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ON DETAIL: IMANOL BÁRCENA / AITOR ECHEVARRIA

“I will have to listen to my body and keep an eye on what it has to tell me along the race”

Pilot: Imanol Bárcena
Nationality: Spanish
Birth Date: 12.12.1974
City: Vitoria
Country: Spain
Job: Firefighter
Glider: OZONE Alpina 2
Harness: OZONE Ozium
Helmet: PLUSMAX
Sponsors: 
Assistant: Aitor Echevarría
Nationality: Spanish
Birth Date:17.07.1969
City: Vitoria
Country: Spain

INTERVIEW

What is your greatest sporting success?
When I was little, I used to do ski competitions, and was 2nd in the spanish championships when I was 12. Regarding paragliding, I don’t do comps very often, and the biggest achievements I can think of, are some flights with friends in the Pyrenees.

When and why did you start paragliding?
I have always liked the sky, the clouds and the birds. I have an older brother who used to fly hangliders, so I decided to do a crash course in the 19 hundreds, but I started flying regularly in 2005.

What is your mountaineering experience?
I have always been in touch with the mountains because of my parents. I used to hook onto the most afordable outings my brothers went to, and soon became passionate about climbing and mountaneering. Along the years, all sort of adventures have acumulated, in many spanish mountain chains, but also the Alps and the Andes.

What does your typical training week consist of?
I am guided by feelings and I have to balance training and family, but, during the week, I try to do long walks, some gym, running… if weather conditions are suitable, and I can find a gap, I get away to fly.

What are your best and worst sporting memories?
When I think of good memories, they are always linked to adventures, where I have reached the edge physically and psicologically, but I have come out of it unscathed, either with friends or alone.
And about the bad ones… luckily I haven’t had big dramas, and I forget small dramas quickly.

Why does the X-Pyr interest you?
To fly across the Pyrenees has always been a vital project for me. I would even say this idea was one of the main motivating factors to start flying. In the first edition, 2 years ago, I could only follow it in the internet like a madman, so the best way to stop it happening again, was to take part and leave the computer at home;-D

Have you flown in the Pyrenees before?
Yes, for the last few years I have been teaming up with a group of pilots to spend some days flying in the Pyrenees every year.

What will your strategy be during the race?
Decisions will have to be taken every time based on weather conditions, the amount of walking, the take offs… Putting all the variables in the bag and picking the best options out. In any case, the best strategy will always have enjoyment as principle.

What excites you most about X-Pyr?
I would say nearly everything: the landscape, the atmosphere, the friends, the adventure, the challenge…

What scares you the most about the event?
There is nothing that really scare me, but I will have to listen to my body and keep an eye on what it has to tell me along the race.

Why will he make a good assistant?
He is a pilot, knows the Pyrenees well, likes mountains, adventure and he also loves this race. If he can give good massages at night…I will marry him.

Anything else you like to comment?
We will upload out adventures in http://xpyrteam.wordpress.com/