This video will fly you all around the world

Join the Red Bull X-Alps athletes in the sky as they prepare for this July’s epic showdown.
By Tarquin Cooper

From Colombia to Italy, and Zambia to New Zealand – all over the globe some of the world's top paraglider pilots are training hard for the 2015 Red Bull X-Alps. It's a 1,038km hike-and-fly battle from Salzburg, Austria, across the length of the Alps, to Monaco.

If you're a hot-shot adventure paraglider, this has been the number one event in your calendar since the last edition ended in 2013. (Yep, it's that tough it's only held every two years.)

To discover how they've been preparing, we asked this year's athletes to send us their footage. Hit play below and prepare to be inspired as they take you on a paragliding tour of the world.

Watch Red Bull X-Alps athletes training around the world

With just under 100 days to go to the start gun fires in the old quarter of Salzburg, it's fair to say that the athletes taking part have been revving up their training. They're charging hard and raring to go.

“I'm training, training, training,” says US athlete Gavin McClurg, competing for the first time. “I've got this ex-Delta Force guy as my fitness coach and he's been working on me since October and I'm doing a ton of strength and aerobic training.”

In the last couple of years McClurg has been flying from the snow capped peaks of Alaska to the rain-soaked valleys of Colombia to big adventure flights across the Sierras. More recently he made an epic 650km crossing of the Canadian Rockies with Red Bull athlete Will Gadd, which helped earn the pair a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year nomination. 

“I'm feeling really strong,” he tells us. ”I can't imagine anyone's been training as hard as me.”

The Aletsch Glacier is the largest glacier in the Alps and makes a dramatic backdrop for the athletes.
No retreat © Felix Woelk/Red Bull Content Pool

It's fighting talk from the American, but he's not the only one training hard. Frenchman Nelson de Freyman, at 23, the youngest competitor in the field, says he's ready, and with youth on his side, says he can take on the more experienced pilots.

“Last year I spent four months in the Rockies and we made some big vol biv flights and we were really alone [he clocked 2,400km of flying]. It was wild country – I learned a lot. Earlier this year I was flying in South Africa.”

“I don't need to eat or sleep a lot. I can survive on two to three hours a night,” he adds.

Nelson de Freyman training in South Africa © Nelson de Freyman

Other athletes featured in the footage include adventure legends Tom de Dorlodot and Paul Guschlbauer who have big plans to complete their Adriatic Crossing adventure which they were forced to abandon last year.

Is this the scariest take-off ever? Watch Paul Guschlbauer launch from Angel Falls

We also see Frenchman Antoine Girard, who came third in the 2013 Red Bull X-Alps, and Samuel Vurpillot competing for the first time and the self-styled lone wolf adventurer Dave Turner, who's already made two hike-and-fly crossings of the Alps.

The next few months will see the athletes hone their fitness and research the route of the race. When they all come together for the first time in July, it promises to be a spectacular showdown. Even better, you'll be able to follow all the action live.

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