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© Henry Budgett
Henry's IM Switzerland wrap
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Sunday 12th July 2009


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A caffeine fuelled Henry Budgett has managed to find a few minutes between all his Ironman Live duties in Zurich, to update us on events at Ironman Switzerland.


Come on, surely not another article about coffee and cakes... No, one is really quite enough and the Tri247 readership is far too discerning to want to read yet more ramblings from a seriously deranged and overstimulated ex-editor. You see John, I can read your thoughts!

So, how was it for you today then?

Well, it didn't really rain, which was nice after last year's horrible experience, and the fact that a drip of water from the lunch heaters blew out all the power for 20 minutes was really only a minor inconvenience [can't brew coffee with no power...]. Even the journey here this morning wasn't conducted by the one asynchronous bus driver in Switzerland that we had last year when a bunch of pros ended up with only half an hour to set up because he insisted on stopping at every hotel.

The race pretty much ran as predicted with victories for Ronnie Schildknecht and Sibylle Matter as the home favourites and we even got in on the podium through honorary Brit, Lisbeth Kristensen who as AJ had assured me on Saturday was in great shape. Good job I lugged all that white power over here for her, then - Infinit custom mix, of course, nothing sinister!

Neo-pro Jonathan Hotchkiss was our other shot at fame but this was his first Ironman and he discovered the hard way that nothing really prepares you for doing one like, well, doing one... His 100th place finish with a 9:28:09 on the clock was a decent enough result for anyone's first attempt but, as he told me this afternoon when he stopped by our giant garden shed on wheels for a chat, he needs to treat this as a learning experience and come back better equipped.

Filling in for him on the finish list, though, was Kit Stokes who blitzed the M35 category with a 10th place overall in 8:50:30. Now, that is a great result!

And, talking of GB age groupers, the place was awash with them - sorry, couldn't resist the pirate-related pun! There was even a parrot, a real live one, being carried around in a plexiglass cube - but somehow I don't think it was anything to do with the Pirates. It didn't seem to talk to start with and it was an African Grey so far too dull a plumage for a Pirate bird... No, there really was a parrot, I don't make this stuff up you know...

Other than Kit's astounding performance, the only other medallist I can see at this stage is Lucy Gossage with a third place in the F30-34 category. Sadly no dice for Shirley Yarde who looked to be on for a third place in the F50-54 but got frozen out by a trio of Swiss. I bumped into her husband Phil (as in BTA luminary Phil Yarde) earlier in the afternoon and as a result I'm now looking for a legitimate way to write Jenny's Kona trip off as a business expense - suggestions on a postcard to my accountants; Ripoff and Scarper...

And, of course Kona will be a great place to enjoy some coffee. Oh, bugger, I promised... Perhaps I could turn it into a research project to see which beans work best in a Jura machine? We had two dinky little ones in Austria and they stood up to an amazing amount of abuse and the coffee was seriously good. The slightly bigger machine here seems to have been tuned down - obviously the Swiss regard over- caffeinated journos with some suspicion. It's like playing loud music at the finish line; it's just not Swiss!

And, for sheer "I can't believe it" status, what about this? Erdinger, one of the event's sponsors, have a beer tent parked right behind the Media Centre. It says, I think, that Erdinger is "Isotonic, contains Vitamins and is Reduced Calorie". And, what's that - it's alcohol FREE!! I mean, that sounds like it's some sort of sports drink! What we journos want is something completely different...

Which is where I'm going right now... ...after just one last cup of coffee! After all, they have kept it plugged in just for me and it would be rude to refuse.

See you at the next one!

Alcohol free...


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