Update: As of the 2nd of August, it was announced there will be a new bike course utilized for the 2018 edition of the race. This overview is for the old course. If there is enough interest, we will look to provide an overview of the new course prior to this year’s race.
The bike course at Powerman Zofingen is well feared by athletes attempting this race. At 150km long with around 1845m of climbing, some of it well above a 10% gradient, it’s easy to see why this is the case. However these number alone don’t tell the full story in why the course is as hard as it is. The bike course comprises of 3 50km laps with 615m of climbing. On each lap, athletes have to tackle 3 climbs. None of these climbs are particularly long or overly challenging by themselves. This tends to lead athletes into a false sense of security come race day if they had carried out a pre-ride of the lap during race week. The accumulation effect of these climbs is one of the big reasons why it’s such a challenging.
This is the first climb of significance that you come across on the lap. It starts at around 7.5km in after making a right hand turn and is approximately 4.7km long. This climb starts of fairly easy at around 2-3% for the majority of the climb. In the final 1.5km the climb starts to ramp up to where the final 500m are at around 8% average.
The Bodenburg is the big daddy of the climbs on the Zofingen course. The climb starts as not long after you pass a large house/barn on the right hand side of the road. While the climbs average gradient is 5.1%, very little is actually at this gradient. The climb consists of 3 significant ramps which really hurt the legs. The first ramp is around 1km long at an average gradient close to 10% which takes you up to a T intersection where you turn right. This is also where the “halfway” timing split mats are lactated. Here your legs get a short rest before it ramps up again for another 1km section, this time at a 8% average with a short section at above 12%. After this there is around 1km of rolling climbing followed by around small ramp up to the top of the climb. The feed station is located here at the top of the climb just after you exit the trees.
This is the shortest and easiest climb on the course, at around 2km long and 4% gradient. This does not mean you should not worry about it as the final time you start this climb you have 135km of riding already in your legs. The climb features a fairly consistent gradient which allows you to find a rhythm to help get you over it a little more comfortably.
The descents on the Powerman Zofingen course are not what you might come to expect on a course with the type of climbs that feature. They are, for the most part, at a low shallow gradient. In my mind this is just as big a factory as the climbs in why the course is so challenging. Often on hilly courses, athletes get a chance to rest the legs a little while gaining some free speed on the downhills. This is not the case here, athletes have to work hard and keep pressure on the pedals to maximise any gains coming off these descents. There is very little opportunity to free wheel and rest.
So there you have it a bit of the overview on the bike course at Powerman Zofingen. We hope this helps you in your race preparations. This is just a small sample of the level of detail we go into when carrying out course analysis for athletes competing in goal races. If you would like more details on Powerman Zofingen or would like help with analysing any other event, please feel free to enquire about one of our many services.