RISE&FALL, a race against the clock – Part 2

4x430 altitude metres of intense struggle and challenges lay before the athletes of the 85 teams competing in RISE&FALL. This awesome sporting event which kicks off the winter season in Mayrhofen on the 15th December 2018, pushes the competitors to their limits. We find out from the athletes themselves exactly how they prepare to compete in their chosen discipline. The hard training doesn’t begin in Autumn, but requires endurance and fighting spirit throughout the whole year!

Helmut Riedl is a ski tourer who is facing the daunting challenge of competing in RISE&FALL. He doesn’t yet know what awaits him, and it’s the first time that he will be pitting himself against world-class athletes. Helmut’s team is the BBW – Bergfahrerbund Waldviertal – and he is really looking forward to the competition! In this interview, Helmut talks about his motivation, training, fears, and exactly why he is putting himself through this ordeal. 

What motivated you to take part in this extreme sports event?

I’m always looking to take on new challenges! I also think it’s really cool to perform together to such a high level as a team and to work towards a common goal. RISE&FALL has just the right combination of challenge and team spirit.  

What is your goal for the RISE&FALL competition? 

It’s our first RISE&FALL, so our main goal is to finish, and do so without any injuries! Of course, we have a target time within our team, which we would like to reach. If everything goes to plan, we should finish in about 50 minutes, or maybe even a little less! Of course, you can’t predict the weather conditions and the individual performances on the day. 

What training and preparation have you done for RISE&FALL over the last year? 

Because the opportunity to train for ski touring is very limited in summer, I make do with jogging, trail running, bouldering and mountain biking. The combination of running and cycling is perfect for building up stamina, with bouldering improving my core stability. This summer, we really focussed on cycling because our team also competed for the Salzkammergut Trophy. However, I plan to get back on the snow as soon as the conditions allow. Personally, I have never taken part in a ski touring competition, so I will definitely need to focus on training my speed. Until now, the focus of my ski touring has always been reaching the summit and enjoying the descent. 

Is it the first time that you are taking part in RISE&FALL? And, if so, what expectations do you have, and how do you imagine it will feel to compete in this event? 

I think that, especially for me, the start and the commotion at the beginning will be a real challenge, as well as the weather conditions because hard-packed, icy pistes could make it all much more difficult. The equipment will definitely also play a small role. As the focus is on speed, I don’t think we will have a problem holding our own. 

Can you tell me why you have chosen to put yourself through this ordeal? Will this event push you to your limit, or do you feel you have the potential to do more?

For me sport is a way of balancing out my work-life. Challenges which push you to your limits make everything else seem insignificant for a while. I think this is the attraction for me, and any thoughts of the struggle or ordeal fade into the background. Of course, being well-prepared is a basic requirement in order to be able to take part in such an event. Whether or not I can push myself to my absolute limit depends on the day, but, as the starting athlete, I owe it to my team mates to get to the handoff.