Leap Day Sports - The Triathlife of Jesse Thomas

2011 Wildflower Champion…Holy Crap.


On Saturday I toed the starting line of the Wildflower Triathlon, one of the most historic and recognized events in the sport.   As a first year pro, I’d never raced Wildflower, registered 2 weeks ago, and hoped for a top 8 finish…if I had a great race, maybe top 5.  In an incredible experience (that I’ll describe in detail later this week), I shocked everyone, most of all myself, and crossed the finish line first, becoming the 2011 Wildflower Champion.  Wow that sounds weird.

The result is, without a doubt, the most surreal and humbling performance of my athletic career.  I never expected this, didn’t believe it when I moved into 1st on the run, didn’t believe it when I crossed the finish line, and still can’t believe it now.

The last 36 hours have been an appropriate balance of intense introspection, and of course, celebration.  While I feel a thousand emotions, the one that surfaces most abundantly is gratitude.  Gratitude to the many people who vitally supported me through years of chasing my dream to become an accomplished professional athlete.  To my wife, my family, my coach, my friends, my sponsors, thank you.  Seriously, thank you.  I certainly hope there are more good performances to come, but if this is as good as it gets, I’ll take it, and it wouldn’t have happened without you.

I’ll write a full race report later this week once I catch my breath.  Lots of good stories to tell, and many specific thank you’s to give.  Until then, check out a couple by the triathlon media, links below.

***Here’s a new one (5/5), my first post race interview with Slowtwitch.com – talks a bit more about the details around the race, fun stuff!

***Here’s a new video posted by TriCenter, pretty funny, with “Who is that guy?” and “Clause C” of my contract with Matt Lieto.

Thanks to Jim McDannald at Track Geek for finding this video of my post race interview with Tri California.  It’s long, but has some fun details about the race, my borrowed bike, and Walgreens Aviators.

Thanks to Mackenzie Madison for capturing this video of the announcer recounting the race and my interview during the awards ceremony.

Just because it’s freaking awesome, and this rookie pro is admittedly a little star-struck, I’ll post Chris McCormack’s (one of the biggest legends in the sport) twitter shout out to me.


52 comments to 2011 Wildflower Champion…Holy Crap.

  • Wade Pannell

    Great Job, Jesse! That is simply awesome. Way to recover and win. Pure inspiration and witness to the power of a positive mental attitude.

  • Congratulations Jesse! What an accomplishment. Lauren told us all at the marathon expo on Saturday and it immediately raised the excitement level at the whole booth

  • Joe Mattson

    Jesse, congrats, amazing video of you bolting by that guy on the run, keep it going man. All those Jog for Jim’s really paying off?

  • Nate Lillegard

    As Lauren sped by me Sunday morning on an elliptigo, leading the Eugene Marathon while I was course marshal out at the Amazon turn around, I thought to myself “I wonder what Jesse’s up to today?” Probably sleeping in, heading out for some training. I mean, he just did a race in TX a couple weeks ago. People don’t race 1/2 IM twice in one month do they? Apparently if you channel your inner Dave Scott with a pair of RayBans !?! you can do anything! Great race and interview. You deserve the glory.
    Congrats my friend, you rock. Inspring success to a guy that earns it all.

  • sandra sharma

    Hi Jesse,
    Amba and I are thrilled with you and your result!!!!Congratulations on such a momentous result that reveal your mental toughness,perseverance and wonderful athletic ability.Lauren , Mum and all your friends must be so very proud of you. Way to go!!!!!

  • Brett @The__MSA

    Way to go “Mystery Guy #86!”. Especially funny since we were trying to follow you on the athlete tracker and couldn’t find you anywhere. Finally ST and Twitter reported it…after you’d won. So awesome! Lava write up is classic.

  • Tbone

    I’ll go on record and say that I was not surprised. Very, very happy, but not surprised. I hope you continue to be surprised by your success every time, though, because I think success is a lot more enjoyable that way.

    Also, way to handle yourself as a champion. Everything from the interview to this post – total class. I love your attitude that if this is the pinnacle, you’ll take it, and wish I could have that attitude myself a lot more of the time.

    Way to go man!

  • Brett @The__MSA

    Oops…87. 😛

  • Meggie

    Congrats, Jesse! Looks like you’re gonna have to get a new pair of sunglasses now — all the Tri papparazi will recognize the aviators now so I say you upgrade to some Ray Ban Wayfarers to maintain total stealth mode for your next race.

    Seriously, mah-jor congrats. I think blowing yourself away is the best feeling ever. And it sounds like you did that. Well deserved. Can’t wait to see you take people down at the next one, too.

  • David Floyd

    You da man. All of those long hours have paid off. Congrats.

  • Awesome work man! We had a booth out there and Bottle Boy was on the course most of the time cheering on the age groupers. I had no idea you were even racing until someone told me that “Jesse Thompson” won 🙂

    I am so pumped. As a former triathlete and someone who has trained with you I fully expected you to dominate this sport. Something tells me I’ll be writing a lot more posts like this.

    Nice work!!!

  • Geoff D

    Love the “crush it” quote! Gonna roll that around in my head when I pass the fat fathers I ride with. No mercy.


  • Dan

    amazing result. i am really excited for you.

  • DUDE!!!!! You freaking rock! Picky power baby. Can’t wait to hear about it. Good on ya man

  • Ryan

    Nice work Jessie… Your the Man…

  • Rob Lyle

    Super cool to see you win – and those pictures are great. Classy purplepatch win for a classy guy who inspires us all to find our “Wildflower” moment. Now have got to get me some of those Picky bars!

  • James

    Your genuine happiness is inspiring! Like when Cuba Gooding Jr. won the Oscar for Jerry Maguire.

    ps: Congrats on making it through the podium interview without your voice cracking.

  • Many congrats Jesse. Looking forward to the race recap!

  • Anna Timbie

    Congratulations Jesse! I discovered your blog this year and was so excited to see you break through on such a huge stage! Can’t wait to see/read what’s next.

  • Daniel

    Wow… such class and humility in victory. So excited to see this come together for you like this in remarkable fashion. And I can’t believe you ran in aviators… maybe cap it off next time with some MV High basketball shorts over your tri get up! Boom Shocka Locka!

  • Kiet

    Way to crush it Jesse, glad to see you back in the sport and at the top of the podium where you belong. Absolutely inspiring! Oh, I’ve found something that works better than bodyglide on those feet, the trislide spray by SBR. Looking forward to following you in your rookie season.

  • darren

    i think you need to take some notes from lauren and start referencing male genitalia in your post race interviews.

  • Nicely done! Just got the news from Josh Cordell. Congrats on an awesome win! I still remember the days when I could out-run you (god that was a long time ago ;-)).

  • Oh, and BTW: You’d better get your butt over to Sunriver in June, smack around some folks at the Pacific Crest.

  • emily petty

    so, so excited for you, jesse! totally gave me chills…

  • Sensational! I love it to see a totally anassuming athlete like you kicking ass and being to soooo inspiring. Fun to watch!
    Way to got! Keep it up there!

  • Zachary Kerns

    So my phone updated with the slowtwitch email and I was like damn I know that name it can’t be the same magnificent bastard that always beat me in High School. Then I saw the pic and thought yep I have seen that smile before… Called Jeremy Bloom and said the Magnificent Bastard (yes that is what we refer to you as) won some tri in California, honestly did not know how big it was, he was floored saw the pic and said yep he had seen that face before too. Congratulations man, Bloom and I are now in elite company as inagural members of the beat by JT club.

  • Jeremy Bloom

    Holy Smokes, you won freaking WILDFLOWER. I’m shaking my head man, congrats, just an enormous congrats is all I can come up with… And yes, Kerns and I now refer to you strictly as “The Magnificent Bastard”.

  • Steve Shearer

    Congrats Jesse on a great victory. I could be wrong, but I believe I rode with you on Friday before the race for a few minutes on an uphill that’s part of the run course…I was on a mountain bike. You were friendly and really cool to talk to…mentioned it was one of your first races as an Elite. You just seemed really stoked to be there racing the next day. I got back to camp after my ride and told my wife I met a down to earth Elite athlete that was cool enough to give me the time of day for a few minutes. Thanks for that and congrats again on a well deserved victory…I hope to see you on top of a lot more podiums in the future.

    • Jesse Thomas

      Thanks everyone for the awesome comments, support and compliments, it’s humbling and I seriously appreciate it. I think about the support and notes you write every time I go out to train train and race, it keeps me fired up!

      @Steve, I definitely remember you. You surprised me because while I was working pretty hard up the hill on my borrowed TT bike, you casually pulled up next to me on your Mountain Bike! Thanks so much for the compliment, really appreciate it. Hope your race went well also!

      @Jeremy/Zach, blast from the past! I remember lots of battles with you guys, Ortman and I especially trying to take you down! Good times. Hope you guys are going well

      @Kiet, I still use your bodyglide method every race, works like a charm! But I’m going to look into that trislide spray, if you say it’s better, I’m in for a try. Hope to see you at Alcatraz.

      @Rob! Hope your training is going well also. Let me know when you want to place a Picky Bar order, we can get a bulk discount for your team or something.

      @james, first time I’ve ever spoke publicly without my voice cracking, maybe I’m finally done with puberty.

      @darren, I’ll leave that to Lauren, she’s a pro.

      @Don Quixote, you are the real mystery man! thanks for the comments whoever you are!

  • James

    Steve Shearer’s comment is my favorite. That’s the Jesse we know and love.

  • Don Quixote

    As presaged in a previous post, The Man of La Mancha rides supreme! Many congrats on putting all the pieces together on a fantastic day. Special congrats on your strong swim and ride. No doubt you’ll build on this. Enjoy the training!

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  • dawn

    Oh dear I know this race was 2 years ago but I just found your blog/race reports-by reading your wife’s blog. This is incredible. Unbelievable. Stuff like this is so motivating and inspiring. I had never heard of you and now I am a fan.
    Can’t wait to see what the year brings for you. Love your enthusiasm and your writing. Congrats on your new addition coming too!

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