With the exception of 2014 Kona World Championships where she took 2nd place overall, Swiss star Daniela Ryf has won every race she’s entered over the previous 12 months. That streak continued this past weekend as Ryf won the 2015 Ironman 70.3 World Championships for the second straight year, and in commanding style to boot. With the aid of a very strong swim that put her into T1 less than a minute down on her nearest competitor, Ryf uncorked a blistering 2:21:10 bike ride aboard her Felt IA FRD to build an almost insurmountable lead. Her 1:22:52 run was the fastest women’s time of the day and in crossing the line she became the only pro athlete to date to have ever repeated as 70.3 World Champion. We caught up with Daniela right afterwards as she reflected on her win and the look ahead to Kona.
FELT: Tell us about your 2015 70.3 World Championship day. Take us through from from the time the alarm goes off until the moment you cross the finish line.
DR: It was a special race. It was the first time 70.3 Worlds was in Europe and it included a late morning start. So I got up at 7.30am, had a little walk to get some bread at the bakery. Then had brekky and rode to start. I was exited and in same time a bit nervous. My goal was to deliver a fast bike performance on this stunning course. The swim went very well for me. So I could take the lead on the bike just going into the hill. I worked it hard, as I knew could recover on the descent. Then the flat part I could really profit from the sailing wings of the IA. The goal was to push the last 40k for sure under 1h. Jumping off the bike the legs were used, but still able to push. The run course along the lake was just as beautiful as the ride course. The atmosphere of the Austrians and fans all over the world was very inspiring and helped me so much to push hard till the end. I’m looking back to a great day and I’m very happy I could show the best I can be on this day.
FELT: You are known as a particularly good bike rider. Do you have a background in cycling?
DR: No. I started with swimming and athletics. With the age of 14 I started with triathlon. From there I just liked to ride. Especially hilly courses. Since I’m riding the IA my time trialing has improved a lot and I’m starting to really feel good on the flats, too. I guess the hours on the turbo trainer also helped for this, just as the IA is just really fast with some side wind, as it feels like a sailing boat taking off.
FELT: How important are your equipment choices and specifically to have a bike like the Felt IA?
DR: I always thought it wouldn’t make a bit difference. But riding in the wind for 180k I started to realize it really does. Especially on a course like Kona. The last years I worked on my position and now I feel the best I ever have on the bike. The Felt IA really is made for a course like Kona–like I said it feels like a sailing boat with a a secret wing. But also it is very stiff, so it works just as perfect on difficult downhills like Zell am See. I ride the passes Albula, Julier, Bernina and Flüela in St.Moritz all the time and never had any problems.
FELT: After a day as big as a World Championship we known an athlete’s engine continues to run. Do you find it hard unwinding afterwards or even sleeping?
After the race in Zell I was very tired, but with all the positive emotions from race day it takes a while to come down. I normally sleep okay, but a little shorter than usual. The next day I tried to do some training, just to keep the motor rolling. Plus it helps to digest the feelings and to go through the emotions again from the day before.
FELT: You next race is the Kona World Championship where you took second last year. What are your feelings going into this race again?
DR: I’m very exited to go back to Kona. My big goal this year is to show a great performance and be a little faster than last year. I believe I can be, having done more specific Ironman training through the year. I’m looking forward to what race day will bring.
FELT: Any final thoughts?
DR: I have to say I am really proud to be a Felt rider. I’ve been on the team since 2008 and the support from Jim Felt and the guys from Felt Switzerland have been so supportive. I love the passion they put in their bikes, because I love to ride with passion, too. In Zell am See I had a mechanic there in place, which helped me to focus on my race and not having to worry about any mechanical issues. I’m very grateful for this support and I am looking forward to more passionate riding and racing on the Felt IA.
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