This month’s challenger is like a dog with a bone. And more pitbull than poodle. Yan, 32, lives and breathes triathlon. With twice-daily training sessions, five days a week, he put the LABB through its paces and some while preparing for the Ironman 70.3 in Mallorca – a 1.9-kilometre swim, 90-kilometre bike ride and 21-kilometre run – and for The Alpine swimrun race in Engadin – a 46-kilometre race of which 39,8 kilometre are trail running and 5,9 kilometre are open-water swimming and the total vertical gain is 1570 meters. In this fight club, version NOOMOON, the rules are simple: no ref, no respite, and may the last man standing win.
Hockey, swimming, judo… Yano, as he’s known, was no newcomer to sport when he started triathlon just three years ago. One look at his Facebook page confirms this need – some would say obsession – to keep on testing his limits. Here’s a man who thrives on competition but knows the importance of friendship and chilling out too. A class act. It’s a philosophy he shares with the rest of the guys in the Tuxedo Team: a dozen top-level athletes who put the suit into wetsuit. Alain, Puncher, Lolo, Mitch, Momo, Drop, Pep, Ric, Big-M, Tom and Widy. Pals, all in it together. And while a race is a race, with no pulling punches, they play by a gentleman’s rules.
Our fluoroelastomer was shaken, stretched, soaked in Lake Geneva, battered by bike, and generally put through hell for mile after mile. Yano and his magnificent eleven went all out to give the LABB a tough ride. Although round one wasn’t what we expected when Yan went head-to-head with the strap for the first time. “It took me a good day and a half to get the hang of the ‘slot and slide’ to join the two halves.” Fortunately, comfort, addiction and innovation got the better of the initial hesitation. To be fair, we did introduce Yan to the LABB over a beer (or two). So the first couple of hours don’t count. And once he’d mastered the technique, our triathlete was hooked. “It doesn’t pull arm hair, doesn’t stay damp for long, and feels great on. It’s fun, modern, I love it.” The LABB’s anti-stress properties weren’t lost on our hero either. “You have to keep playing with it. It’s totally addictive.” We did warn you, Yano: First the band, then the fidget. “People are intrigued. You catch them looking at it. You’d be surprised how many asked to try it.”