Leap Day Sports - The Triathlife of Jesse Thomas

My Very Own Bike

Sorry that this is coming a tad late my crazy lunatic raving mad fans. Those of you who follow me on twitter, facebook or saw pics of last weekend’s race (report coming soon) may have already seen my shiny new ride. But nevertheless, I wanted to give it the attention it deserves by it’s own special announcement, so drumroll please…..

After a year of borrowing, mooching, and weaseling a way to ride, I will have my very own bike this year thanks to the awesomeness of non other than SPECIALIZED!!! And the crowd goes wild.

I’m officially stoked to officially be part of the Specialized USA Triathlon Team. It’s an incredible opportunity and an honor to be working with such an amazing company.

My Specialized Story

The story of me and Specialized is a little like me and Lauren, super long, drawn out, initial attraction, then some wavering, reluctance, maybe a little dating on the side, but ultimately a match made in heaven.

When we came off the stage at Wildflower after accepting our awards, Jordan Rapp asked if I had a bike sponsor. I said only my buddy Nick, but I have to give his bike back after this weekend. So Jordan asked me if I wanted a real sponsor, to which I replied, yes please. Jordan then introduced me to Mallory Burda, Specialized USA Sports Marketing Manager, and whammo the relationship was born.

Mallory and I stayed in touch, a lot, throughout the year as I did my best to back up my Wildflower results.  I met with her and Sean Estes (Marketing) at Interbike after 70.3 Worlds. Then I met Bobby Behan (Global Marketing) and Mark Cote (Product Manager) in Kona – where I also tested out their new tri bike (details below).

After weeks of wavering, talking with other companies and maybe a bit of negotiation, we made it official about 2 weeks ago. In ridiculously speedy fashion – which says a lot about how awesome they are – I had a fully built bike ready to go 6 days later to Panama.

Can you tell I'm just a little bit excited?

Why I Chose Specialized

Product: Specialized has obviously been a leader in the bike world for a long time. Everyone saw Craig Alexander take 13 minutes of his Kona split on their new bike to a course record. While their new stuff is obviously awesome, it’s not just about the bike they have now. I’m convinced they are a leader in research and innovation, and they’re making a considerable, long term investment specifically into triathlon. That gives me the confidence that I’ll be riding top notch stuff not just this year, but for year’s to come.

People: Secondly, and just as important, are the people involved. Their entire team, Mallory, Sean, Bobby, and Mark, were absolutely top notch, professional, honest, straight forward and generous with their time and energy throughout the decision making process. I want to particularly thank Mallory for spending waaaaaay too much time on the phone and email answering all my questions, concerns, responding empathetically to stupid things I should have already known, etc. She was great and a big part of the reason I chose Specialized. As I mentioned above, even since becoming a part of their team, they’ve been super responsive, helpful, and a great group to work with. I’m really excited about working with them down the road.

My Bike

Ok, ok, ok, most of you, especially my bike dork friends, just want to see the bike. So here you go nerds, I’ll be riding the new Shiv! The Shiv is awesome because it was designed from the ground up specifically for triathlon (Mark was the Product Manager for this bike, and believe me, he’s wicked smart). It’s got some crazy deep and aerodynamic tubing, a forward, open geometry that enables a good run off the bike, and even an internal bladder for fluids while racing – which I used heavily last weekend.

I’ve had the bike now for about 7 days and I can say, without a doubt, that it is the fastest thing I’ve ever ridden by far. It super stiff, transfers power well, and just sails along at high speeds. I’m super excited to get more time on it, build into my most comfortable/powerful/aerodynamic position, and get ready to roll!

oh boy oh boy oh boy

Thanks

Like I mentioned with my Pearl announcement, this partnership is the culmination of a long time dream of mine. If you had told me years ago I’d be sponsored by Specialized one day, I probably would have crapped my pants, in a good way. It has been amazing to use their product and see their support first hand. I mean, they freaking sent me tubes! Do you know how awesome that is? I’m stoked. So anyway, thank you Mallory, Sean, Mark, and Bobby for including me on your team, and thanks to all of you for supporting me along the way and making this possible. I’m so pumped.

I also want to give a special shout out to Nick Alden of course for letting me borrow his bike at Wildflower last year, which was obviously the catalyst for a lot of this stuff. Thanks a ton dude, couldn’t have happened without you!

Lastly and of utmost importance, I want to sincerely thank Paul Thomas for lending me his TT bike the entire season after Wildflower. Paul is a former Arkansas runner now turned crazy fast cyclist and a good friend of mine. He has been incredibly generous with his time, energy, and equipment not just last year, but throughout my development in triathlon. He bent over backwards to get me a bike asap and let me keep it so I could continue to race last year unsupported. Thank you so much Paul, you’re the freaking man!

That’s it folks – don’t worry, that Panama race report is days away, and some reports on a couple other pretty cool things as well. I’ll leave you with a little teaser of one of the things I’ve been up to the last couple of days….

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