by John-Peter Gernaat
Carsten Rieger, born on Zürich Switzerland, grew up in Johannesburg and attended the Sunday Service for Children at The Christian Community in Johannesburg. He has an older sister and when it was time for her to start high school, his parents, both originally from Switzerland, made the decision to move to Cape Town as they wished their children to remain in Waldorf education. His father was in the computer world and started his own business developing a point-of-sale system for pharmacies, if memory serves, that he sold privately to independent pharmacies. They went to live in Hout Bay where they built or bought their own home. When I was a student at the University of Cape Town between 1979 and 1982 I cycled from Rondebosch to Hout Bay three or four times a year to visit the Riegers. I would cycle back at night many a time. Occasionally, when I visited on a weekend, I’d cycle back along the coastal road through the city centre. After completing matric Carsten had the opportunity to crew an ocean-going sailing boat from Cape Town to somewhere in Europe on the voyage to deliver the boat to its new (or first) owner. The last contact I had with Carsten was when he started training to be a gym instructor at one of Cape Town’s better-known gyms, in the days before the large franchise gyms, shortly after completing matric. He writes on Facebook how much weight he had to lose and much muscle mass he had to change, that he’d built in the gym, when starting his Ironman training. Carsten now lives in Florida in the USA. He is married and they have no children.
The article below has been copied from Carsten’s Facebook page and as he asks that people should share his story, and having grown up in our church in Johannesburg, I felt it appropriate to share with the community.
To date I am self-coached ..!!
Today I'm proud to be a sponsored athlete because of my story. I too am a spokesperson and Global Brand Ambassador for IRONMAN Triathlon Racing. All while balancing a full-time professional career.
I taught myself to swim by carefully studying YouTube swim techniques videos. Frame by freeze frame. Surely there are better ways to master this technique. Absolutely! There are way better, more efficient and quicker ways to learn all disciplines of this amazing sport. To be honest. For the longest time I was too shy, too embarrassed to ask for help. Apart from when I started in this sport, I simply could not afford a professional Coach, so I had to rely on teaching myself. Today I’m also IRONMAN Triathlon Coach Certified by (WTC) World Triathlon Corporation, IRONMAN. The learning never stops.
My first biking experience was somewhat of a challenge ..!!.. At first, I could not cycle further than 10 feet without falling and crashing my bike. Yes. I still have several battle scars to prove it ..lol.. fun memories. Hard to believe it, but it’s all part of my exciting journey that has brought me to where I proudly stand today.
Even though I've been a successful long-distance runner since the age of 11. To this day I'm still trying to master this discipline. On race day. After having completed a 2.4 mile swim and followed by a 112 mile bike ride. Then running off the bike has become and remains a serious obstacle, because I have a sixth lumber vertebrae (99.8% of all humans only have 5 vertebrae and most likely are not endurance athletes). Bone on bone without a cushion in-between which causes severe nerve compression making my 26.2 miles run somewhat interesting. Quite different to my run training sessions. Like most athletes I have had my share of stress fractures, torn hamstrings, torn tendons and many other repetitive strain issues as can be expected from doing such a vigorous body taxing sport.
21 IRONMAN races and counting and loving it as much today as when I first started.
This sport is tough for any athlete that has ever tackled this sport regardless of where they rank in the world, which is partially one of the reason why we do it. We embrace the challenge, suffering and victory that goes with it. For as long as my body, mind and spirit continue to by my strength. I will compete. For it brings me hope, light, joy, peace and purpose in my beautiful life.
Moral of my story:
Believe you can move mountains and overcome adversaries? .. YES, you will .. !!
If you find my journey of hope and passion to succeed in any way inspirational? Do share my story. In the hope that others who may have similar life experiences too may find happiness, hope and a purpose in living a full, healthy, fit and meaningful life.
SMILE … because you believe you can!
I hope to personally meet you at an IRONMAN race real soon ..!!.. SMILES ..!!
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