Mitchell Riley


"I have been adventuring in the mountains for my entire life."

Pilot: Mitchell Riley
Nationality: USA
Birth Date: 09.29.1984
City: Santa Barbara, California (USA)
Job: Paragliding instructor
Glider: OZONE Zeolite
Harness: OZONE F-Race
Helmet: SUPAIR
Sponsors: Ozone, Paraglide
Assistant: Violeta Jimenez
Nationality: USA
Birth Date: 1985
City: Seattle Washington (USA)


What is your greatest sporting success?
Through the years I have had memorable sporting successes at paragliding, kayaking, skiing, running and rugby. My work as a paragliding instructor has brought me the greatest satisfaction, and rewarding experiences. It is a special thing to introduce someone into the sport, then just a few years later be coaching them in proper XC and competitions.

When and why did you start paragliding?
I went on a tandem flight in 1992 when I was 8 years old. That memory of running on mountain grass, lifting off, then soaring thousands of feet above the earth is still seared into my brain. I always knew that I would learn to fly paragliders as an adult. When I was 22, in 2007, I learned how.

What is your mountaineering experience?
I have been adventuring in the mountains for my entire life. From backcountry skiing, to mountain ultra running, climbing, and vol-biv flying, playing in the mountains is one of my favorite pastimes.

What does your typical training week consist of?
No two weeks are the same. Each week will have some combination of running, hiking, strength training, stretching and recovery.

What are your best and worst sporting memories?
Best: Being the only one to make goal during the last task of the Owens Valley XC Classic, which secured me the 2015 national championship. It was a challenging day, and I went way off course line while everybody else bombed out. I ended up landing in goal with only 5 minuets till task deadline, and no-one else there.
Worse: I don’t want to talk about it.

Why did you choose X-Pyr?
I am fascinated by the sport of hike and fly. The idea of moving across an intricate landscape with the strength of my body, and my skill under a glider has me absolutely stoked!

Have you participated on X-Pyr before?

Have you flown in the Pyrenees before?
Only for acro training in Orgañà. I am very excited to study and learn as much as I can about a new (for me) flying arena.

What will your strategy be during the race?
Relentless forward progress!

What excites you most about X-Pyr?
The preperation of getting myself in top physical and mental shape for the adventure.

What scares you the most about the event?
I am thoughtful about the risk, and about how I should manage the risks appropriately.

Why will he/she make a good assistant?
Violeta knows me better then anyone. She knows when i need to be told to push on, and when I need to be told to settle down. She is a great motivator!

Anything else you like to comment?