bull X-Alps 2009 day 5

On day five race leaders are taking different approaches for Matterhorn which is their next waypoint. Alex Hofer is on a north route while Christian Maurer choose a southern strike.
The wind continues to be unfriendly with pilots close to Marmolada but weather conditions tend to improve during the weekend. These conditions favor Alex Hofer which is in the north where lighter winds are blowing.
Toma Coconea is ok after 8 hours of sleep last night. His supporter Vasile Trifan hopes Coconea will be more tactical after last time mmistakes.
Kaoru Ogisawa was forced to land after encountering strong winds and he choose to cross Marmolada on foot.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Red Bull X-Alps 2009 day 4

We have bad news about some pilots: Primoz Susa eliminated from the race because he was the last one in the pack. From now on every 48 hours the last pilot in the race is to be eliminated from the competition. Martin Muller took off and very soon regretted it because of the strong wind he was flying backwards at 20km/h. Alex Hofer is already far North because of the strong South wind he encountered in fly, however he is in a much better position on second place in the race. Toma Coconea stroked by bad luck again cause he lost his Nokia phone at take off thus rendering his position impossible to track.
Christian Maurer is way ahead in the first position.

Christian Maurer1
Christian Maurer2
xalps day4

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Red Bull X-Alps 2009 day 3

Yesterday Christian Maurer traveled 130 km more than a half in fly and while Toma Coconea was still the leader of the race this morning, Maurer promised "Nutella for breakfast, Marmolada for lunch".
Christian+Maurer+and+Toma+CoconeaWatch Maurer and Coconea stopped, preparing for fly ?

Maurer and Martin Muller are taking off

Christian+Maurer+reaches+DolomitesChristian Maurer reaches Dolomites
We have no data from Coconea, apparently his GPS is turned off.

Christian+Maurer+conquers+MarmoladaMaurer kept his promise and served Marmolada as lunch. Watch his amazing fly today

Monday, July 20, 2009

Red Bull X-Alps 2009 day 2

Day 2 of the Red Bull X-Alps paragliding competition. At the beginning of this day The Running Man Toma Coconea was still the race leader with more than 90 km done from the starting point, however Christian Maurer takes off for an amazing fly with his paraglider and moves to first place. Have a look bellow for google earth fly path of Christian Maurer.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Red Bull X-Alps 2009 day 1

Toma Coconea is the leader of the race on the first day.
Alex Hofer flew alone across the east side of the Watzmann while all the other pilots choosed to hike.
Christian Amon is being forced to rest as he has a problem with a leg tendon, an injury from a previous Red Bull X-alps competition.

Red Bull X-Alps 2009

The toughest paragliding competition in the world has started at 11:30 AM on July 19, 2009.
Thirty pilots from all over the world are competing each other using nothing more than their wings and feet. They have to fly or hike the entire 818 km route from Salzburg to Monaco passing by checkpoints. All paragliding pilots must carry the entire fly equipment (20kg) during hiking or flying.

The rules:
  • Athletes travel only by flying with their paragliders or by foot
  • Pilots must carry at all times a paraglider, harness, rescue parachute, helmet, emergency signal rocket, reflector belt and tracking device
  • Athletes may choose any route they want as long as they pass all turnpoints
  • Each pilot has one team supporter which takes care of him
  • It is forbidden to travel through tunnels
  • All flies should be carried on according to VFR (visual flying rules)
  • The race stops 48 hours after the winner reaches the goal

Toma Coconea preparing for X-Alps 2009

Toma Coconea, The Running Man, preparing for 2009 edition of Red Bull X-Alps paragliding competition. For the last 10 months Coconea has concentrated on training for this race. He has flown around twenty XC flights over 100 km long and several more over 60 km. He has flown 2-3 flights of 60-80 km distance every week and hicked mountains to the take-off places in the same day. During this spring he has flown in major international competition: Bassano, Czech Open, Pre-Europeans, Pwc Annecy.

At previuos edition (2007), Coconea flew 330 km and run and walked over 1000 km. In a 30 hour jogging he ran 118 km !