Over the past year, Ben Hoffman finished 4th at Ironman World Championships, entered fatherhood, and now finds himself with nothing but time as the hope of competition in 2020 fades away. Fortunately, Ben likes to ride his bike. Actually, he loves to ride his bike. Time away from the triathlon scene means he’s been able to go big while staying close to home.
Written by Ben Hoffman
Life in 2020 has been a strange series of highs and lows as I do my best to adjust to a new reality. With the cancellation and postponement of races, I needed to shift some of my focus and sense of purpose to feel fulfilled and continue doing my job. Of course, the obvious silver lining has been more time with Josephine, but as they say, the show must go on.
Early this summer, we moved to the Western slope of Colorado to spend a little time with family and to change up the training scenery. I knew some of the local routes from my youth, but I immediately began the aerial scanning on Google Maps, envisioning new loops and adventures on two wheels. And speaking of wheels, ENVE had just launched a new Foundation Collection, and I told them I would be happy to put them through their paces to better extol their virtues.
I started to map out a long bomb, aiming for something that would be a sun up to sundown kind of day. After settling on a route, and convincing local collegiate rider Torbjorn (and my wife on sag duty) to join, all that was left was to pedal all day.
So we did. Leaving at 5 a.m., our lights blinking in the dawn light, we took off to the southwest, climbing over the Unaweep divide into Gateway. Morning light splashing on the granite and sandstone cliffs was our reward as we pressed further south into Naturita. After a quick stop in Norwood to say hi to a family friend then it was up Dallas Divide beneath the snow-capped peaks of the San Juans, descending into Ridgway, and into a headwind for the final push back north. To stave off any unraveling, Kelsey came through with a clutch pizza refuel at 200 miles and 10 hours, without which we would have certainly been in trouble.
Rolling back into Grand Junction after 260 miles and just under 13 hours on the bike recorded a new longest ride for Torbjorn and me, and a reminder of why we ride: for the beauty of the open road, for the mental and physical challenge of enduring, the freedom to explore, to share in the suffering and reward of completing a goal.
Not every day will be an epic, but every day has possibility. Explore yours.