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BLOG: X-Purrfect, X-Pure, X-Perience,

Published on
19 June 2022

After 15 plus years as a professional climber for The North Face…7 years ago, I figured I’d dabble in a little paragliding, not because I always had dreams of flying, but because it seemed like a fast way down from big rock climbs.  Honestly, Cross Country paragliding seemed sort of silly and uninteresting. MEGA-WRONG!!!  Often my first impressions are not the best!!! FOR instance, I  remember thinking that the internet seemed like a pretty stupid idea when it first came out…turns out the internet has been some what sucessful… and it turns out that Cross Country paragliding is infinitely interesting … HA, my bad!  In fact, I think my Ozone Zeolite should come with a warning label that says, CAUTION VERY ADDICTIVE.  In my first week learning with Matt Henzi, and after catching my first thermal and having my first soaring flight, I started calling paragliding “Sky Crack,” because no matter how much I got, it wasn’t enough.  This may very well be my greatest contribution to paragliding, I coined the term “Sky Crack!” Heh. Just one more hit….There is a fine line between passion and addiction!  Sort of like there is a fine line between Bad Ass and Dumb Ass! 


Let’s call it an addictive passion! Whether an addict or a pious disciple…I went all in, and have had some of the most incredible adventures of my life in the air…. including, flying off the highest peak in Mexico in my first year of paragliding, (thanks to my Sensei Matt Henzi’s tutelage), setting local XC records at my home site, and pioneering new launches in Nevada with legends of the sport in the USA such as Bill Belcourt, Reavis Stuphin-Gray, Arash Farhang, and Cody Mittank.  I dabbled in Vol-Biv a couple years ago with another key mentor Mitch Riley, as well as f ellow USA competitor Logan Walters.  After our “LAX” winter solstice traverse of the L.A. basin, I thought that maybe I would actually enjoy the sufferfest that the X-Pyr promises.  The final straw was when I visited europe last year and did a couple comps in Targasonne, and Valle de Boi and realized that the Pyrenees are fucking incredible, and that signing up for the X-Pyr 2022 was a definite: HELL YES PLEASE!!!!  

So here I am… a small American fish teeing up with the Euro Big Dogs.  Trying to stack the odds in my favor, I’ve been here in The Pyrenees, pre-race for over a week now, previewing the course with my close friend, supporter and extremely talented pilot in his own right… Mike Lester…, and it’s honestly been some of the best mountain flying of my life.  We have been blessed with FANTASTIC conditions!  I’ve crossed the Pyrenees by air in orbit… over 4000 meters altitude, freezing my nuts off…several times this week!!! GORGEOUS, ASTOUNDING, EPIC!!!! At this point.. Even if I FLAIL in the race, the recon has been awesome enough that I will go home happy regardless of my performance in what is looking like a beast of a course (especially the X, and getting in and out of Accous.)  For me X-Pyr is less about the competition and more about the adventure of crossing one of the most beautiful and iconic mountain ranges in the world!  Regardless of the outcome I know that this is going to be an unforgettable life X-Pyrience…Heh Heh.  WOOHOOO!!!!!  

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