Just feeling healthy again is a major step forward for Daniela Ryf as she gets ready to open up her 2022 season at IRONMAN 70.3 Dubai on Saturday.
The Swiss superstar struggled in the latter part of 2021, being well beaten by Taylor Knibb in the Collins Cup and Lucy Charles-Barclay in the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship.
But as she explained at Thursday’s press conference in the Middle East, there were significant reasons for those performances.
Daniela Ryf on 2021 issues
“Last year was not always possible for me to push really hard. I’ve had some immune system and health problems and so to actually feel healthy again is on big step in the right direction. I’ve had some solid training in the bank and so now it’s a good first time, but still early enough to change some things, a good first check to see where I’m at.
“Our body is our tool to perform and we have to look after it. I’m used to actually knowing my body a lot, and last year there were things happening where I didn’t really know what was going on.
“I suddenly had very high heart rate and couldn’t breath properly. I also had allergic reactions… it’s hard when you don’t know what’s going on. I was also scared, I had one race at the Collins Cup where I had an allergic reaction, where my body was filled with blisters so didn’t know what was going on, and so to be able to push like this, feels not right.
“A healthy body is what you want, it’s so important to look after your body and still necessary because you can’t go hard and perform well if you are not healthy.”
The four-time IRONMAN World Champion and five-time IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion has familiar surroundings to begin her road back to dominance – she enjoys racing in Dubai and has won here four times in the past.
Dubai a happy hunting ground
“I like racing here, it’s a great course. It’s flat, but it is definitely not easy because you have to really put the power down for a long time,” she explained.
“That’s why I’m here, it’s a great opportunity after some solid months of training. I’m done most of my training indoors on the wind-trainer and now being here and having some sun on the skin again, feels really nice. It definitely feels nice to ride outside and feel the speed. I haven’t felt speed for a while because I’ve been pushing it on the turbo.”
Ryf will come up against German star Laura Philipp on Saturday, and she is delighted that there will be strong opposition on the start line.
“I’m happy that Laura is here so that we can battle it out, and of course it’s always interesting to see where you stand against the best men as well in the world. I’m here to see what’s possible and to show a good performance I hope.”