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Tue 10th Dec 2019
Postcard from Switzerland #2
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Sunday 25th July 2010

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Henry Budgett concludes his flying visit to Ironman Switzerland by considering the irony of his role as Ironman Live reporter - you travel all that way to report to the world on a race you never even see. Clever eh?!

Zurich wrap

Now, that feels a whole lot better... It's amazing how just an hour's break, some half-way decent food and a beer (strictly alcohol frei, you understand) can do to restore the body and mind. Of course, there are those who would content that my body and mind are well past any sort of repair and only a scheduled demolition would be worth considering...

So, how was today for you? I got to watch a largely forgotten athlete totally demolish her opposition and smash her own 5-year course record into little pieces: now she was a happy lady! I also got to watch a guy get within a hair of cracking another course record that has stood firm for a decade. Had he not agreed with his immediate rival to take the first run lap steady in case either of them blew up from going out too fast he could have nailed it... ...and he knows that! Still, four consecutive wins on your home course is no mean achievement and you can be sure he'll be back next year to go for five in a row and, possibly, the record now that he knows it's within his grasp.

However, the sad truth of the matter is that I didn't get to see any of this in real life. Just as in my other weekend job for triathlon, it's all virtual. I get to listen to disembodied voices on a radio, in this case via a delightful translator called Christine who English/Swiss/Germanised everything for me through the whole day - I've done well in this department recently... I also get to look at streams of data flicking across multiple screens and have a stab at making some sort of sense of it before conveying that to an unknown and unseen virtual audience. At least, I assume there's an audience out there... ...somewhere!

So, yes, I had fun today and next weekend I get to do it all again from somewhere else... ...virtually! Which is why I'm quite envious of your Editor who spent the weekend in the company of one of the sport's legendary commentators, Mike Mike himself, and actually watched real athletes and spoke to real people. An audience you can see - now that's scary stuff. The worst I can get is either switched off or a sniffy email complaining about the quality of the writing. I mean, out there in reality land you can get stuff thrown at you and people can walk away... That's hardcore, that is!

And so, before I head for the bar and an alcohol-laden (leave the hyphen out of that and you get a whole world of interesting possibilities...) glass of something I'd just like to raise my virtual hat to John and say; 'Welcome to my world, bet that was more fun than a weekend typing!'.

Oh, and serious congratulations to Michelle Parsons - you may not be showing up as winning your age group on Ironman Live, and we have no idea why, but those of us who were there do know you rocked today. Fancy another shot at Kona? Go for it, girl!

See you all next weekend... one virtual world, or another!

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