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OIe Lorenzetti

After retiring from Alcon as VP of Therapeutic Research in 2001, Ole has continued his adventurous nature. Kirstin Lorenzetti, Ole’s daughter-in- law, e-mailed Andy Lubrano
the President of the Alcon Retirees Association to see if we would like to share Ole’s Adventures with the Alcon retirees. We were delighted to hear of such an exciting news story to share with retirees as well as chronicling Ole’s achievements for his children, grandchildren, and future generations. Ole is so active with his events it is hard to get
him to write about them. He would prefer to participate in the events and adventures rather than write about them. We were very fortunate Ole did write the following story.
Response to Lee Wright’s Questions on Ole Lorenzetti’s Adventures

1. What made you want to pursue such an adventuresome
and in some cases considered extreme life style?

After my wife of 40+ years died in 2001, I went into a period of grief
by going backpacking for months at a time looking for answers I
guess. I found a new nature in myself, which always existed, but
because of school, marriage, family and work responsibilities, I
could not pursue or perhaps suppressed. ( I often thought when
looking at construction workers how fortunate they are in that the
end of the day they see what they accomplished in the form of a
building etc. whereas I worked on new products which after the
IND/NDA process did not achieve success until 10 to 12 years!…
of course the rewards differ)

In 2001, I went backpacking in Big Bend down into Mexico for
3 months returned for 2 weeks then left for Belize and backpacked
through Honduras, Nicaragua for another 3 months. In between, I did
my first (AARP sponsored) triathlon and found a new sport/activity that
fitted my life style. Up to this time, I restricted myself to Duathlons
and marathons, 10 K runs dating back to the early 1970’s. While in
Mexico, I began to climb some volcanic (inactive) mountains of
9 to 10,000 ft and my third love soon transpired.
By 2002 I began to develop a routine that carried over from my
working days, that is plan my adventures 12 to 18 months in
advance as many events require pre-registration and visa
applications. I became the member of several local and national
organizations, which provided me dates of upcoming events:
Fort Worth Bicycling
Club (FWBC)
Fort Worth Runners
Club (FWRC)
USA Triathlon (USAT)
USA Track & Field
Adventure Cyclists Assoc.
Tri Cowtown
(local triathlete club)
The American Alpine Club

2. What is your life and daily routine like?

I met a companion whom I have known for a long time, while
adventuring with whom I spend my R & R with and who inspires me
to continue my new lifestyle, whether I am with her in the Rivera in
France or Lake Forest, Ill. (her homes) or my residences in Texas.
However, my routine is the same at all locations as follows:

Five days a week, I begin early morning at 7 A.M. and run/walk
of 5 to 6 miles.

Three days at the gym with weights, aerobic exercise, usually
Monday, Wednesday and Friday (9 to noon).

While I am in Fort Worth, I use the Alcon Fitness Center and I
implore all retirees to take advantage of, since they have better
equipment then most fitness centers or YMCA’s. You really are
missing out if you do not take advantage of this benefit, which
benefits your health, and you get to chat with colleagues.
In other locations in US, I use the YMCA.

In France, I use the local fitness center and do open water
swimming in the Mediterranean off the Cote d’Azur)

Two days of bicycling and swimming, usually Tuesday and Thursday
(bike 9 A.M. to Noon ~35 to 50 miles; swimming 2 to 4 P.M.

Saturdays and Sundays are saved for competitions when in
the States.

Of course, you need flexibility in this schedule; I follow it closely by
myself but need flexibility to for my time with Elaine.

3. Do you have a specific diet that you stick too?

I do not believe in specialized diets. I believe in good nutrition
with many fruits and vegetables daily; no meat except on rare
occasions as a guest but fish and chicken (6::1 ratio) with one
hearty meal a day, EARLY, not at bedtime with 6 to 7 hours sleep,
more (8 to 9) after competing in an event. I love my wine (how
to resist in France!). However, I restrict intake 48 hours before
competition, hydrate frequently, and eliminate on any alpine
climbs. Cereal with raisins and bananas added for breakfast.
During the day, I am a “grazer” eating several
apples/pears/peaches carrots/celery etc.

4. Do you need to qualify to enter into an event?

For most events qualifications are not required and awards are
given to age category to first three places e.g. 50 to 54; 55 to 59;
60 to 64; 65 to 69; 70 to 74 (my age group); 75 to 79 and over 80.
I have managed to place in top three since my 50th birthday almost
consistently and first and second consistently since my 60th (some
advantage to aging you do not win by improvement but by attrition!).
There are some exceptions, which I will list:

Hawaiian IRONMAN
It was my dream in completing this event which must be done in
17 hours and to qualify you must complete another Ironman (of
which there are 70 worldwide) within 17 hours. I tried three times,
Buffalo Springs, TX in 2004, 17’55”; Nice, France 2005 18’09”;
Wisconsin Ironman 2006 DNF and thus my dream must be
unfulfilled in this attempt.

For the SENIOR Olympics held nationally every two years you
must have placed in top three in a state senior Olympics event held
annually for the specific event (i.e. running, swimming, and triathlon).

In mountain climbing/alpine events some groups require you to have
completed basic climbs in 12,000 to 15,000 ft before going on to
heights of 18,000 to 26,000ft with proficiency in glaciers, roping,
crampons and ice axes use, as well as self help techniques. Not all
companies require proof of these accomplishments and those are
where problems occur (another story).

5. How many people are usually participating in your
age group?

Locally it depends on the area and event. In my age group (70 to
74) locally there are 3 to 9, less in Fort Worth area more in Houston
and many more in Colorado and California.

National events will have 14 to 30 participants in my age group (yes
there are that many health conscious) “crazies”!! There are less in
the States but more internationally!

What is encouraging is to see the increase in number of younger
athletes in the 13 to 19 age group who are participating often
encouraged by parents who also participate; these are our future
Olympic stars or at least the sign of a more health conscious society.

6. Because of your involvement in various specialized
sports, your wardrobe/closet is very different from most
retirees. Do you have a sponsor for wearing specialty
sports helmets’, shoes or bike brand?

This is and interesting question. Since retiring I have filled two full
closets of sporting goods, which is a wonder to my children and
grandchildren, whom were accustomed to my one closet with
6 to 8 suits, varies French cuff shirts, silk ties and kerchiefs.

I place my camping and climbing equipment in one closet
with multiple sleeping bags, camelbacks, layering wear gear,
accessory carbiners of all types, etc., all items to numerous to
mention. Another closet has my various jackets (windbreakers,
gortex, rainproof, down etc.) as well as kayaking and canoeing
gear (most of the latter is maintained at my coast home in
Galveston) I pride myself on having seven (yes 7!) Bicycles:
Specialized Azziuz and Trek 5200 for triathlon and duathlon events
in FW, a Le Mond voyager in Lake Forest, a La Pierre in France
(these are all less than 16 lbs, a Danon folding bike for camping
trips and two training bikes. I tell my children they will have a field
day getting rid of equipment upon my demise! (Joke)

Thus, for any event, I have the choice of equipment needed and
for success in any adventure, you need three basics: 1) basic skills
and survival techniques, 2) plan for success with a what if plan and
3) proper equipment (which our friends on Mt. Hood lacked last
year). (Another story)

I do not have a sponsor for any sports wear I am not that good
or famous!

7. Since you are so active in so many events, how many pairs
of shoes do you have for each type of event?

Many of your questions made me think and take inventory just for
fun. Remember many of these are different locations:

Biking shoes (5); running shoes (11); hiking shoes (7); climbing
boots/heavy snow boots (3); track shoes (2) various water
shoes/flippers (9)

8. We noticed bandages on elbows and knees you must have
taken some serious bike spills/falls etc. Could you give us
some detail account of accidents and thoughts about your
health at the time?

I keep detail records of my times for all competitive events and
of course, my times have become longer as the years go by for
running. For example, when I was in my forties, 10 K (6.1 miles)
could run in 7 to 8 min/miles; in my fifties this increased to 9 to 10
min/mi; in my sixties this increased  to 11 to 12 min/mi. Now 13 to
14 min/mi is my best and for longer runs, I need to incorporate
some walking every 4 miles. This is because of osteoarthritis in
ankles and knees a minor problem, which slows me down somewhat
with minor pain. This explains the wraps on my knees in some races.
I also handle this with NSAI taken 2 to 4 hours before competition.

I have had no serious bodily accidents in my adventures but some
near scares of which I will relate two:

On Mt. Shasta, I was clipped to five other climbers when I slipped
and fell down a glacier 40 ft, my life passed quickly before me and
thought I soon would meet my late wife. Fortunately we were roped
in, and when you fall you holler “falling” and all members dig in there
crampons and ice axes in hopes to hold you. The rope did hold and
after 40-foot fall, I abruptly came to a halt. I had an ascender device
to help slowly raise myself into my previous position, since the other
climbers could not free their hands to haul me up.

On Mt. Anacongua (22,829 ft) Argentine province of Mendoza,
my first attempt Feb. 2006 ended at 18,500 ft when a fierce
ice/wind/snow storm erupted. We camped out 18,550 ft on an ice
shelf for three days and finally I decided to come down. My thinking
was that the mountain will always be there but I may not. In alpine
adventures you need to use judgment when to go for it and when to
forget it. My decision was not welcomed by my three other younger
(33-52 years-old) companions nor my guide but since we always
stick together we all went down. As it turned out, the weather never
let up and continued for several more days. Now if I climb any
mountain over 15,000 ft I pay for my own guide knowing I will be
slower than my younger companions.

However, let me say mountain climbing is exhilaration to it and is
not beyond the means of older folks. Start with a basic skill training
course by ALPINE ASCENTS, which includes Mt. Baker (10,781) or
the Patagonia Mountaineering School. Next progress with any of the
14000’s in Colorado: Mt. Evans (14,264); Bierstadt (14,060); Grays
peak (14,270); Torreys Peak (14,267); Longs Peak (14,255); taking
the less technical routes and give yourself time. If a younger person
does the summit in 8 hours, (roundtrip) I allow two days i.e. 12 to 14
hours because of the slower pace. You want to summit by or before
noon since winds and weather changes rapidly in afternoon and
remember it is not only the summit, but also many people forget
getting down safely is also the goal and most accidents happen
on the descent!

Then you are ready for the non-technical routes of higher altitudes
Mt. Kilimanjaro (19,349) in Tanzania and Mt. Elbrus (18,510) in
Russia. I have done all of the above except Elbrus which is on my
list as well as Mt. Blanc (15,777) and Matterhorn (18,510),
scheduled for 2008/9.

9. What is you favorite event?

It is triathlons were you combine swimming, biking and running. My
swimming is continually improving and I always place first or second,
biking is by far my best event and I always place first, running as I
discussed above is not improving and thus place third or fourth.
Since events are grade on basis of overall time, my swimming,
biking, and exceptional transition time (less than 50 seconds time to
transition from water to bike and bike to running) help my final time
places me usually first. In 2007, I placed first in nine events. In 2006,
I was first in 8 of 12 events and second in remaining fourth. In 2006,
I was ranked 5th in the nation, down from 3rd in 2005. This based
on number of events completed and number of first, second or third
places with higher points awarded for top awards.

10. What are your most memorable adventures?

Those I completed with my Son, Dario.

1995 Mt. Everest
Trek to base camp at 17,500
Trek through other areas of Nepal
Khumbar region of Nepal
Namche Bazaar
Khumbu glacier

1997 Australia
Scuba diving off
Great Barrier Reef

2001 Lake Winnipeg, Canada
Snow skiing

2004 USA
The trek through
Appalachian Trail
Springer Mt in Georgia
to Bly Gap; Georgia to
Dickey Gap in SW
West Virginia

2006 Sky Diving in Houston, Texas, USA
May 2006, I enjoyed a tandem jump with Dario, my son.
We jumped out of the airplane at 14,000 ft. free-fall going
approximately 120 MPH and at 6,000 ft; we pulled the cord.

I hope the above gives you some insight into my life post retirement
and following the loss of my wife. The object is to stay healthy by
eating correctly, exercise frequently, meet new people who have the
same outlook on life and listen/visit and talk to young people, who
are the future generation. In my adventures and travel, I marvel at
the great prospect that exists in the young people I meet.