Preparing for the X-alps is making me realise that the emotional attraction of the race and the reality are not the same. What I mean to say is that whilst the race is about one pilot/athlete against the mountains and the elements, in order to succeed there needs to be an effective functioning team behind me. And that team goes further than my supporter (who I have no doubt will be the best supporter ever – no pressure Dad!).
Of course, during the race the only support allowed is from the official supporter in line with the rules, but when I talk about the team, I’m talking about the team involved in the preparation. Last week I wrote about equipment, and the companies supporting me with gear (especially Ozone) are certainly a key part of the team – the right equipment will make a big difference on the day. Moreover their knowledge and expertise in the race will help with the preparations beyond just the supply of the equipment.
Seeing how well Maurer’s winning team were prepared in the last race in 2009 got me thinking that Paragliding has come a long way in the 20 years I have been flying. Whilst still a minority sport, events like the X-Alps now appeal far beyond the audience of people involved in the sport. So I started to think in terms of preparing for a major sporting event rather than for a paragliding race. In trying to understand how other sports prepare for major events I talked to John Doerr, a sailing guru, and former America’s Cup coach. Fundamentally, preparation for major events comes down to managing time and that is consistent whatever the sport. In fact, the more we talked, the more opportunity we saw, so I now have great pleasure in announcing that John is going to help team GBR2 prepare for this race.
So we officially have a team coach!