Rewind back to October 2014 and Jerry Ranger, CEO of Power Traveller, drops into Bahnstormer with an idea; “Come and watch the Red Bull X-Alps, we’re sponsoring it!”. Sure, why not? It’s in the Alps, we can ride our bikes and it has an ‘X’ in the title – what’s not to like! Now, we may not have known anything about this incredible event but we did know that Red Bull are synonymous with radical sports and with the Alps as a backdrop, how could this, whatever it was, not be an amazing spectacle? We agreed to join in and tried hard to think of a reason why we were doing it.
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.
John Gilbride, our resident photographer, took the opportunity to get under the skin of the X-Alps to produce this collection of images, which we hope you will enjoy.