Ronnie Schildknecht and his Unfaltering Love of Tri
Winning an Ironman once in your lifetime grants you automatic entry into a very elite club of superhuman over-achievers, but winning an Ironman race seven times in a row? How does that magic happen? We caught up with the man with the answer, Ronnie Schildknecht to find out. Read more about his ambitions, his love for the sport of triathlon and why he’s almost been riding BMC his entire career.
Ronnie got into triathlon at a teenager age, he loved to go to Zurich to watch the Ironman Switzerland, (in between playing tennis against the likes of Roger Federer). “When, in 1997 Pierre Alain Frossard won IM Switzerland, I thought ‘this guy must be a superman’. I could not understand how an Ironman could be won in under 8:30hI could not understand how an Ironman could be won in under 8:30h. Then in 2000 I went to San Diego for a language course and I bought my first bike. I started to train in a fitness club, which had a super nice pool on the roof of the building. This was the place where I started to go for a swim before school. From this moment on I haven’t been able to step away from triathlon.”
The bike Ronnie bought back then in San Diego was replaced by a BMC Timemachine in 2003 when he started racing as a pro. He is the one triathlete that has witnessed the entire evolution of the BMC Timemachine over the last decade. “I’ve seen the evolution of the company and I’ve always appreciated BMC’s commitment to the sport of triathlon. The BMC Timemachine TM01 also set a new standard in the adjustability of a Triathlon bike. For me it is really important to have the best material, but also to be able to identify myself with a brand. I can say that I ride my BMC with prideI can say that I ride my BMC with pride!” When the Uplace BMC triathlon team approached Ronnie in 2013 to become part of a new set-up, he didn’t hesitate at the opportunity to join the group of powerful athletes that would make up the 10 strong team and enable him to continue to ride BMC bikes.
When it comes to races Ironman Switzerland is his absolute favorite. “I know every single meter of the IM Switzerland course. The 90km bike course is such a stunning loop around my native canton of ZurichThe 90km bike course is such a stunning loop around my native canton of Zurich. The support I get there from my friends and family also makes it really special for me and this is what has really made me successful at this event”. It is also his favorite win he adds “For sure my first title at the Ironman Switzerland was a really special one. Before that, I never thought that I would be able to win such a big race.”
When it comes to his strengths, there is no doubt that Ronnie’s lie in cycling. He is, after all, the grandson of Fritz Schär, one of Switzerland’s most successful professional cyclists and Tour de France competitor. “When I have good legs, there is nothing better than putting the hammer down on my BMC Timemachine TM01 and ‘collecting’ one opponent after anotherWhen I have good legs, there is nothing better than putting the hammer down on my BMC Timemachine TM01 and ‘collecting’ one opponent after another. Although he always liked to follow the Tour de France, he never had a desire to become a professional cyclist “when I got into triathlon, it was a much younger and more dynamic sport” he adds “and therefore more appealing to me. In triathlon you will always have a discipline where you still have potential to improve – that makes it really interesting.” Ronnie is one of those triathletes who appreciates the value of riding his road bike too. He not only owns a Timemachine TM01, but also a Timemachine TMR01. “I use both bikes quite frequently. I like it to switch bikes from day to day, because it adds a bit of change to my training and stimulates different muscles. If I ride in the flats I take usually the BMC Timemachine TM01, but on a loop through the mountains I prefer to ride my TMR01.”
Now Ronnie is a father to Mila, life has become more interesting. “It is a great feeling to be a father and it is a big motivation every day.” How has it changed his life? “Now it is more important for me to plan ahead concerning my training schedule and my travels.”
And the big question – what are his goals for 2015? Ironman Texas, Ironman Switzerland and Kona.To win Kona or at least get a podium place. The ultimate goal would be to win Kona 3 times (laughs).
Ronnie’s profile on the Uplace BMC website
Follow Ronnie on Twitter