He’s the (Iron)man

GJHS grad Hoffman sets course record in winning Ironman Wisconsin

Ben Hoffman, who graduated from Grand Junction High School, celebrates after winning the Ironman Wisconsin last weekend. Hoffman took control of the race with a record-setting ride in the 112-mile bike portion, and finished nine minutes in front of the second-place finisher.

Some athletes like to get familiar with a course before the big race.

Grand Junction High School graduate Ben Hoffman apparently doesn’t have to.

He set a course record last weekend in Madison, Wis., to win the Ironman Wisconsin triathlon in his third career Ironman Elite race.

“That was the first time I’ve been there,” Hoffman said. “I heard nothing but good things about the race. It’s a great course. There was literally about 50,000 people on the course as spectators.”

The 29-year-old, who resides in Boulder, won the Ironman Wisconsin in 8 hours, 32 minutes, 51 seconds, breaking Joe Gambles’ record of 8:38:32 set in 2010.

Hoffman came out of the 2.4-mile swim in fourth place out of approximately 2,500 athletes. He took control of the race on the 112-mile bike ride, breaking the course bike record with a time of 4 hours, 37 minutes, 58 seconds. The previous record was 4:42:29 by Romain Guillaume in 2010.

His record bike ride gave him a 10-minute, seven-second lead over two fellow Americans going into the 26.2-mile run. No one came closer than nine minutes to him.

“It was definitely a goal of mine to get the course record,” Hoffman said. “I’ve been training with Joe Gambles. I had it in my sights to break his course record. It was windy on the bike, but the temperatures were great. I felt good all day until the last four miles of the run.”

He was still feeling good three days after the race.

“It’s too early to say how it will affect me,” Hoffman said. “I went for a mountain bike ride (Wednesday). There’s a chance I’ll bounce back quicker. It could be a function of me being more fit than I’ve been. Maybe, I’m riding a high now.”

The win gives him a good start toward qualifying for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, for October 2013.

He qualified for it this year, but won’t race it so close to finishing Ironman Wisconsin.

“It doesn’t really work well to back up an Ironman a month after one,” he said. “The emotional and physical toll it takes, you need more time. You have to know what you’re doing ahead of time and go in as fresh as possible.

“I will have to race some more, but I’m confident I’m on track.”

Hoffman plans to race in a half-Ironman in two weeks, but his long-term goal is winning the Ironman World Championships.

“It will definitely be a focus, but I try not to think too far ahead,” he said. “I don’t want the journey to end yet. I want to improve as much as I can and enjoy the day to day.

“Hopefully I have a long career in front of me. It’s exciting times. There’s still not a lot of guys doing what I’m doing.”

Hoffman has several sponsors, including Volkswagen, who pay him a salary and gave him a vehicle of his choice — a Touareg.

“It’s been a great car,” he said. “I received prize money from the race itself, and sponsorship pays you a performance bonus structure. It bodes well for the future.

“I’m in good position as it stands. I make what I consider a good living. I have incredible support.”


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