We speak to Daniela Ryf, Red Bull athlete and winner of this year's Ironman 70.3 Wiesbaden, about the switch from ITU racing, her aims for next season, and whether she will ever take on a full Ironman.
A course record in Wiesbaden, Daniela. Not bad for your first 70.3 attempt!
Yeah I was really happy with my performance. I knew I was going well and felt pretty good before the race. I checked out the course, as it's very technical and hilly. I think this helped me a lot for my race.
But in a 70.3 a lot can happen, so I just focused on pushing the pace the whole way. Luckily there was energy in my tank until the end.
Quietly confident or did you surprise yourself?
I knew I could bike well, but I was definitely a bit surprised by my run. It seemed my energy tank just didn't want to get empty, which was an awesome feeling.
You didn’t take the lead until pretty much the last 5km of the run. Was this the plan?
I tried to not start the run too fast, always having in mind it is a bit longer than an Olympic distance. But as my legs were still feeling pretty great, I decided I wanted to make the move. I didn't really have a plan, I just like to race on feeling.
After coming second in 5150 Zurich two weeks before, I really wanted to go for the win this time. So I took a risk and started to increase the pace after 10k. When you see someone catching you up it's always easier to put the head down one more time. That's what I did on the last 5k.
Any other highlights from 2013?
The next highlights are the 70.3 Worlds in Vegas. Then I will do another training camp before I have to go back to uni at the end of September. At the end of October I am finishing up my season with Lifetime Fitness Oceanside and maybe 70.3 Miami.
Was there a key moment when you decided to make the switch from ITU racing or has it been a natural progression?
I didn't really decide to switch. I just always liked doing the non-drafting races. Last year with the Olympics I really lost a bit of the fun with racing. So what I did is go back to the non-drafting races, which really suit me well.
How has training changed since moving to 70.3 and non-drafting events?
Training actually is still pretty much the same. I might swim a bit less and invest a bit more on my biking. But there's not really any difference in the hours of training per week.
Is a full Ironman event on the cards in the not-too-distant future?
Until last year I would have answered this question with a definite 'I'm never gonna do Ironman'. Now I'm thinking maybe I will do one one day – but probably not before 2016.
I'm perfectly happy with the 70.3 distance for the moment, and want to improve on this distance first.
You’re a Red Bull athlete, how did that come about and what support do you get from them?
They are such a great support to me. The best thing is that I can get free Red Bull deliveries to every training camp all over the world, and I can visit cool Red Bull events.
But there is more behind that. Being a Red Bull athlete is like being part of the family. They treat you like a member, support you where they can and want to grow with you.
For example, last year when I was not going so well I had meetings with sponsors telling me I should make sure I win again. Red Bull was only concerned with my health and trying to find a way to help me instead.
This support really meant a lot to me and made me proud to be part of the Red Bull Family.
They also have a pretty awesome athletic centre in Fuschl (close to Salzburg), where Red Bull athletes can train and get fit.
Where are you based? Does this depend on the season?
I'm still based in Switzerland, where I have a flat. I really enjoyed training in Boulder, Colorado, so maybe I will get to go there again next summer, depending on the races.
What do you have planned for winter and what are your targets for next season?
I will be spending most of the winter in Switzerland, like I did this year. Next year will be similar to this season – I want to do some races in Switzerland early season and then more of the non-drafting events like 5150, 70.3 and the Lifetime Fitness Series.