American Zofingen is a classic. I have been racing since 1997. Of the hundreds I have raced this race is one of the top 5 of my favorites of all time! It’s epic. It’s so so so hard. It’s so hard that the “short” course has 10 miles of nothing but steep up and down hill running and the ride has exactly zero flat and two mountain passes. It’s a cult classic with a cult following of people, who like me, praise this race like the vision quest it is. I have won it a few times at a few of its distances so after my lay off from multisports it was exactly where I wanted to re-enter. Close by in New Paltz, NY, the Boulder CO of the east, it’s one of my fav towns. It’s now got a new race direct Mark Wilson and he did a flawless job both embracing the spirit of the event and also delivering perfect execution of the event.
The first run saw me roll to the front and within a half mile I decided to go “Pre” aka Prefontane: hammer and make everyone hurt and whoever is left standing wins. My first run leg saw me enter T1 with a nice lead and I dropped the hammer the bike straight away to build in the gap through the dirt access road (got mad cross skills yo) and also sold out on completely on the first climb thinking I would recover on the downhill.
Sadly I picked the wrong front wheel and it was too deep of a rim (88mm) so on the downhills I couldn’t really let loose do to wind induced “death wobble”. Dumb move by me and second place caught me. As we got done with the bike I launched an attack into t2 hoping to drive the gap on the dirt again. Again it worked.
But as we left T2 I felt something was reallllly off. My legs were smoked. I successfully blew up the front of the race but it was a bit of a suicide mission it seemed. I got passed about a mile or two in. But me and the new first place ran I he pulled up and screamed “cramps.” I passed him. We were like two boxers in the 15th round on dead legs hobbling around! He recovered and repassed me with two miles to go or so and the world was spinning. 3rd place came by me like I was standing still (because I was totally smashed and barely moving) and I dragged my sorry ass in for the last spot on the podium.
It felt great to be out there. To go hard for as long as I did. A good first race back, now I just need to build a bit more fitness but I know it’s coming.