Daniela Ryf ready for Ironman World Championship
Daniela Ryf is in the final stages of preparation for the Ironman World Championship, taking place in St. George (USA) on May 7. After a challenging 2021 season saw her suffer from health setbacks, the 34-year-old Solothurn native is now ready for the first major highlight in 2022.
Never before did Daniela Ryf have to prepare herself for a World Championship this early in a season. 2022 is a special year in triathlon, however, in that two World Championships take place within a span of approximately six months. First off, the 2021 World Championships, originally postponed last August, will be held in St. George, Utah on May 7. Then, in a return to the norm, Hawaii will host the 2022 Ironman World Championships in October. "The anticipation is huge because the pandemic, with its numerous cancellations and postponements, was difficult for us long-distance athletes”, reflects Ryf. “To now have the opportunity to compete in an Ironman World Championship, even if not in Hawaii, is great. It will certainly be a completely different race than Kona. But I'm up for the challenge and will give it my best to be ready for the race."
Reset for the body
2021 was a rather difficult season for Daniela Ryf in general. First, she parted ways with her long-time coach Brett Sutton, then the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii were cancelled for the second year in a row. "I didn't expect the cancellation last year. I was very disappointed," admits the four-time Ironman World Champion. She wrapped up her season in St. George, of all places, finishing outside the top ten for the first time in a 70.3 Ironman World Championship with an 11th-place finish - and then pulled the plug. A lengthy break from training followed, allowing her body to rest. "The time away was like a computer reset. I restarted my body and slowly rebuilt it. That was an important building block in returning to full strength. The problems with my immune system are under control now and I'm very positive, as I look ahead to the World Championships. My training went well and I did everything in order to be ready to compete.”
Arizona as World Championship training base
Daniela Ryf experienced a very consistent winter and a good, tough training block in the mountains of Gran Canaria (ESP). Then, at the beginning of April, she flew to the USA: "It was important for me to arrive in the United States early, so that I would have enough time to overcome my jet lag and to get used to the dry and warm climate.” She chose Sedona (Arizona) as her training base because of comparable conditions to St. George, where she has competed twice and even won a race last May. "Sedona rests a little higher above sea level than St.George, but it's just as dry and I've been able to acclimate well since my arrival." Ryf will leave Arizona and move to Utah six days before the Ironman World Championship.
Ryf expects a challenging race in St.George, one in which the running portion could be the deciding factor. "The bike course is hilly and tough, but not particularly special. On the run course, however, our legs will be challenged a lot, especially during the downhill portion. I have great respect for the race, because I think it will turn out to be extremely difficult."
Switzerland’s 2018 Sportswoman of the Year is definitely not lacking in motivation: "The Ironman World Championship still means the world to me and I know that I have to be at my very best in order to win this title. I also need this type of big goal in order to get myself fully invested." If the past few months have taught the Solothurn native anything, it is that her passion for the sport is intact. "I have become very aware that I still love this sport very much. It's for this reason, that I fight through challenges and difficulties, so that I can deliver my best possible performance when it matters the most."