Paul Guschlbauer Climbs Podium at the Red Bull X Alps
27-year old Paul Guschlbauer was the big surprise at this year's Red Bull X-Alps competition – a non-stop adventure race over 864 km for selected athletes. The challenge is to cross the Alps from East to West as quickly as possible travelling only by paraglider or by foot. After 14 days, thousands of people followed the close duel for second place between Arc'teryx athlete Guschlbauer and Romanian Toma Coconea in the live-stream. Since 2003, the X-Alps race takes place every two years and is known as one of the word's toughest paragliding and adventure competitions. This year, the event started in Salzburg/Austria via the turnpoints Dachstein, Großglockner, Tre Cima, Piz Palü, Matterhorn and the Montblanc to Monaco. All in all, the participants had to brave 864 km as the crow flies. The athletes are only allowed to fly or hike. For security reasons they have to rest between 23.00 and 4.00. Carefully selected out of thousands of applicants, 31 top athletes raced the Red Bull XAlps 2011.
He won in 2009 and he did it again in 2011: Swiss Christian Maurer clinched victory with his nearest followers over 150 km behind. When Maurer reached the finish, all other athletes had just 48 hours left to get to Monaco. The duel for the second place was neck to neck! Toma Coconea was ahead of Guschlbauer. As the Romanian is a very strong runner, he decided to walk. So for the final 80 km, Guschlbauer had to gamble and decided to Monaco, trying to overtake Coconea in the air. The showdown was followed by thousands of people worldwide live online. In the end, a Arc'teryx has built a reputation as an innovator in the outdoor industry, creating products of pioneering design, original construction techniques, and quality materials that enhance personal performance in the outdoors. Arc'teryx's head office is in North Vancouver, BC, with manufacturing and distribution facilities in Burnaby, BC and Coquitlam, BC. A strong southerly wind forced Austrian Guschlbauer to land nine kilometres short of the finish line, coming in third.
Yet, Paul is more than happy about the result: "Of course, you're ambitious and you're fighting hard. But, it was the first X-Alps for me and to come in third is just mind blowing!" Guschlbauer is a mutlitalented athlete with a background in mountain biking, mountaineering and running. His true passion, however, is paragliding.
Guschlbauer is studying mechanical engineering and works as test pilot and developer for paragliding brand Skywalk. He's always been eagerly fine-tuning his equipment. For the X-Alps race he got professional support from outdoor equipment specialist Arc'teryx. The brand's repair specialist spontaneously produced an ultra-lightweight, yet spacious backpack for Guschlbauer's paraglider, his emergency parachute and the harness. The pack weighs in at mere 915 g and was developed in the Outdoor Repair Center in Zürich/Switzerland. The team handles all repair cases for Arc'teryx Europe. "In a race like the X-Alps, every gram counts! But comfort is crucial too. It is sensational what Arc'teryx came up with. The other competitors were eyeing it jealously…" Paul Guschlbauer smiles proudly.