Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A Tour of Mt. Aso and Mt. Kuju in Kyushu

Another nice one last weekend!  This 74 km FAI triangle around Mt. Aso and Kuju has never been flown before, to my knowledge.  Enjoy the scenery and come fly with us in southern Japan sometime!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Support from KUMADEN and YAESU

Local ham radio shop KUMADEN and prominent ham equipment maker YAESU are supporting me with a high-tech transceiver and accessories for use during the X-Alps.  The transceiver (FT2D) is equipped, among other things, with GPS and APRS capability.  APRS is ham radio's version of live-tracking and will add a layer of confidence, security, and safety to my race.  Besides being live-tracked on the internet, my supporters will also get real-time data about my position, transmitted to them directly over ham frequencies (and hence independent of the cell-phone network).  They will be able to tell at a glance how many kilometers I am from the support car, in what direction, as well as further information about my rate of progress.

The transciever has a dual tuner, which means it's actually two transcievers in one.  It can tune to virtually any frequency from sub-AM band to 1GHz, so that I can listen in on the European weather beacons while still having a channel open to talk to my supporters.

Thank you KUMADEN and YAESU for your support!

Saturday Tandem

Saturday came with changeable weather.  We had to wait out a passing rain shower before tandeming, and the southwest wind was already getting a little strong.  But we had a surprisingly nice flight!  Thanks Joleen for your support, and I had fun today chatting with you while airborne! 

The second flight on the Delta 2 was about as rough as it could get.  Is it because it's the height of the season?  There was an incipient front collapse at least one every five minutes, and violent up- and donwdrafts.  Great training!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Kumanichi News Report


Montbell Supports Team Canada for the Red Bull X-Alps

I am very happy to announce that Team Canada Red Bull X-Alps 2017 is going to be supported by Japanese outdoor gear and clothing company Montbell through the Montbell Challenge Support Program. This program supports people that are pursuing adventure and exploration by offering necessary gear and support. We are very happy with this new sponsor because we feel it is a good fit with our team. Montbell, originally created and based in Japan, now has shops all around the world including Switzerland and the U.S.

Yesterday was the perfect day to go check out the Montbell shop in Minami Aso City as it was pouring rain with strong winds. The Minami Aso Montbell shop is situated in a town that was devastated by the Kumamoto Earthquake on April 14th, 2016.  At that time the Montbell provided tents and sleeping bags for the disaster hit areas with their own parking lot turning into a tent city overnight. Montbell's Minami Aso shop was instrumental in organizing relief and support to the people living in the area.

Since the earthquake, we had not been to Minami Aso, as the Great Aso Bridge had been wiped out during the disaster and access to the area had become difficult. Yesterday, despite the driving rain, the area looked beautiful and once again thriving with a lot of construction and newly rebuilt homes and roads.

We arrived at the shop in the early afternoon, and managed to stay until closing time. The Red Bull X-Alps race is such a multi faceted race that it is difficult to choose the ideal gear. Lightweight and minimal ended up being the main criterion for choosing the necessary items. For example, thermal underwear was available in silk, polyester and wool, and in thin, medium and heavy weights. These all had to be tried on in various sizes before final decisions were made.

Since we live on the Amakusa Islands and spend most of our free time in the mountains or on the sea, we usually buy all our gear online. Of course this is very convenient for us, but actually touching the fabric, trying it on, accessing the feeling of the clothing on your body and receiving valuable advice from experienced staff is so important! We would like to thank the shop manager Mr. Yamamoto and to our personal assistant deluxe, Mr. Murakami, who ran around the shop endlessly selecting different garments.

In the end we had to go through our treasures and once again re-access what we really needed and what we could do without. We chose a lightweight tent and sleeping bag, a warm lightweight down jacket, a windbreaker, a rain poncho, running shorts and t-shirts, wool long underwear, spandex leggings, goretex hiking shoes and various weights of synthetic socks. By the end of the day we were knackered but satisfied that our newest sponsor Montbell will help our team get to the goal in Monaco.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Foreigners who LOVE Kumamoto- Richard Brezina

Click on the CC settings icon at the bottom of your screen for specially written subtitles in English!

KAB`s Kuma Power TV show featured Richard Brezina on April 3rd. Living in Japan but representing Canada in the Red Bull X-Alps 2017, the show highlights Richard`s daily life and training in Amakusa, Kumamoto, JAPAN.
Thanks to the KAB staff for doing such a great job putting this show together, especially the director, Mr.Uchida!

For more information about Team Canada Red Bull X-Alps 2017, check out
To support Team Canada Red Bull X-Alps, sponsor us on crowd funding:

 #ricksxalps #redbullxalps #teamcanada


What is in this blog?

Hi!  This will be a blog about my experience in preparing for and competing in the Red Bull X-Alps, IMHO, the coolest race in the world!  Wi...