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Explore the Pyrenees to find the best way to reach goal together with good teammates

Johannes Helleland


Johannes Helleland


  • Nationality
  • Age
  • Occupation
    Helicopter Pilot
  • Residence
    Godvik (Norway)
  • Experience
    1 X-Pyr
  • Wing
    NIVIUK Klimber 3P 21
  • Harness
    NIVIUK Arrow P
  • Helmet
    SALOMON Pioneer

Yermolay McAlice


  • Nationality
  • Residence
    Bremerhaven (Germany )

Team details

  • Website

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Why did you choose the X-Pyr again?
We fell in love with the Pyrenees and the concept! We really look forward to giving it another try.

How was your race the last time?
Lots of learning and experience gained in the last edition! Many adjustments have to be made. Even if we struggled with many things during the race, (and the weather made the race quite difficult), we enjoyed the nature, atmosphere, and the race!

What did you learn during the last edition?
I learned some interesting things about myself as a person, and the team:
– I’m quite impatient!
– I can function very well with lack of sleep.
– We did best when we trusted our own decisions. Not looking too much at what everyone else did.
– Preparation is more than physical fitness and flying skills. All gear and equipment that affects the execution of the race needs to be prepared well in advance and be tested thoroughly.

What does your typical training week consist of?
Has your training regime changed since the last X-Pyr?

Running at least 3 times a week mixed with uphill training, either in terrain or max inclination on a threadmill. In combination with biking, and some strength/core sessions that would be a typical training week.

Training has changed. Last time I trained too hard/much too fast and I got injured. This time I focus more on basic strength and core, together with way more stretching. I also have some more rest days in between longer/harder runs to help the body recover properly. (A 40-year old body needs more treatment and attention than 20 years ago…;)

What changes have you made to your equipment for this edition?
This year I will fly the Klimber 3P size 21. Sizing up from the Klimber 2P size 20 in the last edition. I also swapped to the Niviuk Arrow P harness.

Apart from flying far and walking little, what will your strategy be during the race?
Trust our own decisions. Always be in motion. Have fun, and enjoy the scenery!

What excites you most about participating in the X-Pyr again?
The duration and length of the race appeals to me. And I like the race because it depends on a strong team, not only the athlete.

What worries you the most about the event?
Its a long and exhausting race. Poor decisions, because of fatigue, can put me in dangerous situations is probably what worries me the most. But I’m sure my 23 experience with paragliding, and 10.000 hrs as a helicopter pilot will be an advantage to help me to make good and safe decisions. I also trust my team mates 100% to make good decisions on my behalf.

Is there anything you like to see (or not) in the route?
Last time we met a bear in the fog. I do not want to do that again;)

Do you have a favourite part of the Pyrenees?
Tricky question. Many beautiful areas with different qualities.

I must say that the Basque country surprised me positively. Maybe not the most exciting area for paragliding, but the scenery is great!

Flying wise I have to mention the French Pyrenees in the area close to mt Aneto. Magnificent!

How do you know your assistant?
We met as colleagues flying helicopters in the North Sea.
He’s a real adventurer with the Swiss Alps as his playground. When he started paragliding some years ago we immediately hooked up.

What are your assistant’s main strengths?
Lots of mountaineering experience. Good stamina. And a positive attitude!

What advice would you give a rookie in this event?
Prepare well, trust your decisions, and have fun!

Anything else you like to comment?
For the application for the 2024 edition of the X-Pyr we have an extraordinary fundraising concept!

Fundraising money to help hospitalised children and youngsters to experience something positive!
This is in cooperation with the organization “Hospital clowns” (Sykehusklovnene). Together we realised “Ungt Løft” (“Young lift”) which is an arrangement where youngsters and young adults who need a positive experience in their life will be offered tandem paragliding flights in the air above where they have been patients at the hospital. Positive experiences and adrenaline/endorphins are proven to be very helpful in the mental healing process after major sickness, injuries, or surgery.

This event had its first edition in 2023 and was a huge success. The event was broadcast in national media, and got a lot of positive feedback. This year we plan to have two independent events in two cities.

X-Pyr as a venture race, and its non profit profile, is a perfect arena to do fundraising. My main sponsor, KYSTDESIGN AS, will donate money for every kilometer we cover in the race. The money will be used for the two events of “Ungt Løft” 2024, and hopefully give funding to do even more of these events all over Norway. We will also generate a public fundraising, where followers can donate a small amount to help us realise these goals.


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