The Red Bull X-Alps turned into a wild adventure Wednesday as athletes approaching Monaco took to their feet to hike the final kilometers to goal. Having come so far, the last leg to Peille often proves a torture for the athletes as the terrain is notoriously difficult to navigate.
”There's no logic to it, there's just bits of mountains everywhere,” says Jon Chambers (GBR), who finished fourth on Tuesday. The Briton ran in from 12km, which took two-and-a-half hours.
“It's not high, it's just steep up and down. It's not quick terrain at all, and navigation is a nightmare — as soon as you're in the valley its impossible to know where to go,” he says. “It's just a maze - there are so many paths and everything is at funny angles. It's really disorientating.”
Athletes facing this battle Wednesday afternoon included Ferdinand van Schelven (NED), Martin Muller (SUI2) and paragliding world champion Aaron Durogati (ITA1). They were all hoping to make Peille, the final turnpoint, by the evening cut-off.
Van Schelven is the only one of the three with a Night Pass still to play and Wednesday he pulled it, meaning that if the other two don't make it before the 22:30 mandatory rest-stop, he will secure sixth place.
When questioned late afternoon, all he could say was: “It's hot and all up and down hill.”
Other teams to pull Night Passes Wednesday were Andy Frötscher (ITA3), Max Mittmann (GER3) and Michal Krysta (CZE) who were between 250km and 350km from Monaco. The predicted flying conditions from Wetter.tv remained poor meaning any teams hoping to make the finish line before the race ends at 12:00 on Friday are in for a real fight.
For what happens next in the drama, go to Red Bull Mobile Live Tracking, which lets you follow the athletes in real time on redbullxalps.com.