“Stood on the first launch site of the race and everything started to make sense. We had ridden up an amazing route on the BMW R 1200 GS, climbing higher and higher, Akrapovic exhausts belting out their flat baritone note until we stopped at the top and surveyed the view across to Salzburg. The 30 or so athletes were on their way up from the race start in Salzburg itself, running up the very climb that had entertained us so much but in 35 degree heat and with a paraglider strapped to their backs. Over the next 7 days these guys (and 2 girls) would try to complete over 1,000km down through the Alps to Monaco with nothing more than their legs, paraglider (or wings) and grit and determination of a magnitude we cannot imagine – they climb something like the equivalent of four Mt. Everest during this event.”

Alistair Walker