5 Ozone Pilots in the Red Bull X-Alps 2007
Redbull Website
Aidan Toase’s Diary
Training starts in earnest . . .
2007-05-19 13:23:00

Now that I have time off work I have managed to head out to the Alps to start training. To date it has been tricky to find locations around London which compare with the Alps given that the nearest hill is in Richmond Park and at its tallest is a grand height of c.15 meters!

The Alps are as beautiful as ever, although, unfortunately I seem to have bought the rainy English weather with me as there have not been many clear days for flying. Nevermind, I have resorted to carrying my backpack around; full of clothes and paragliding equipment. The 2 days when I did get some flying I managed to fly 79km and 85km, which were both awesome. I have a new Ozone glider which is proving to be excellent and has given me a lot of confidence to fly over unfamiliar terrain.

The excitement for the race seems to have started already as I whilst I was walking up a mountain in France and a gentleman stopped in his car to ask if I was training for the Red Bull X-Alps! It was really encouraging to speak to him and I am already looking forward to the excellent support and friendship that we were offered by the people we met last time.

Let’s hope it is a better week for the weather next week . . .

www.justgiving.com/xalps

Rain stops flying and breaks walking pole
2007-05-26 14:24:00

After a few days in the UK (where the weather was great) I headed back out to the Alps to see if I could finally get to fly. This was not to be however as there has been nothing but very impressive and torrential thunderstorms for most of the week. It was a very real reminder of the conditions of last time.

The only flyable day was Monday, but with the wind in the wrong direction I only managed 10 minutes in the air, and landed down near a pretty little village. By the time I met my supporter with her van, I had managed to pack my glider, find a cafe and finish a lovely cup of coffee!

As for the broken walking pole, well this was actually broken by me as I slipped on a wet surface coming down the mountain. I count my lucky stars that it was just a pole that was broken . . . and blame the weather (again) for the conditions which have thwarted my training plans!!

Looking forward to a better week as the conditions are supposed to be clearing. I am also looking forward to seeing Ulrich & Ruth, who are heading out to the Northern Alps to get in a bit of training.

www.justgiving.com/xalps

Ulric and Ruth
2007-06-03 07:36:00

Just spent a few days training with Ulric and Ruth, which was really fun - they are a great team and it was good to swap ideas and tips. They are going to be tough to beat, particularly as Ulric kept up pretty well whilst carrying 22kg on his back!! Scary to think what he will do when he gets his light weight harness, and I know he is a great pilot.

Training with them has not been without incident; in particular we trekked across the Dachstein range trying to find take-offs and only finding the wind blowing in the wrong direction. By the time we got to the top of the Krippenstein it was getting late & dark which made the paths extremely tricky to navigate. To make matters worse Ruth, who had set off a little earlier, radioed in to tell us that the only path down was closed. So we were left with no option but to find shelter in a cable car station with nothing but each other and our gliders for company! At this altitude it can get really cold, but we were able to use the gliders as good makeshift bedding (perhaps an alternative future use for an old glider?).

The next morning was still not flyable so we walked down, and this is when I received my first lesson in “shoe-skiing”. It is a very graceful technique, which Ruth & Ulrich have mastered to an award winning level (see pictures). Unfortunately I was much less elegant but if there was a prize for speed, I would definitely be in the running (or skiing??)!

www.justgiving.com/xalps

You can use all the advice you can get.
2007-06-06 08:10:00

Sick of the bad weather I decided to go to Maryhofen - as in the past I have always had some great flights from here. It’s a long drive from the Krippenstien so it took a few hours in the van.

I met up with Kelly, a great friend and part of the Austrian circuit. It was good to catch up and kick around ideas for flying in the area. I have flown with him before so it was good to chat about old times as well.

I also wanted to make a special mention to Rob with who spared time to chat about the Maryhofen and Andermatt areas. He is a very experienced pilot and I am very grateful for his advice and assistance with ideas for flying in this incredibly beautiful and extremely complicated area. Thank you Rob.

www.justgiving.com/xalps

Zell Am See
2007-06-07 08:19:00

Finally a perfect weather forecast!! It has been boring to find (and write about!) all the bad weather, so on this glorious day, I grabbed the opportunity and hiked up 1500m above Zell Am See in hot anticipation for the perfect flight . . .

Unfortunately (as ever with paragliding) the perfect sky does not always mean perfect condtions and the wind was so strong that even the hangliders could not take off.

So I settled down for a spot of “ParaWaiting” (for those who don’t know what this is or who don’t know what it is called - it is the art of finding a beautiful take-off spot and waiting for the conditions to improve. Essential skills required are a paraglider/hanglider, some food, the ability to talk endlessly to other “ParaWaiters” and an often misplaced sense of optimism). It was really heart-warming to see that this particular sport thrives just as well in the Alps as is does in the UK!!

Whilst waiting, I met Marcin Kostur and a nice bunch of local pilots; who really couldn’t see the logic of climbing 1500m only to find you can’t take off! (Maybe they know something I don’t ?)

When the wind did drop on the Mountain, I managed to get in the air for a short time, but it was quite turbulent which made the whole experience a little too “interesting”. It was good to see that my Ozone Mantra wing coped really well with the conditions though.

Eventually I decided to top land, and resume with the ParaWaiters. When I finally managed to get in the air again, it was 6.30pm and the wind was still very strong. It was one of those days when the Alps reminds you of who is in charge, and given that during my glide down I was travelling faster than the cars on the road below, I was very glad to find a decent spot to land near Mittersill

www.justgiving.com/xalps

Rain and hail
2007-06-21 10:24:00

We are in the Andermatt and Interlaken area this week and Bhavna had come out to join me. The weather was beautiful and flyable for one day only and I made the most of it, that taking off from above Grindelwald. The take off here is amazing and you get the best view of the town and the surrounding area.

We made friends with a local tandem piliot, Julian, who we met later in the evening for beer. (Thanks again for the advice Julian - and we may take you up on that offer for a shower during the event!!)

Apart from that one sunny day, when I managed to get a great 30km flight, the weather has been as wet as it can possibly be. What started out as driving rain (pretty bad), turned quickly into hailstones (really bad), with “stones” as big as marbles (awful!!)

The worst of it was that after taking a late cable car up a mountain, we could see this bad weather front coming in and we missed the last ride down to the van!! We had no option but to start the hour or so walk down the mountain as hailstones were really getting underway (they were very painful when they landed on you). Luckily we managed to thumb a lift down with a passing car and were able to dive into our van to avoid the worst of it. From the comfort of the van, we could see this was a spectaclular storm with great streaks of lightening, massive claps of thunder and so many hailstones that they were piling up in heaps like snow!!

The weather is not predicted to get any better - so I am going to do a bit of hiking in the wet. Oh what fun!!!

www.justgiving.com/xalps

The involuntary God of Rain….
2007-07-09 21:37:00

For those of you who have not read the book “The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy” there is a character who is an involuntary God of Rain and throughout the story he could not understand why it always rained on him. In fact he spent his entire life trying to escape the rain and complained miserably when (being the God of Rain) this was the one thing he could not do!

I was reminded of this character because I am beginning to think that I too may be a Rain God, because during the past four weeks in the Alps I have managed very little flying (too much rain), I am now back in the UK (it’s raining here too), recovering from the flu (rain induced) and my camera has stopped working (due to getting wet). So to conclude this diary entry, I have made a short picture diary (due to wet camera no longer working) of some of the famous Swiss cows I have seen during the last few weeks . . .

Week 1)

(__)
(oo)
/——-\/
/ | ||
* ||—||
^^ ^^

Week 2)

(__)
(oo)
/——-\/
~~~~~~~~~~~

Week 3)

(__)
(oo)
~~~~~~~~~~~

www.justgiving.com/xalps

Plan International
2007-07-12 10:00:00

. . . to raise some money for a children’s charity called Plan International!!

This is a charity which supports children and communities in need around the world. You can read more about Plan International from their website www.plan-international.org.

You can support us via our website www.justgiving.com/xalps

One last flight….
2007-07-20 18:11:00

Apparently the wind was blowing 80km at the start place (Dachstein), but after a quick call with Kelly (www.AustrinaArena.com) I went to the Dolomites where the wind was more manageable and had an epic flight near the Marmolada. I am now familiar with most of the route between the Austria and the Marmolada. Many thanks to Kelly who is a genius with the weather - he always seems find a way to get the best flying from an otherwise poor day - his help during the event will be priceless.

Well, just two days left now and we are waiting for the start of the training camp. All of the competitors are here and we are all getting ready for the start. The competition is going to be tough as all the athelets are of a very high standard.

I have a few thank yous - firstly to Ozone for the excellent glider and equipment. I have mentioned it already but the Mantra 2 glider will be great for the conditions that lie ahead. I also mention Zabdi from www.FlyingFever.net who has given me loads of light weight bivouac equipment which is a great help. I have kindly received all the endurance sport nutrition products I could possibly need from Maximuscle who have been great with food and nutritional advice. I am also delighted with our support vehicle which is a Mazda Bongo we bought from Imperial Cars in Poole.

Finally I would like to say thanks to all my friends and family for their unwaivering support throughout the months of preperation. I look forward to having a beer with you all when I get back.

So on to the race . . .

Visit our charity website: www.justgiving.com/xalps

Day 1 - We’re off!
2007-07-23 06:00:00

We were up at 6am to catch the early cable car to the top of the Krippenstien. It was then a walk across the glacier to the Dachtstien summit in order to make the first turn point. On a good day this should be flyable, but the wind and conditions were wrong, so the race had to start with a marathon. I hope this is not a sign of things to come!!

We are hoping to raise money for Plan International. Please visit our website www.justgiving.com/xalps

Day 1: Extreme experience in the Alps, extreme weather in the UK
2007-07-23 06:29:00

Following a long walk from the Kripptenstein I had a great but scary flight of 37km. I’m so glad that we’ve finally started. It’s much more fun to be in the race rather than preparing for it! How come I have the beginnings of a blister at the end of the first day? Must be my new inner soles - not to worry as Bhavna will fix it with some bodge tape!

The weather doesn’t look at all promising but it’s certainly not as bad as in the UK. Our thoughts are with the people there suffering from the flooding. That must be another extreme experience that is better avoided.

Please visit our website www.justgiving.com/xalps as we would love to raise some money for our charity as well as race across the Alps.

Day 1 - The race has started
2007-07-23 12:05:00

When Tomas, the athlete from Romania, jogged off from Krippenstein to the Dachstein glacier, Michael and Aidan were close behind him and made a group of three. The winds were too strong and in order to find suitable conditions to launch his paraglider Aidan was the second athelete who had to climb down the south face. It looked like serious mountaineering!

He managed to take off from a little grassy spot and was second in the air. At first, things seemed very promising, with smooth thermic air, but the higher he got the stronger the winds became. So the trade-off was not that good: only eight kilometres distance out of 3000 metres height! Riding on foehn waves is a risky business…

For the rest of the day it was nothing but walking, with nice and warm weather. At the moment we’re not doing too bad but Aidan and Michael will still do a good amount of walking tonight.

Our further plan is to cross the main ridge of the Alps at Bad Gastein.

See you tomorrow.

Day 2 - Gross Glockner
2007-07-24 18:57:00

Before nightmare Storm ruined my day

Austria’s highest mountain should be visited once in a lifetime but perhaps not in the middle of a storm and certainly not during a race! Rain, hail, wind – it seemed like 2005. What is wrong with the weather? Perhaps it knows the RedBullXAlps has started? Perhaps I can fly tomorrow.

When I’m tired, wet and soggy the messages I’m getting from the Guest Book via Bhavna are great – even if a few are a bit..…unusual. Thanks anyway. It does help!

We are hoping to raise money for Plan International. Please visit our website www.justgiving.com/xalps

Day 3 - Hopefully, a last beautiful day in Austria but a back wind on take off.
2007-07-25 13:13:00

I hope to fly as far possible today from Lienz. I managed to get a little sleep last night, which was just as well if I’m flying - I don’t think I slept at all the first night.

I met some great Austrians, friends of Gerard, who were very helpful and gave me some ideas on how to succeed. Take off was about midday and I enjoyed the main flight managing to get quite high- about 2850m. It was very sinky and turbulent and I flew about 30k which is peanuts when you look at Alex and Martin. Hmmmmm

The race seems to be splitting up a bit and we have 4 or 5 of us wanting 3rd place with others catching up rather too quickly. Anything could happen. It’s a funny feeling when you are running hard to the next take off and someone flies straight overhead.

I wonder what will happen tomorrow.

Day 4 - Michael and I were walking together but
2007-07-26 07:58:00

Michael says he wants to get to take off before me and put his towel down to make sure he reserves his space !
(It’s a good thing he has a great sense of humour.)

We are hoping to raise money for Plan International, a children’s charity.

Please visit our website www.justgiving.com/xalps

Day 4 - Wot no take off have to walk up again
2007-07-26 09:52:00

Day 4 - Low clouds high passes not a great combo
2007-07-26 11:15:00

We met up with Michael again today as he and his supporter slept only a few hundred metres behind our van. We walked togher for a ‘bit’ up to a very high take off and found it unflyable, so moved to a lower takeoff where Micheal’s supporter and Bhavna were waiting. We also met Toma there with Razvan and decided to tackle the Marmolada together. A Redbull fan, Tony also joined the party, so there would be a few of us to search out the thermals.

Frustratingly, we seemed to be on the worst spot possible and it was made more difficult as we saw both Gerald and Urs fly over us. Throwing caution (or should I say paraglider!!) to the wind we all took off to go and take that turning point! Unfortunately it was a “bit” of a flight - as I thought I flew over the turnpoint, but not for long enough for it to register as being completed. So I landed and then walked a’bit’ back up to be sure. The Marmolada is a very impressive mountain with sheer cliffs at the top, so the walk back up was tricky.

I then took off again from the peak, with the aim to fly as close to Bolzano as possible. It was a ‘bit’ of a flight, but only as far as Canazei - where I met Bhavna again. She was very pleased to see me as there was only a ‘bit’ of juice left in all my tracking devices and phones!!

It was late, about half an hour to sunset, so I decided to climb a ‘bit’ up to the Sellajock, and caught a cheeky 10 minute, leg saving ‘bit’ of a glide, down the mountain before the flight curfew! We then walked again for a ‘bit’ ( I think you maybe catching on now !!) and kipped ( all together now … ) for a ‘bit’ in the van!

We are hoping to raise money for Plan International - a children’s charity. Please visit our website www.justgiving.com/xalps

Day 5 - A nice bit rain to finish a bad day
2007-07-27 22:17:00

Day 6 - Big decision
2007-07-28 09:02:00

I’ve walked up & up this mountain and this is the view.
I can’t see anywhere to land (Grape vines everywhere)
I can’t see anywhere to take off from and…..
……..the weather doesn’t look that good.

Julien is going to continue but, after yesterday’s experience, I’m coming down!
I expect Tomas will have run past me by now - as we’re all so close together.

The verdict is out!
I just hope that I’ve made the right decision – only time will tell.

Day 6 - A Very Windy Day.
2007-07-28 15:38:00

It was a bit unfortunate today as we thought the weather was going to take a turn for the worse. Having climbed up and down a mountain (See previous Diary entry, and NO, it was probably not the right decision) I learned that the weather wasn’t going to be as predicted and it was flyable after all!

In the UK the weather is very localised too and the weather forecasts that I get for here are often only generally right! Not to be put off I decided to take a long climb up another mountain and have another go at flying. Bhavna, my long suffering supporter, had the challenge of getting our van up the mountain which didn’t prove too easy either. I think Charlie would be pleased it wasn’t his van. (Charlie very kindly lent me his van for the Red Bull X Alps 2005 Race - How’s that for a friend!)

As I was late starting up the second mountain, I rushed up in 2 hours. (For UK readers this is rather like rushing up Snowdon in 2 hours. I think Snowdon is about 1,000m and I took of f from 1,700m – but that’s all part of what the X Alps is all about!)

I was greeted with a howling 30mph wind at my chosen “take off.” This was more than a little worrying as it had taken so much effort to get there! After hearing from others (Thanks Nate) I decided that it was windy but “doable” for a flight so….…I went for it, taking a 30km glide in 20mins. I hope Gran doesn’t find out!

Despite covering this ground so quickly we were still behind so we decide to go for it. I walked and walked until 2:30am gaining valuable ground and catching up Tomos, Nate, Vincent and Gerard all sleeping somewhere near Ova Spin in the Fluela Pass.

I am expecting a very short night as I know they will all be up early!

Day 6 - Swiss cheese tonight
2007-07-28 17:24:00

By foot….

…………….or should that be Toes!

Day 7 - Fluela Pass then Davos - by foot.
2007-07-29 12:33:00

I’ve been told the weather is better in the south.

Day 7 – Day 7 – Strelapass (2021m) on my way to Chur all by Shanks’s pony
2007-07-29 18:13:00

Oh dear, too much cloud to fly so I’ve got pass another spectacular pass.

(I’d better explain about Shanks’s pony before I’m disqualified for using transport –Shanks’s pony is a bit of an old fashioned expression we use in English and is a different way of saying that “you’ve got to walk!”)

Day 7 - Nice view, shame it’s too windy
2007-07-29 18:41:00

This race is really hard work when the weather is like today, as I can’t fly, but the scenery is spectacular.

Iain tells me that if you are using Google Earth and following my route you can see the views for yourself if you click on the little blue dots.
(If you haven’t got any little blue dots they can be found under ‘Layers’ and by selecting “Geographic Web.”)
I’m sure the pictures can’t be as good as the real thing but it will give you a flavour of what I am really seeing - thanks for the info Iain.

Day 8 –Close to Chur then it’s Flims and the Oberalpass.
2007-07-30 06:36:00

These feet were made for walking & that’s what they’ve got to do…..because today is not a flying day! It’s really disappointing as flying is so good in this area.- The Flugschule at Flims seems to be having their Summer break. Sorry I won’t be flying with you - perhaps another time! (Regards to Walo & Edith who were so helpful in 2005.)

The worrying thing for me is that tomorrow, probably, will be flyable and all those pilots behind me will catch up. That’s just how it is.

Day 8 - Ouch
2007-07-30 11:18:00

I now know this is an electric fence…………..

…………………………They are different from English ones!

I’m suffering quite a lot here so please don’t forget to make it all worthwhile and support my charity at www.justgiving.com/xalps !

Day 8 – A Welcome Break at the English Bar!
2007-07-30 17:27:00

Drinks being prepared by my very own barmaid!

Day 8 - The Best Supporter Ever
2007-07-30 20:28:00

It’s best to keep cheerful when you’ve walked over 70km instead of flying it!

I’ll probably be in the ‘No Fly’ Zone tomorrow and it’ll be a really good flying day.

Think positive!

Keep smiling!

Yes Bhavna – You’re a really good supporter and we’re a great team!

Day 9 - Dodgy rocky take off
2007-07-31 11:36:00

Just flew six km with this rock in my wing

Day 9 – Sustenpass and B****y Air Space!
2007-07-31 19:59:00

While flying down from the Sustenpass my computer put the air space 10km further East than it should have done and so, in mid flight, I had to turn around and quickly land. I couldn’t believe it! I was so looking forward to saving my legs!

I sat down and worked it all out again and the computer was definitely wrong! My flying had been fine..phew!….but I was stuck like ‘The Grand Old Duke of York’ in English nursery rhymes. I was neither up nor down! I had been up. I wanted to be down and I wasn’t even half way.

My long suffering supporter persuaded me to climb back up to the top and try again.
She can be very persuasive and certainly needed to be this time!

So if you have been looking at Google Earth and were wondering why I spent so long enjoying the delights of the Sustenpass you now know the truth. I was having a really horrid time and getting nowhere fast.

Day 10 - Good supporter but bad leg
2007-08-01 11:47:00

Not sure if I’ll get to take off in time and I really like flying here.

Day 10 - August 1st so to any Swiss people reading this…..Happy Birthday.
2007-08-01 12:01:00

I really need cheering up so …..

Happy Birthday…..Some of my Swiss friends have told me about this day and I think it should be rather special tonight!
How about persuading those 3 Swiss pilots in front of me to hang about in Switzerland to party?

I won’t be dancing as my leg hurts but I am thinking positively and I WILL get to Take-off….I hope!

Day 10 – The Eiger
2007-08-01 13:48:00

I struggled up here to make an epic flight and achieve my 3rd turning point,
The Eiger, only to be thwarted by the weather.

No thermals! I don’t believe it.

Day 10 - Happy independence day
2007-08-01 19:21:00

Chris and all the locals are great and what’s more….

…….I’m past the Eiger.

I think that I have something to celebrate as well as The Swiss.

OK, so it wasn’t the epic flight that I was hoping that it would be.
I was hoping to be on my way to catch up the leaders but there it is.
As my supporter says, look on the positive side -
We’re past the Eiger.

Mont Blanc,…I’m on my way and my leg is a little better.
I’m OK walking on the flat but, obviously, there’s is not much “flat walking” in the Alps.
We shall see!

Day 10 - Party on in Switzerland
2007-08-01 21:47:00

Let’s hope the Swiss teams drink too much and walk in circles

Day 11 - “I’m singing in the rain”
2007-08-02 08:44:00

The Alps may be right for the ‘Sound of Music’ but let me reassure you – especially Guy – that I know my strengths and weaknesses!

Day 11 – “Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head!”
2007-08-02 12:10:00

The ‘Chill Out’ Paragliding Club came to help me on my way….

Day 11 – Why does it always rain on me…
2007-08-02 18:08:00

I wonder if I should have brought an umbrella?
At the moment it would be far more useful than my paraglider and less heavy.

I feel another song coming on.
If Rihanna’s ‘Umbrella’ is popular in places where it rains (UK & Ireland) then perhaps it might be in the Top Ten here.

Day 11 – A Rainbow.
2007-08-02 20:00:00

Is that a sign that things will be better tomorrow?

My leg seems to have improved. Thanks for all the info and helpful advice on coping with a strained muscle. I’ve taken it easy today with a slowish, flatish (?) walk of about 56km and my leg is feeling much better.
The trouble is, that in order to fly I need to get up high and that will be crunch time.

Fingers crossed that the weather and my leg will both get better together.

Day 12 – Take off!
2007-08-03 08:58:00

Don’t need words……….!

Day 12 – Bye Switzerland, hello France.
2007-08-03 19:53:00

We’ve experienced such thoughtfulness and kindness from people who were complete strangers. It’s something we’ll never forget.
Perhaps, one day we’ll be able to do something in return.
Extra thanks to Julien and Jonas who were amazingly kind.

Day 12 – Pierre helps me on a night walk.
2007-08-03 22:57:00

Thanks Pierre – very much appreciated!

Day 13 – Au revoir Mont Blanc….Mont Gros next.
2007-08-04 17:10:00

I trekked up to Le Brevent and it was great once I got there.

Stunning views and lots of friends, old and new!
It’s really very encouraging when people go out of their way to make contact and really appreciated. Thanks.
It’s also so much more fun flying with other people.

I landed near Saint Gervais-Les Bains which saved quite a lot of walking.
These mountains are absolutely HUGE.

Day 13 – A Happy Coincidence.
2007-08-04 21:12:00

Just as we were studying the map and planning the next move some car lights approached us and stopped. We thought that it was the police, asking us to move on, but it wasn’t.

A familiar voice called out – It was Michael Gebert and his girlfriend!
We were so pleased to see them. (Our vans with all the stickers do rather stand out.) And no, they hadn’t come over specially to check out the English Bar, they were on their way to Monaco via Grenoble and spotted us by the roadside.
Isn’t it a small world!

NB We were quite popular with the police too, who stopped both of us and advised us to be careful as it wasn’t that safe.
They were looking out for our welfare and suggested that if we had to park up overnight we did so in a less conspicuous place.
We were sensible and took their advice….

Day 14 – Pole trouble
2007-08-05 08:20:00

I don’t believe it – While we were sleeping, last night, somebody pinched Aidan’s walking sticks!

OK, so we were a little tired and hadn’t put them away inside our van but ….that was a bit mean. Our Van has the RedBullXAlps logo all over it so it was obvious that the poles might be needed.

On the other hand, if you look on the bright side….it could have been a lot worse.
We were parked in a rather isolated place and, I suppose, poles are replaceable – we’re not!

On reflection, we should have had a cosier night and slept with the two poles!

Day 14 – Bhav & our wonderful Bongo Mazda
2007-08-05 10:39:00

We bought this van (a Bongo Mazda) especially for this race and it’s been a really good choice! Arriving at the English Bar for my next ‘Pit Stop’ I looked at the wheels and compared them to my feet…..

The Bongo’s probably gone a lot further than me but the wheels still look perfect.
That can’t be said for my feet.

I’ve got 2 VERY annoying blisters!

Day 14 – There’s a French cow out there with a different opinion about our Bongo
2007-08-05 19:33:00

Bhavna drove our faithful Bongo up 32 hairpin bends to get to take-off and neatly parked low down by a chalet.
Above was a field of Alpine cows.
We hadn’t realised French Alpine Cows had attitudes.
While we were busy trying to fly to Monaco, this cow with attitude, backed against the fence above the van and pee-ed on the roof of our Bongo.
We couldn’t believe it.
I’m not sure we’re very welcome here!

On the other hand we have experienced such kindness and helpfulness from John Shaw and Erwyn and the Maison de Mouline Paragliding Club.
It’s great having other paragliders about.
Many thanks to all!

PS No photos as they are in the camera - see next diary entry.

Day 14 – Virtual Flying after 9pm with suspended animation!
2007-08-05 20:39:00

Both Google Earth and the Red Bull Website are showing Aidan as flying since about 6:30 this evening.
Google Earth actually pinpoints the place / time when his special Red Bull / Nokia phone found its independence and went AWOL.
(Sorry about this to Red Bull & Nokia)

Losing the phone did make finding Aidan a little tricky.
We are together again now and waiting for someone from Red Bull to, hopefully, bring us a replacement phone.

NB I bet Alex’s supporter never had to put up with something like this!

Sorry – no photo as no phone!

Day 15 - Cars are a great idea
2007-08-06 13:03:00

Wind over back of take off so I need to find new spot.
It’s not so bad when the van has everything you could wish for - except a good take off place, which I wish for the most!
,

Day 15 – Epic weather but wind howling down
2007-08-06 15:22:00

Aidan used so much energy to get to the Col du Galibier and then found he was stuck there! This should have been a catching up day but the wind at Col de Galibier was all wrong for taking off. After a long time searching for a possible take-off we cut our losses and he did a glide down.

Unfortunately, during the glide Aidan’s GPS system took off on it’s own route down and so we’ve lost that too. I think that when you’re really tired you have to be so careful that bigger accidents don’t happen!
Well done to Kaoru. Brilliant. We’re green with envy and just wish it was us!

Day 15 – Final Game Plan.
2007-08-06 21:36:00

Today didn’t plan out at all as it was meant to and we are told that the Red Bull XAlps website says Aidan has done 672km and has 166km to do.
( So far he’s actually travelled 1064km. )
The race finishes on Wednesday, 8th at 10:30 so………
………. Can we do 166km before then?
Aidan is determined to get to Monaco, or as close as possible, even if he has to walk most of the night. It’s really important to him and he is not a quitter so here’s the plan.

To walk/run to a good early morning take-off point and just hope the weather is kind.
We know from this morning that apart from skill, timing is critical and luck plays a part.
Let’s hope we’re lucky tonight and tomorrow.

Any encouragement would be great.
If you feel like walking a bit of the way and joining Aidan tonight –even better.

If you’re sitting in a chair at home you can always support his charity – www.justgiving.com/xalps where our target is to raise £1000.

So far 765 pounds has been donated to Plan International with 176.28 pounds reclaimed from Gift Aid so that’s 941.28 pounds for his charity.
Like in the XALps, we’ve very nearly reached our target.
That’s BRILLIANT so thank you very much.

Day 16 – Lots of rain today so
2007-08-07 09:35:00

Taking it easy and defending sixth place as yesterday was heartbreaking.

I’m devastated as I so wanted to get to Monaco.

I can’t say anymore…………

Jj and bb
2007-08-07 20:00:00

Dutch friends come to support me at end

The last day
2007-08-08 02:37:00

Bhavna and I would like to thank our family and friends for all their support over the last two weeks. You’ve really helped us and I just wish you could have seen me flying onto the raft at Monaco. That’s what I really, really wanted!

I’ve got this long list of thank-yous in my head so here are some of them….
A special thank you to…
Kelly from Austria Arena for incredibly accurate weather information who certainly knows how to get the best out of a day.

Zabdi from Flying Fever as her lightweight equipment really saved my back.

Many hundreds of kind people who helped me on my way especially Jona, Pierre and Julien from Switzerland.

Erwyn & John Shaw from Maison de Moulin

Red Bull team who were very patient with me! & all this technology which is amazing.

All the people who gave donations to my Charity…
.Too tired to write anymore……

Last take off (in cloud as usual)
2007-08-08 09:12:00

Track Aidan Toase -> www.redbullxalps.com
 
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