Chuchichäschtli

For all my non-Swiss friends, you’re probably wondering what the heck Chuchichäschtli means. I swear there’s a story behind it. I’ll get to it soon.

I’ve had a lot of time on my hands over the last two weeks of staycation. Last week, I was crocheting like nobody’s business trying to finish off some Christmas blankets. I finished just in time. This week beyond my short bursts of training, generally each day goes something like this: read, nap, read, nap, cook, read, bed. I LOVE reading, but reading is really hard for me now, which is why napping is essential. I’m like an old (wo)man falling asleep in the middle of a page. I should finish reading the Outlander series that I’m in the middle of, which is going to take me 1,088,493 years to finish at this rate, but instead I’ve been reading up on triathlons. I was able to get a bunch of books through the library (really crappy ones, but entertaining nonetheless), and I’m also researching some races so I can have some long-term goals in mind. I can’t believe that there are only 18 days until my first one. I’ve got the official countdown going. Each day I get one chocolate coated espresso bean. I’ll get my last bean the morning of the race. While I enjoy each bean, it’s also kind of freaking me out knowing that as beans disappear, “the day” is getting closer. It will be a fun day though, just maybe a bit scary!

The indoor race countdown platter

I think I’ve been a bit too obsessed about reading up on triathlons because I had my second triathlon dream this past week. Although, maybe it should technically be a quadrathlon… Anyways, this was a unique “triathlon.” The gun went off, and swimmers proceeded to swim through abnormally thick 60F water (think pudding consistency) to their dedicated places along the shoreline. Then everyone stopped, retrieved their Scrabble bags, which were somehow floating in the water at each spot, and proceeded to play Scrabble by themselves. Objective, was to create words that were connected horizontally and vertically (like Scrabble) using all of the alloted tiles. As soon as a competitor used every tile in their bag, a judge reviewed spelling and if approved, they could proceed to swim the course. They capped the first part off at 10 minutes, so if you didn’t finish in that time, you just went on your way. I remember trying to make words but I was beyond frustrated because my letters kept floating away. Not an ideal setup… It did minimize the mass start though. Apparently, some people were able to finish which is blasphemy. I also remember taking a school bus from the swim finish to the bike start. The school bus was technically transition 1 (T1). I woke up after this part because things just seemed too weird to go on sleeping. The madness had to stop.

One of the things I was researching this week were potential races that I could do in Switzerland, AKA cowland. This would be my home if I didn’t love Minneapolis so much and didn’t have family here. Why do I love Switzerland so much?

1.) The people: Take for instance, Chuchichäschtli. Chuchichäschtli means kitchen cupboard in Swiss-German, and this word is one of the most difficult words to pronounce. During one of my first trips to Switzerland, I remember sitting down for dinner with my friend Daniela and some of her friends and family. EVERYONE was trying to get me to say this word, so they all could get a good laugh. Overall, they’re just a bunch of fun-loving people that are awesome to be around.

Goofing off with one of my faves (my Swiss sis, Daniela).

2.) Switzerland is the land of crazy adventures: Adventures I would NEVER do alone.

I’ve done a couple of Klettersteigs over the years to tackle my fear of heights and take in some awesome scenery. I’m still alive!
Where else can you be a kid again outside Disney World?
One of my all-time favorite memories. A two day hiking trip up Vrenelisgärtli, which included an overnight stay at a traditional cottage, and walking ever so carefully up a glacier– avoiding the huge gaping holes in the earth.
A ropes course at the top of a mountain, oh my! Again, channeling my inner kid.
Sledding in August. Weeeeeeeeeee!

 

Scootin’ to the bottom of the mountain.

3.) Switzerland is peaceful

Learning the names of flowers in German from my Swiss dad.
A very bad yoga pose, but relaxing nonetheless. A picnic with Cloé just outside the hustle and bustle of Zurich.

4.) The food is awesome.

Some of the best cheese and bread you will ever eat.

 

My go to, Birchermüesli.

So with my love for Switzerland, I’ve decided this is where I need to start searching for some future triathlons. Not 2016 timing, but more like 2017 timing. As an inexperienced triathlete now, my ideal course would preferably include fresh, clear water for swimming. Not too turbulent. No crazy critters that will eat me/eat parts of me. I wouldn’t mind a push from behind from a current, but this isn’t necessary. Biking: rolling hills are okay. Big hills that kill my legs are not okay. Running: mostly flat, some incline is okay. It’s important to have nice varied scenery, and lots of opportunities for my friends and family to cheer me on. Checking all of these boxes for races in Switzerland is impossible, let me tell you. This will be one mean challenge.

The first one I came across: Swissman Xtreme Triathlon, and OMG is this extreme. There is minimal support on this one. Everyone gets one supporter to provide everything you need during the iron distance race. Apparently, you experience all four seasons in terms of weather. And the climbs. 5200 m total elevation gain. My body hurts just thinking about it.

suixtri.com

The next race I found made me laugh even harder. So hard that I actually ended up registering for it. Get this, Gigathlon Switzerland. If swimming, road biking and running weren’t enough, let’s add mountain biking and inline skating to the mix. AND let’s do it two days in a row! 395 km (245 miles) total and 9180 m of elevation gain. Great part about this one= it’s car free!

Saturday:

http://www.gigathlon.com/de/sabato-ticinese

Sunday:

http://www.gigathlon.com/de/uerner-sunntig

You have to admit that this sounds like quite the adventure. You can even complete it and camp out as a team!

FYI: I WAS ONLY JOKING. KIDDING! I never signed up for this race 😛

The race that might actually be within reach (in 2017): Ironman 70.3 Switzerland in Rapperswil. Close enough to Glarus (my home away from home) to make this a more convenient choice. And with some crazy hill training, mayyyyybe possible.

Beautiful, right?

Fresh, clear water with no crazy critters that will eat me. Check! Beautiful course, check! Nice hills… mmmm maybe not “nice” but not too mean… Here’s a profile of the two loop bike course, which includes Witches Hill and The Beast (average 5.5% grade):

http://techandtri.blogspot.com/2012/05/ironman-703-rapperswil-jona-switzerland.html

Now the half marathon run (two loop course) is mostly flat except for the Stairway to Heaven, which is a flight of stairs going from the market up to the Rapperswil castle. Maybe doable.

The most uncool part about this race: It’s an early season, June race. Blah. And I have to transport my bike over the ocean. Not cool.

For now, maybe the only taste of Switzerland I’ll get in the near future is the Alphornman Sprint Triathlon in New Glarus, WI on August 7th. This one I know I can do. 1/4 mile pool swim, 15 mile bike, and 3 mile run in America’s Little Switzerland. I’d even get admission to the Swiss Festival Celebration. I’ll take what I can get!

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