True-Motion's Mimi Boyle recently won her third American Zofingen overal title. Here is her race report...
Another year, another blood bath. This race just doesn't get any easier. Knowledge and experience barely pay anything back to you as you suffer through hill after hill on the run and bike courses of the American Zofingen Duathlon.
This year's race was moved to May to avoid motorized and pedestrian "leaf-peeping" traffic along many routes of the bike course. We could not have asked for a more spectacular day. Temps were at 50 degrees at the start with literally zero wind. By day's end they would rise to a comfortable 68 degrees with sun shining and birds chirping.
It was great to see the American Zofingen's viral word-of-mouth marketing pay off. The entrant list has literally doubled in size over the past 3 years. This is my 4th go at the long course and as far as I'm concerned...there's no other way to experience this event. It's the single most physically and mentally challenging race I've ever started and finished. You know your legs can get you to the finish line, but there is so much mental and emotional strength and patience needed, that it almost becomes mind over matter for the last few hours.
My first 5-mile run went extremely well. My legs felt good and I came in exactly where I wanted to. I was leading going into the bike which is a good spot for me b/c I tend to ride each loop as if I'm being hunted down...a great motivator! I got through loop 1 keeping my legs and lungs in check. Spin/spin/spin...over gearing in this race will come back to bite you on the final run segment. Going into lap 2 I felt hungry. Time to refuel. I had a banana and my trusty peanut butter and jelly sandwich on english muffin...it hits the spot! I felt completely energized and upon starting loop 3 I noticed others slowing down...their wheels coming off so-to-speak. I kept my cadence as high as I could and had another 300 calories (2 bags of Gu Chomps) before heading into T2 and starting the devastating 3-loop run. I quickly changed into my run stuff, and hit the bathrooms and was out onto the course. I knew I had a decent lead, so the need to kill myself wasn't present. I took the first loop in stride, walking only up one steep section.
Loop 2 of the run was a little more challenging. I began to feel the "dead legs" going up the first climb, and started to shuffle...ok...it was probably more like fast walk. And from that point on, the major steep hills had to be walked with a purpose. I did solidly run the flats and downhills, and upon entering the pavilion for the start of the last loop I figured it would take me a good 55 min to finish. And that's almost what it did. I arrived back at the pavilion to not only cross the finish line in first place, but take about 18 minutes off last year's time and set a new course record! BONUS!!!
Overall, a truly great day. My good friends were up there racing and that made it even more special.
At the finish line the food, the beer and the camaraderie is like none other in the sport! In a word...AMAZING.
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