Updated: Mar 29
A recent social media post by one of our new squad athletes whilst training in St.Moritz, prompted a couple of enquiries regarding training conditions. Today's blog is an answer to those enquiries.
Svenja's video: enjoying run day in St.Moritz after the most recent snow dump!
How can this be good training facilities?
As we head into the winter phase for the northern hemisphere we recall the 2020/21 Olympic campaign; both Nicola and Max finishing with Top 10 performances whilst commencing their preparation for the sauna of Tokyo, in the snow of St. Moritz.
However this story is really about an unsung hero of our sport.
One that deserves our attention.
Barbara Riveros has represented her country of Chile at 4 Olympics, with a 5th place finish in Rio in 2016. She also has a gold and silver medal from the Pan American games, and is a hero of our sport. Barb, known affectionately as Pepper, has long gone under the radar of the triathlon public. Maybe because she weighs in at 46kg ringing wet with goggles on.
A true hero of our sport. Photos: ITU Media
An incident this week made me think Trisutto followers should know of Barb's career and follow her future as she hangs up the ITU togs and sets her sights on an Ironman career.
As you can see winter snow and cold weather has arrived in St Moritz. Barb lives 10km from the swimming pool and rides her mountain bike to and from training. As winter descended, my wife said to me, 'have you offered Barb a lift to the pool?'
Of course I hadn't, but I promised I would.
That done, Barb politely declined my offer -
'The roads are very clean and fine to ride on. If it rains when it gets colder, maybe then'.
So I thought no more of it.
Fast forward to last Friday at 6.40am. I'm driving to the pool, cursing that I forgot to put the heater on in my car 10 min earlier. It was freezing. I couldn't wait to get to the warmth of the indoor pool. With 3km to go I passed a diminutive figure on a bike with lights blazing in the dark. Still half asleep I thought to myself, who would be riding in this? My car thermometer read -16.5C. I kid you not, the rider was Barb heading to the pool.
I felt so bad on arrival, I fell over myself apologising to her and told her I'd pick her up tomorrow. However it struck me, this is the athlete who started triathlon in Chile at age 10, and grew to be an Olympic hero. A journey earned on merit, and a huge success story. Four Olympics and a top 5 is almost unbelievable for even the most talented. However Barb's answer to my question of me giving her a lift the next day made it all believable -
'Thanks coach but I'm fine. If I'm going to get on the podium in Kona, I have to be mentally stronger.'
'Coach I use it as my mind training. Every morning I believe I'm a step closer to my new goals.'
That statement made her career much more understandable to me. Her attitude still burns strong even after all the successes in her 24 year career.
'It's a new beginning. I lost all my sponsors when I retired from ITU after Tokyo. I'm starting again from the bottom, let's see how far we can get coach'.
The good news is today it was -8C as I passed her. Almost toasty compared to the -16C of a few days ago.
Barbara Riveros is a champion of our sport and long overlooked - but no more. If it's just the Trisutto family that now follows her new career into Ironman I know I'll be happy and I'm sure, Pepper will be happy too. Tiny in stature but huge in triathlon. Barb Riveros is not finished as her attitude is reinventing herself. Let's all get behind her as she climbs the Ironman ladder.
Just the way I see it!
10 km commute to and from the pool