Tomorrow I return to the sight of the most painful experience of my life. It would be like Howard Dean returning to the rally where he said Yeeeeeahhhhhh, or Rush Limbaugh returning to the dream where black people could drink at the same water fountain as him. Last year, I raced the long course at American Zofingen, a 5 mile trail run, 85 mile hilly ride, followed by a 15 mile trail run. It was so painful. Endurance is my weak point, and I remember actually creating switchbacks on the last bike climb. As in swerving side to side to make the gradient more manageable. My course looked like it was Saturday night and Lindsay Lohan was steering. Then, just before transition to the 15 mile run, a wall of a hill awaited (at least in my head at the time). "Oh. My. God." I thought as I approached. "What have I gotten myself into?" It was similar to the T-Rex in Jurassic Park. If I stand perfectly still, perhaps the hill won't know I'm here. With that coursing through my mind, I actually dismounted and walked up the climb. I went through places of mental darkness in that race that would make Nietzsche find god.
Anyway, tomorrow is race day. However, I am doing the short course race, a 5/29/5 format that is much suited to my strengths and lack of an active death wish. The long course race I did last year is like a sado-masochist convention of deviants who seek pain. Unfortunately, there is no safe word at American Zofingen. Rather than the whips, chains, and gags of the long course, I am opting for the adventurous, but safe short course--which is more akin to a playful slap or dirty talk. Last year's experience will always make me have intimacy issues with long races (although I finished 7th in a stacked field, all I remember now is trying to hit every rock I could on the bike in order to have a flat tire that would give me an excuse to stop).
So the short course should be perfectly suited to my style. Trail running, hilly biking, a 9:30 start-----hopefully a few minute margin of victory is on the horizon. Another cool thing about AmZof is the people that race/put on the race. There is beer flowing in the pavilion all day, and fall foliage of upstate NY abounds. The guys are awesome, with great senses of humor, and are the best athletes in the country. There is a hot tub for relaxation. If it weren't for the badass women that show up, I would say American Zofingen is merely an excuse for spandex-clad men to lose their inhibitions and experiment with their feelings. It's a good thing the women come though, because I bet those guys (namely Slowtwitch bretheren Tetsuoni and Murphy's Law) have diseases of the groin that make African monkeys run for the hills.