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ON DETAIL: JOSE IGNACIO ARÉVALO / JAVIER DELGADO

“Every pilot wants to be on the X-Pyr”

Pilot: Jose Ignacio Arévalo
Nationality: Spanish
Birth Date: 01.12.1979
City: El Puerto de Santa María
Country: Spain
Job: Fireman
Glider: OZONE Alpina 2
Harness: SUPAIR XA13
Helmet: OZONE Nutshell
Sponsors: Ozone, SupAir, CIVA Algodonales, Soljuben Construcciones, Plusmax, Ayto Algodonales
Assistant: Javier Delgado
Nationality: Spanish
Birth Date: 04.10.1978
City: Tarifa
Country: Spain

INTERVIEW

What is your greatest sporting success?
My achievements have little to do with paragliding. I was Mountain bike racer until 2004 and that is what I have stood out for.
As sporting success I should maybe mention a second place in the sub23 category, or the stages I won during the Vuelta a Valladolid race, or Vuelta a Portugal, although best of all is always the feeling of going through life doing what you like best, despite the results.
In terms of flying, 2013 was my second year doing comps and I did rather well, I won the Andalucia championships, I was 3rd in the Spanish championships and 2nd in the Spanish League. Everything in the “Sport” category.

When and why did you start paragliding?
My father had a paragliding school in Cádiz. When I was 11 or 12 I was already trying the wings available at the time and we would come along to the comps with Juande (Juan de Dios Carreras).
When I started mountain biking I stopped flying, until 6 years ago when I came back to it, and it has been like discovering a new sport. With all the techological advances in the equipment, we really fly now!

What is your mountaineering experience?
Apart from mountain biking, a lot of climbing, canyoning, hiking, vias ferratas, etc.

Alpine stuff is a different matter. I have done something in Sierra Nevada and the last couple of years we have spent nearly 3 months in the Alps and another 3 in the Pyrenees climbing and of course flying!

What does your typical training week consist of?
Rather than a specific training regime I am doing physical aclimatation. You need a solid base to train in any sport. I have practised racing only to pass my exams, and of course it is very different to train for a 2km race than an X-Pyr sort of race, so I first need to achieve a level which will allow me to train without injuring myself.
I am running 3 days a week, doing some cycling so I don’t overload my joints and improve my stamina and also 3-4 days of gym a week.
When I saw the pre-registration list I didn’t think I was going to be accepted in the X-Pyr and it has taken me by surprise, but I am working hard to reach the start in the best shape possible considering I only have 6 months.

What are your best and worst sporting memories?
There are lots of good ones, all very different. I enjoyed my cycling stage, racing with people that I had previously seen in the magazines.
I am enjoying paragliding a lot. Everything is happening very fast and the last two years have been intense. I have learnt a lot in the Andalucian league, and flying Xc in the Alps in 2012 and 2013 has been awesome.
I have enjoyed the comps very much in my first year in them, the last task in the Andalucian league when I was first overall with a “sport” type glider, and it was a great experience to finish 3rd in the Spanish champs in 2013, even more as the competition was so intense both in airtime and km that I was exhausted. Problem was that I had to leave in a hurry due to a commitment and I couldn’t collect my trophy.
I don’t have any bad memories, I tend to forget them, I am very forgetful!

Why does the X-Pyr interest you?
I like this competition format. Classic XC comps are good, but to mix free flying with a paraglider, the pilot’s physical condition, decision making skills, and all that alone in the middle of the mountains…everything has to be perfect, it is a great challege only exceeded by the X-Alps.

Have you flown in the Pyrenees before?
Yes, I have been visiting the Pyrenees for 4 years. I have mainly flown in Castejón de Sos and sometimes in Ager, Accous and Hecho.

What will your strategy be during the race?
Ufff, If you have only one strategy for this competition you are at a loss, He, he!.
I don’t know, it will depend on how fit you are when you start the race, on the meteorological conditions, etc.
There are many strategies, but all depend on different factors, some of them out of my control, so we will have to improvise.
However, there is one thing I hope not to forget, and that is to go and enjoy myself, to do my own race trying to escape everything around me.
Flying, having little sleep, running with all the equipment…it is all very demanding and any strain can be felt all along the race.

What excites you most about X-Pyr?
Everything.
Every pilot wants to be there.
We are going to try and cross the Pyrenees from coast to coast with a paraglider and on foot, only 25 pilots from all over the world, and there are world champions amongst them, X-Alps pilots, X-Pyr pilots, Pwc pilots, ultratrail runners… and well, one from Cadiz. Sounds like the beggining of a joke!

What scares you the most about the event?
Very strong and dangerous flying conditions, and too much walking.
I don’t know how good comunications will be in an alpine environment.

Why will he/she make a good assistant?
Because he is in very good physical condition, he is good at orienteering, maps, gps, he is a paraglider pilots himself. We have gone to the Alps together for the last 2 years and when you live with someone for a month inside a van and you do it again the following year it is because you understand each other well.
Besides he was one of the people who encouraged me to sign into this madness.

Anything else you like to comment?
I want to congratulate you for making the X-Pyr in this second edition a world class event and a landmark race, and good luck to everyone!!