After we had finished our preparation of the X-Alps, basically we just checked out the entire route, we lingered around southern France for a day or two, flying with the Ozone R&D Team. Very nice fellows, very welcoming and it was truly inspiring to see them working on the prototypes and testing them each day it was flyable at their local (extremely scenic) site. Dave scored an Enzo 2 as a parting gift and Luc Armant wanted to actually give me one too… It took me a while to say no. I knew I wasn’t ready for a two-liner yet and maybe i would have promised myself to only fly it in weak flatland conditions and yadayadayada. Whatevsis. I would have killed myself.
We made our way back to Salzburg, with a stopover in Bassano for two days or so, since the flying promised to be alright and the pizza lives in Italy. Also does Kelly Farina, who we met in Bassano where he guides clients along the foothills in the summer. A truly obsessive force of nature and not shy to share his large volume of knowledge with you, even if you wouldn’t ask. Don’t get me wrong, you should also listen.
We arrived in Fuschl, where the HQ of Redbull lies prominently and where all the X-Alps Teams had set up camp for the week before the race. The weather promised to be really beautiful and stinking hot for the entire week, while we had to sit for hours on end in a smelly conference room. So we thought. Luckily we got enough time off to enjoy very good flying conditions. Multiple times a herd of X-Alps athletes and supporters would flock together and surround the Dachstein by air.
It truly got very hot in this week, with temperatures soaring up to 35 degrees, summer of 2015 had properly arrived and wouldn’t leave for a while.
Quickly all the meetings, photoshoots and the like came to an end and we were back in business. The athletes had to complete the Prologue of the race in order to win another Night Pass. That was an around 40 kilometers roundcourse close to Fuschl. With the temperatures close to bloodboiling point, hydration was key and the motivation to run superfast wasn’t extremely high with all the athletes.
The supporters had no job in this prologue, so we were left behind, alone with the Redbull Girls, while the athletes went out to seek for glory.
Dave made a mistake before making the crossing to the second turnpoint and left too early and too low. With all the stability lingering he got trapped down at the bottom and had to hike up to tag. Nevermind. I was glad he didn’t win a Night Pass. One night without sleep is enough in the race.
Now there was one day of recuperation left before the big bang and the Gaisberg volcano would explode.