What is your greatest sporting success?
I have had so many flights that have stood out, perhaps the top of the list was a four day vol biv in the Owens Valley. It took all my skills of fitness and flying ability. Launching high in strong winds from never before flown mountains. Climbing high above the heat of the valley floor to below freezing turbulence surrounded by my favorite view in the whole world. It took all the skills to pull it off safely yet fully exposed. My happy place.
When and why did you start paragliding?
I started flying airplanes and helicopters on a small grass strip in California at 16 years old. Since I can remember all I have ever wanted to do was be a pilot. Paragliding to me is the most pure form of flight. Intricate simplicity of free flight has always captured my obsession and the headspace it brings me to is addictive and clear. Drawn to the adventure and spirit of placing yourself in the air committed and living the dream. I finally started flying paragliders in 2011 and after only a few days at the training hill went to the mountains. After thermalling for almost an hour I found myself low and out of reach of the LZ. I wanted more! Unfortunately I found myself in a palm tree 10m from the ground and was rescued. I left the sport for 6 years until I could not take it anymore. For the last 4 years I have got my wing out of the bag to at least kite almost every day.
What is your mountaineering experience?
I have spent many years of my life in the great mountain ranges of the world. Rock climbing at the 8b level. Alpine climbing jagged peaks (Sierra Nevada, Himalayas, British Columbia, Rocky Mountains, Tetons). Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, and most recently mountain running. Most of my fondest memories are in the mountains, long days on the snow and rock with friends that become family.
What does your typical training week consist of?
I train 6 days a week, a full time job. Two days in the gym and the rest on the trails, often hitting 5000 feet elevation a day with the pack on. Interval training and long aerobic efforts. Along with being in the air every day for a sled ride or long XC, I love it all. This is all about being a better hike and fly pilot, all day every day.
What are your best and worst sporting memories?
Prior to paragliding it was all about climbing. One of the highest highs and lowest lows came from one day of a long tough climb in the Black Canyon where I bonked hard many pitches up. Instead of retreating I clawed my way to the top, unable to talk and completely dehydrated I rolled over the top in beaten down triumph, it was amazing. Since paragliding my love for adventure has only grown and after many vol bivs I found myself at the Eiger Tour participating in days of great fun and high spirits. Popping out over beautiful valleys I had never seen before, it was amazing and I instantly signed up for more. These adventures fill me with stoke and drive for more, even taking me to the top of a skyscraper in Dubai!
Why did you choose the X-Pyr?
The X-Pyr has been on the top of my list for the last four years. Since learning about the race, almost every step I have made, the X- Pyr has been on my mind. I am ecstatic to partake in this epic adventure!
Have you participated in the X-Pyr before? How was it?
Have you flown in the Pyrenees before? What do you think about them?
I have never flown the Pyrenees… I can’t wait. Everything I have heard puts this range on the top of my list for places to fly. Beautiful mountains, steep hikes, epic flying. It sounds like the perfect playground.
What will your strategy be during the race?
Don’t stop moving. I have been training hard to prepare and my goal is absolutely to finish utilizing any means possible with the support of my awesome team.
What excites you most about the X-Pyr?
New mountains and trying as hard as possible. I feel like we rarely have opportunities in life to give this kind of effort in wild environments.
What scares you the most about the event?
Getting hurt is always a risk when you are pushing hard, I hope to have a safe and fulfilling event.
Why will he/she make a good assistant?
Reavis has been a supporter multiple times for Gavin McClurg in the X-Alps. He knows weather and route choice as good as anyone. Chris Garcia will also be there making sure everything is in order, plus his good fitness will make sure my hikes are not all alone. They both have amazing humor in the worse times. Our team will be full of laughs especially in the darkest hours!
Anything else you like to comment?