A lifetime passion: Irenes 3rd Ironman Hawaii

Irene Gambaro

X-BIONIC® fan Irene Gambaro from Zurich is one of the most successful Swiss female triathlon athletes. This year she became the vice world champion of the Half Ironman and took part for the third time in the legendary Hawaii Ironman, the long-distance World Championship for professionals and age groups. Irene had her sights set on a top ten finish in this year’s World Championship. In spite of some difficulties, she ultimately landed a sensational eighth place in her age group – once again a top result this year!

Shortly after her finish on Big Island, she gave us an interview and told us what it was like for her crossing the finish line. In her personal race report from Hawaii, she further details the difficulties she had to overcome during this year’s tournament. You can see her impressive report from Kona after the interview in the info box. Enjoy the read!

Multi-sports talent Irene Gambaro joined our fitness X-PerienceDay in Wollerau last month
Multi-sports talent Irene Gambaro joined our fitness X-PerienceDay in Wollerau last month

Irene, what was it like crossing the finish line in Kona for the third time this year?

It was by far the toughest race there: waves, a strong current, a tropical storm with gusts of wind, heat, the like of which has not been felt for decades – Peter forgot the tailwind or has saved it for next year!

What was your goal when you travelled to the Hawaii World Championship this year?

Very ambitious: top five if everything went well, otherwise definitely top ten. Thankfully I achieved the second objective!

What is so special about the World Championship in comparison to other triathlons?

Hawaii is always full of surprises, and driving on a highway through the lava desert is spectacular. The wind comes from all sides and is completely erratic and the finish line pure goosebumps!

Did you do any special preparation for Kona?

Yes, once I qualified at the start of June, in particular with long runs for the marathon and 5 to 6-hour bike rides.

How long have you been doing this sport, and how did it come about?

Irene Gambaro Hawaii 2015I was always a runner, eventually I progressed to marathons, then to Gigathlons as a pair with another lady. Then I wanted something special for my 50th birthday, an Ironman, which I did in Taupo, New Zealand, and where I also qualified for Hawaii.

What role does equipment play for you, in training and in competition?

Clothes are the be all and end all, if they’re not right, then the entire competition will suffer. The bike must be well-adjusted, pedalled by the athlete, and the shoes – they also are extremely important and must be worn in well.

You wear X-BIONIC® during your training sessions, what has your experience been so far?

I love wearing clothes, which adapt to the body, don’t flap but at the same time don’t restrict you. X-BIONIC, therefore, fulfills all my requirements, I am very satisfied!

Which X-BIONIC® product do you particularly like? (…will end up shortly in your wardrobe?)

Long-distance clothing is at the top of my wish list, I love long-distance running and good trousers in particular are very difficult to find. I have a few from different retailers, but none fit me properly – they always slide over the bum! What I like about X-BIONIC® in addition to the great fit is also the large choice of colours!

Triathlete with heart and soul: Irene Gambaro
Triathlete with heart and soul: Irene Gambaro

What other sports do you also do? What hobbies do you have aside from sports?

I also do cross-country skiing, alpine skiing, mountain hiking and diving. Other than that I love photography, ornithology, and I am committed to marine mammals.

What are your sporting goals for the next year?

I wanted to defend both my European Championship titles for the short distance and Olympic Games, but as this competition is already in May, I can’t participate in Lisbon due to holidays. I am also unable to defend my Half Ironman Vice World Champion title as Mooloolaba in Australia is too far away and quite simply ridiculously expensive.

I will definitely participate in some long distance competitions, some Olympic triathlons, and almost definitely in the Half Ironman in Luxembourg, and then of course there will be other unplanned races. I will definitely also take part in the Swiss Championship again, ultimately I will participate in far more competitions than originally planned! I just really enjoy it and I am the competitive type! I will definitely compete in the circuit (which is seven Olympic Triathlons) and I also hope to win them again.

What advice would you give triathlon beginners?

Competing in three disciplines one after the other is incredible fun, regardless of whether you are fast or not. Taking part is the motto and age does not matter. It is important to master the crawl to some degree, breaststroke hinders other athletes and requires too much energy from the legs, which you of course need afterwards for the cycling and running.

Thank you very much for the interview!

Irene's achievements in 2015Her personal review: Ironman Hawaii 2015Links
  • Swiss champion 10k street running
  • Winner Triathlon Wallisellen (CH), short distance
  • Winner Aix-en-Provence 70.3 Triathlon / Qualified for the 70.3 WC
  • Winner short distance in Genf /European Champion
  • Winner Kraichgau 70.3 / Qualified for Hawaii
  • Vice World Champion at the 70.3 Championships, Zell am See (Austria)
  • 8th rank in her age group at Hawaii

Irene Gambaro Hawaii 2015 06

See all achievements of Irene: [LINK]

WORLDCHAMPIONSHIP IRONMAN HAWAII 2015

A race report from Irene Gambaro

Yeeess, the big day, 10 October 2015, is over! An unforgettable and tough race with many highs and lows! Let’s start from the top!

At 07.10 am a cannon shot announced the start of the women’s race. As I am not one of the fastest swimmers, I went towards the back. This enabled me to find a good rhythm without fighting and scrambling. As always it was quite turbulent and beautiful colourful fish accompanied me. I was with women of roughly the same strength and soon reached the turning point at 1.9 kilometres, but I was not as fast going back. The current was quite strong, to the extent that I took nearly 10 minutes longer than usual.

Nevertheless, I had managed the first 3.86 kilometres and I looked forward to the bike course. And off we went. Cheered on by the many people, I shot up Palani Road! I felt so fit during the first 50 kilometres. Great, I thought, I’m going to make great time. But it was not to be.

Soon a different wind was blowing, a headwind: from the side again more headwind – but not from behind, clearly Peter forgot that at some point! After about 70 kilometres the climb to Hawi began and then it happened: A tropical storm with rain, it was pelting down, and add to that wind, wind, wind, rain…it was hard work up until the turning point in Hawi, I could barely stay on my bike. Then finally, the 90 kilometres were completed and I was looking forward to the return leg. The asphalt quickly dried, I still believed I could achieve an acceptable time, but I continued to battle the long, unending 60 kilometres with a strong headwind, just headwind! Hellooooo, tailwind, where are you?

Irene Gambaro on her bike during the heat at the Ironman Hawaii 2015
Irene Gambaro on her bike during the heat at the Ironman Hawaii 2015

It got hotter and hotter, the heat was extreme, like it hadn’t been for decades! The asphalt reflected incredibly strongly onto Highway K, it felt like 50 degrees. Although I fed myself well and cooled myself with the water from the aid station, it just wasn’t to be. I pedalled and pedalled and lost an incredible amount of time, the altitude of 1772 metres and the180.3 kilometres appeared endless. But I finally reached the goal.

I dismounted from my bike, just about managed to stand straight and realised that I was unable to jog. So I walked into the transition zone, grabbed my bag to move over to the running track, went into the changing tent, sat down and then it happened: an incredible pain in my back, I could no longer move.

Irene Gambaro Hawaii 2015 09Helpers rushed over and asked me what was wrong, whether I had had too little salt. I said no, but they still gave me three salt tablets. Then I wanted to stand up, but my left leg let me down. I could no longer move, the pain in my back was so great. Three of them held me up as I did not want to go to the medical tent. I thought that this would lead to a disqualification.

So I tried to march off but my left leg failed me once again,and I fell into the arms of a helper. Three of them dragged me to the medical tent and tried to ease my cramp and back pain with a massage and physiotherapy. After an endlessly long 30 minutes I ventured out onto the running track, inspired by all the many helpers and spectators, with a huge ice pack on my back. Our youngest daughter was shocked when she saw me limping. I reassured her that I wanted to finish even if it took a long time.

After approximately 2 kilometres I attempted a jog, it got better and better so that I was finally able to run the marathon to the end, never stopping, thinking only of the Ali’i finish line. There I then enjoyed the spectacular and wonderful finish line and in spite of all the obstacles I made the top ten, 8th place, in my age category!

It was a race of superlatives and a roller coaster of emotions! But at the end I was so proud to receive my third finishing medal!

Irene Gambaro Hawaii 2015

Fitness training with X-BIONIC®

X-PerienceDay Fitness | 07/11/2015

Last Saturday we organized our first fitness X-PerienceDay in collaboration with Swiss fitness coach Daniele Pauli. He is a powerlifter, fitness expert and manages a lot of VIP’s. About 25 guests joined our exclusive event and came from Germany and Switzerland to improve their own fitness.

Fitness coach Daniele Pauli
X-BIONIC® fitness expert Daniele Pauli

Before we started the training session, the X-PerienceDay began with a short meet and greet and a little breakfast in our office. After that, our participants got some interesting and exclusive insights to our development department and learned a lot about X-BIONIC®’s latest technologies and products.

X-PerienceDay Fitness | 07/11/2015
Bo talked about interesting details of our latest technologies and products

In the other workshop that we prepared, fitness expert and personal trainer Daniele Pauli talked about useful ways of training and healthy nutrition for different kinds of sportsmen. The participants also received a printed booklet with all the information and tips Daniele gave them during the seminar.

X-PerienceDay Fitness | 07/11/2015
Daniele during his training and nutrition workshop

When the workshops were done, we handed over the test sets: THE TRICK® running shirts & pants for men and women. The fitness training was planned to take place in a gym hall  inside the Erlenmoos building. But the weather was perfect for an outdoor training session, so we decided to go outside. Sunshine and temperatures above 20 degrees made the test day perfect. Daniele pushed us to our limits, but everyone enjoyed the workout and had a lot of fun.

XPD
XPD
XPD

You can find more event pictures in our Flickr gallery, just click here → [LINK]

The event ended with a healthy lunch we organized at the restaurant Erlenmoos. The participants gave us some great feedback: they were absolutely happy with the workout and whole event!

We are now looking forward to the next X-PerienceDay in December: track cycling at the Velodrome Suisse!

blog_banner_top

Red Bull X-Alps 2015: Chrigel Maurer wins again

X-BIONIC® athlete Christian Maurer

The worldwide best paraglider and X-BIONIC® athlete has won the Red Bull X-Alps, the hardest Adventure Race in the world, for the fourth time in a row.

Chrigel means eagle in the dialect of the Bernese Oberland, and Christian Maurer has had this nickname since his youth. The triple World and European Champion and fivefold Swiss Champion managed to win the Red Bull X-Alps race again this year. In only 8 days, 4 hours and 37 minutes, with a lead of 110 kilometres over the runner-up, he covered the adventurous route between Salzburg and Monaco without any breaks. (Note by the Editor: This international competition was first held in 2003 and has been won by Swiss people only.)

Chrigel Maurer during the X-Alps 2015
Chrigel Maurer during the X-Alps 2015

5 questions to Chrigel

When did you discover your passion for paragliding for the first time?

My father started with paragliding when I was 4 years old and it has fascinated me from the very first day. I took off for the first time when I was nine and was captivated right from the first moment.

What was the greatest challenge in this year’s Red Bull X-Alps Race?

A good and reliable team and suitable equipment are most important. During the race, I try to concentrate on my capabilities so that I am not subject to any external influence, i.e. stress. As the race continues without any breaks, I had to fight to keep awake since the middle of the race. I had to muster all my concentration to make the right decisions.

Chrigl Maurer of Switzerland performs in front of the Matterhorn at the Red Bull X-Alps, Zermatt, Switzerland on July 10 2015.
Chrigl Maurer of Switzerland performs in front of the Matterhorn at the Red Bull X-Alps, Zermatt, Switzerland on July 10 2015.

How do you prepare yourself physically and mentally for the X-Alps Race?

I prepare myself with a specific power workout programme and several hours of walking carrying a 10kg rucksack.

How important is your equipment during this Hike & Fly Race?

The equipment is a very important success factor. I depend on highly functional clothing because of the extreme physical challenges, like walking uphill at great speed, and the flying at an extremely cold high altitude.

Paul Guschlbauer (AUT1) and Christian Maurer (SUI1) perform during the Red Bull X-Alps at the Grubigsteinhutte above Lermoos, (turn point 4) Austria on 6th July 2015
Paul Guschlbauer (AUT1) and Christian Maurer (SUI1) perform during the Red Bull X-Alps at the Grubigsteinhutte above Lermoos, (turn point 4) Austria on 6th July 2015

Will you be on the starting line again at the next Red Bull X-Alps Race?

There is nothing that speaks against a participation in the next competition in 2017.

Adventure Red Bull X-Alps 2015

In 8 days from Salzburg to Monaco covering 1500 m ascent by foot or flying over the Alps. A 100 minutes lasting multimedia show about the ups and downs during the way to the 4th victory presented by serial winner Chrigel Maurer.

  • Frutigen (BE)
    • Wed 11 November 2015
    • Sun 15 November 2015
    • Mo 23 November 2015
    • Wed 16 December 2015
    • Sun 20 December 2015
  • Thu 26 November 2015 Eschen (Lichtenstein)
  • Wed 3 February 2016 Luzern Südpol
  • Thu 4 February 2016 altes Spital Solothurn
  • Thu 18 February 2016 Volkshaus Zürich

More information at www.chrigelmaurer.ch

Christian Maurer of Switzerland arrives in Monaco at the Red Bull X-Alps, France on July 14 2015.
Christian Maurer of Switzerland arrives in Monaco at the Red Bull X-Alps, France on July 14 2015.

Text and Interview by Sabine Hauptmann / Image credit by Red Bull

Links

ADAM – The Magazine

Website of Christian Maurer | Red Bull X-Alps

German version on page [2]

RAI Champion 2015: Bernhard Steinberger

RAI 2015

At the start of September, X-BIONIC athlete Bernhard Steinberger crowned his career with the European championship title in ultracycling: he won one of the most difficult solo marathon races in the world, the Race Around Ireland (RAI). The Upper Palatinate native needed fewer than 100 hours for the 2150-kilometre race, making it a new German record at the same time.

The pay-off for all the effort: Bernhard won the 2015 RAI and is European Champion at the same time!
The pay-off for all the effort: Bernhard won the 2015 RAI and is European Champion at the same time!

The RAI is among the hardest races in the ultracycling scene and, this year, was held for the seventh time. Participants cycle around the island non-stop – even breaks are counted against their overall time. So the top riders try to stop as little as possible, reducing sleep to a minimum. Bernhard only slept for 93 minutes in this year’s competition, bringing him to an early victory.

The ultracycling specialist tells us his experience of the race in the interview below – have fun reading it!

How did you feel after this extremely difficult race?

Einmal gegen den Uhrzeigersinn: Das RAI umrundet jährlich die wunderschöne Insel
Once around in an anti-clockwise direction: The RAI circles the breathtaking island once a year.

Very well. My head was right back in “racing fever” mode the following day. My body took a little longer. I finished my training unit on the fifth day after crossing the finish line. Now I’m back in casual training and I’m just enjoying movement again. And of course, new sports goals are spinning around in my head again.

What was the best/worst moment during your 100 hours of racing?

Apart from Ireland’s incredible landscape, the best part was my 8-person support team. They motivated me, cared for my symptoms, kept me in good spirits and were at my back every second of the race, and we had a lot of fun racing. Although some of them were new, everything went just as well as if they’d been doing it for ages.

Some of my “old” support crew had work or family obligations. After all, they do this on a volunteer basis. When I threw my arms around each of my support team at the finish line, that was a very moving moment, yes, WE rocked the island of Ireland! My team is the greatest part of my success! After more than four days, I could finally enjoy a Guinness at the finish line.

The most difficult moment in the race was 80 kilometres from the finish line, when I heard that I was so far ahead that it would be impossible for the second-place rider to overtake me. After that, the kilometres got very long, and it was hard to stay with it. It’s hard to motivate yourself again and to focus when the goal is so close and you can really taste victory.

No competitor in sight as far as the eye can see: without the moral support of his team, the race would have been impossible.
No competitor in sight as far as the eye can see: without the moral support of his team, the race would have been impossible.

How did you prepare for this long period of strain next to your full-time job?

With long cycling units of up to 12 hours at the weekends. I also trained at the gym, especially working hard on my stomach and back musculature. I didn’t stint on stability training, either. I also integrated alternative sports like running and swimming into my training for that. I wanted to have as much fun with the training as possible. It was often borderline impossible to get through it all. Full-time job, training, organising everything for the race. And you still need time in there for rest and relaxation, too. That was unfortunately often neglected.

Stability training

How many hours a week does one have to train in order to manage a race like this one?

I think it isn’t a question of the number of hours that allow you to finish the race in the qualifying period. There are a few core units that count and of course, you really have to have the ability to punish yourself. A long, relaxed ride just to count kilometres certainly isn’t the key to success. With just 15 hours of training a week, it should be possible to finish the race. It’s the quality, not the quantity, that makes the difference.

X-BIONIC is the best sportswear I’ve ever worn!

Did you also practice not sleeping, or sleeping very little?

Not really. I did work shifts. But you can’t really practice not sleeping. In the past, some successful athletes have tried to do just that, but they came to the conclusion that you just can’t train for “sleep withdrawal”. At most, it reduces the regeneration time you need between training units, and that just isn’t the point. During the race, everything just has to come together. You can prepare yourself mentally for the fact that there will be ups and downs. And a good team really makes a decisive difference. I only slept 93 minutes during the four days of the Race Around Ireland.

You can also avoid stopping for everyday tasks like brushing your teeth.
You can also avoid stopping for everyday tasks like brushing your teeth.

How did you eat during the race? Did you train for that in advance?

During the race, my support crew kept me well supplied with sports nutritional products like gels, bars, energy shots, iso drinks and protein drinks. But since psychology plays such an important role, I also like to eat gummi bears, pretzel sticks, pickles, potatoes, sausage and I drink soft drinks. Everything gets tested during training, but I can definitely say I’ll eat nearly anything.

RAI athletes burn countless calories on the road. Bernhard also likes savoury food in between.
RAI athletes burn countless calories on the road. Bernhard also likes savoury food in between.

How do you prepare your equipment? What do you have to pay special attention to when it comes to clothing?

My equipment was thoroughly tested during training. During the competition itself there are no experiments. Only trustworthy equipment is good enough for the race. Everything has to be comfortable, practical and of course weight is also very important. If you add it all up, if you’re carrying around too much unnecessary weight over that kind of distance, you can save energy fast with the right equipment selection. With the clothing, no seams or anything like that can be a bother; that would be disastrous in an ultracycling race. Every detail has to hug the body perfectly. It should be like a second skin. Too much clothing is restrictive, then you can’t move well at all.

How has your experience with X-BIONIC clothing been to date, especially for the long distances you regularly complete?

X-BIONIC is the best sportswear I’ve ever worn. There are lot of little components that make up success in sports. The same is true of X-BIONIC clothing. Every detail is refined and perfect. The aerodynamic characteristics and natural thermal regulation are supported. If I’m too hot, it cools me off. The nights in Ireland were quite brisk, though, at four to eight degrees Celsius. But I didn’t have to change clothing much. That saved me time and didn’t interrupt my racing rhythm. What really fascinates me is that X-BIONIC clothing lasts so long and is so functional. There are cycling pants I’ve been wearing for five years, and feel just as good on my body as the first day I wore them.

What is your favourite part of X-BIONIC? What is it you wouldn’t want to do without?

My favourite part of X-BIONIC, sorry, I really can’t narrow it down to just one item. The X-SOCKS Silver, the three-quarter bike pants (Bike Bib Tight Medium), Powershirt and the Helmet under my actual biking helmet are all great to wear when it’s a little cooler. There isn’t a single cycling unit where I don’t wear at least one of these items.

Never without his X-BIONIC®: the ultracycling specialist Bernhard Steinberger.
Never without his X-BIONIC®: the ultracycling specialist Bernhard Steinberger.

What does your planning for the future look like, do you want to defend your title next year in Ireland?

Where the European Championship in ultracycling will take place next year isn’t certain yet. A return to the Emerald Isle is certainly not out of the question. Ireland is the prettiest island I have ever seen. Just the landscape made me really love the race. The Race Around Ireland (RAI) is the ultimate test for both material and body from the point of view of weather and road conditions. In the future, I will naturally continue to pursue ambitious goals. They really motivate me to do my best.

Is the RAAM (Race Across America) something you can see in your future?

Of course. It’s the reason for all of this. A dream. The only true goal. But it’s especially a financial question, since the RAAM costs 30,000 to 50,000 Euros. And if I go to the RAAM, then I don’t just want to “roll along”.

Race Across America (RAAM)
The champion and his team: he can rely on them!
The champion and his team: he can rely on them!

What tips can you give to new enthusiasts who might also want to do this kind of marathon distances?

You should have a lot of fun in almost every training session! Patience and setting small goals are particularly important, both in training and in the race itself. Small injuries should be allowed to heal correctly and thoroughly. Daily stretching is very important,  and you should especially never neglect the regeneration time. It’s only in the breaks that your body can recover and become faster and stronger. In training, you should consider: Less is often more! And never try pushing yourself to the breaking point, because sooner or later your body will get its revenge.

RAI2015_14
RAI2015_01
RAI2015_16
RAI2015_11
RAI2015_06
RAI2015_05
RAI2015_03
RAI 2015
RAI2015_02
RAI2015_21
RAI2015_22
RAI2015_04
Facts and figures for the 2015 RAI
  • Distance:  2,143.7 kilometres
  • Altitude difference in metres: 22,655
  • Categories in which you can start:
    *Solo (men and women) *Open bike class (men and women) [elliptical bikes, reclining bikes, etc.] *Tandem (men, women, mixed) *Team of two (men, women, mixed) *Team of four (men, women, mixed) *Team of eight (men, women, mixed)
  • Victory time for Bernhard Steinberger:  98 hours 22 minutes 16 seconds
  • That is the new German record and the second-fastest time the RAI has ever been run -> Race Around Ireland, the hardest bicycling race in Europe!
    Ultracycling UMCA European Champion / European Champion in 2015 “Long Distance Cycling”
  • Bernhard’s total sleep time during this race was just 93 minutes. He also won the special “Armada Award” for the fastest time between timing stations 3 and 4, because he also went his fastest during that period.
  • Links:

RAI 2015

German version on the next page [2] / Deutsche Version auf der nächsten Seite [2]

Let the sun shine: X-BIONIC® X-PerienceDay!

X-PerienceDay Bike & Run

Last Saturday we organised another exclusive X-PerienceDay at our headquarter here in Wollerau. The sun was shining and the weather remained perfect during the whole event. Some of our fans traveled very long distances to participate, for example from Hamburg or Frankfurt/M. in Germany.

After a short meet and greet in the morning, we introduced the company and our team provided insights into our product development department. During the running and cycling part, our guests tested X-BIONIC® for Automobili Lamborghini Bike wear and THE TRICK® run and bike wear.

X-PerienceDay Bike & Run

The running team explored the closer area next to our office location. The landscape around our company is quite hilly but very cool for such a running event. The cycling team covered about 55 kilometers over a few mountains and had a lot of fun. Our video team filmed during the whole ride and used a drone for some cool footage.

The lunch after the sporty part was very delightful and we enjoyed our meal outside, it was very warm and sunny. The X-PerienceDay was very successful with nice people and we are looking forward to our next event in October.

Find out more about the X-BIONIC® X-PerienceDays and apply at www.x-bionic.com/x-perience-days