Daniela Ryf on tough conditions St. George: “I’m already praying for my legs”

(Photo: Diego Menzi RR, Daniela Ryf Instagram)

We’re counting down the days until we can finally watch the world’s best athletes battle each other again at the Ironman World Championship. After two years without Kona it’s about time, but with the event moving to St. George, athletes are up for quite a different race than some of them are used to. In Bob Babbitt’s “Breakfast With Bob” four-time Ironman World Champion Daniela Ryf shares her thoughts. “I’m a little scared that the race is going to be so hard, but I’m also really looking forward.”

She might be looking forward, there is still a long season ahead after St. George, and although Ryf will go all out, she’s already a bit afraid of how her recovery will be after this tough first Ironman World Championship of the year. “I’m thinking: ‘oh my god, how am I going to walk the next day?’, because I think this race is going to destroy everyone badly. I’m already praying for my legs. Especially because the season isn’t over then; the season’s just getting going.”

In contrast with the humid Hawaii, St. George has a very dry climate. That’s why Ryf decided to go out there three weeks prior to the race in order to get used to the dry heat. “The breathing is heavy”, she explains. “Even though you would think in dry air it’s easier to breathe, I find it quite challenging. It was important for me that I can get used to it.”

The air is so dry that it makes your throat feel sore, and as you don’t sweat as much it tricks you into thinking you won’t need to drink much, which – of course – you still do, Ryf says. “I did long rides, where I didn’t drink because I forgot and then later realized, ‘oh, I need to drink’. […] It’s very different to Kona, but it’s always good to adapt to the challenges and make the best out of what you need to get used to.”

Watch the full interview, in which Ryf also talks about her struggles the last few years and about Lucy Charles missing out on the first Ironman World Championship of the year.