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2012 Rev3 Portland Race Report

Crazy Ass Fans, unite! Jesse Bieber is back in action. After a long blog break building the Picky Bar Empire and playing Mr. Fleshman for Lauren’s Olympic Trials, I jumped in a big ‘ol race on Sunday at the Rev3 Portland. Good stuff happened. Read below.

Getting my game face on.

Swim – Not Front Pack, Not Second Pack. 1.5 Pack?

Once again, thanks to some solid Dolphin Diving I had a good start. I hit the first buoy with Front Pack and navigated around with less than three back o’ the head slaps, booyah! I stuck with the pack the next couple hundred meters, going hard, but staying on it. I could see Richie to my right, who I knew was the guy to beat after his win at Quassy. Could this be my breakthrough? I think so. In your face, Front Pack! But sure enough, at about 500 meters, Front Pack made one more acceleration and dropped me. Dammit. Front Pack, you play my heart strings like a guitar.

So I relaxed/recouped/cried, let the next couple of guys go around me, and got on their feet. I felt pretty comfortable the rest of the way. I debated swimming ahead on my own a number of times, but it seemed like a lot of wasted energy for a small benefit. So I just decided to stick with it and let it play out. It was relaxed enough that I got a song stuck in my head during the swim, which basically never happens. Awesome, right? Well, no. The song was none other than the ridiculously annoying and unfortunately catchy tune Call Me Maybe. LONGEST SWIM OF MY LIFE.

Congrats @mediocreathlete (an alias for @rebeccakelly)! It took her like 12 seconds to guess the right song. Check out her blog, HILARIOUS.

Bike – Hold On For Dear Life

The course was absolutely beautiful. Super cool shot by Jessica

After an annoying swim, my initial plan for the bike was to build into the mostly flat first 10 miles, then crank it up when I hit the gnarly hilly section from mile 10-30. Well, plans change. Jordan came by me and I remembered that riding by myself in Quassy was boring, and having people to ride with in Oceanside and Wildflower (also Jordan) helped a lot. So I told myself that my new bike plan was to stay with Jordan, regardless of what he did. This was a decision that I doubted and regretted many times over the next 1.5 hours.

When I get really tired on the bike, I fall asleep. Photo by Eric Wynn/Rev3

Instead of easing into the first 10 miles, Jordan rode up to the front and laid some smack down. I averaged ~360 watts for the first 30 minutes, then after a short downhill, absolutely hammered the long rolling climb, averaging about 380 watts for the next 18 minutes. For those of you wondering why my bike ride is measured in light bulbs, it means that I was riding VERY VERY hard, near my one hour all out effort for the first hour of a 2+ hour ride! I doubted that I would have the legs to stay with the pace – much less run afterwards. Worse of all, I was still Maybe Calling Someone the entire freaking way. Next time you think a workout is hard, try playing that song while you’re doing it. It’s a new universe of pain.

SUPERWIF’S Band of Cheerers – Patrick, Jessica, and Hallie

Anyway, I was close to done as we went into the last steep climb. But then, someone came to my rescue. It was none other than…SUPERWIF!, and her Band of Cheerers. I rode by Lauren, Jessica, Hallie, and Patrick, who not only cheered me one and told me my place/split behind the leaders, but were also blasting the song (below) out of the car that I’d wanted to have in my head. So I made it to the top of the hill, my outlook improved, an I stayed with Jordan the rest of the way. It was still pretty rough, but the brutal hills were done, and we reeled in a bunch of guys. I cruised into transition in 5th place.


Running with Terenzo in 3rd. Photo by Eric Wynn/Rev3

The song I wanted, and eventually got, in my head during the race.

Run – Oh So Close

When I heard Richie had a 90 second lead on me out of T2, I knew it was bad news bears. The three times I’ve raced Richie, he either ran faster than me (Quassy) or was very close (Oceanside & Panama). Having gone super hard on the bike, I was also worried I might bonk on the run. So as soon as I caught Terenzo in 2nd place (about 2 miles in), I chilled out.

I ran the next couple of miles fairly comfortable and tried not to think about Richie up in front. I needed to make sure I finished and didn’t implode. Eventually, Terrenzo droped off a bit, and in an effort to make sure he didn’t stay with me, I must have picked up the pace. I still thought my chances were slim, so I kept telling myself to get to mile 8 before running “hard,” (whatever that means). The pace felt strong, but sustainable.

Pushing out on my own. Photo by Eric Wynn/Rev3

At the turnaround around 8.5 miles, I got a split on Richie, 53 seconds. I honestly thought I was still too far out. Then I passed Jordan and he told me that I “had to go now.” It honestly kind of woke me up a bit. I needed roughly 11 seconds a mile and I could catch him. Tough, but not impossible, and I was past the point of worrying of finishing, so I kicked it up a notch.

One of the awesome, and simultaneously frustrating things about this course was that I could see Richie the rest of the race. He got closer and closer. It was like your car door mirror, “Objects may be closer than they appear,” except the opposite, “Objects may appear like you’re right behind them, but really they’re like 35 seconds in front of you, dude.” I pushed as much as I could. I got splits from fans, friends, the race coordinators, SUPERWIF, etc. 30 seconds, 26 seconds, 21 seconds, running out of real estate, ah! I got to 17 seconds with 1.5 miles left, and I imagined myself doing one of Matt’s brutal run workouts, and tried to shift into my last Z4 FAST mile, come on 5 minute mile!

Unfortunately, that’s when my car broke down. My right leg started cramping just a bit. I got a bit of a side ache, and I started this weird panting/crying/moaning sound that I’ve absolutely never heard myself make before. At about mile 12, my body said game over.

You can almost see Richie in the reflection of my Aviators. Awesome shot by Eric Wynn/Rev3

It took my brain another ¾ mile to hear the message I finally shut down and jogged it in the last minute or so. Though I was bummed I couldn’t catch, I still was stoked enough to do some finish chute Hi-Fiving with the crowd.

Overall – 2nd Place, a Fastest Bike Split, and Solid Run

I’m pretty stoked with this effort. I shared my first ever fastest bike split with Jordan on our dueling Shivs (I was seconds faster than him when including the run with the bike into transition, but Jordan set the pace). That was awesome, but running a 1:12  off that effort was particularly encouraging. Yeah, I lost some time on the swim, but the course was definitely long, and I think in a bigger field, I might stay with a group going a slightly faster pace. Either way, lots of good stuff. Full Results – under pro race, click triathlon leaderboard.

My finish line interview (~2 min) from REVOLUTION3 Triathlon on Vimeo.

Some Lessons Learned:

Transitions Matter: I used to think that transitions didn’t matter in long course racing. Well, now I don’t think that anymore. Once again, I lost to Richie by a difference in transition time. This was a total bummer in Oceanside, but an even bigger bummer here because I gave up a win. I’ve got to work on more efficient transitions. If you see someone practicing putting on his shoes, stuff crap into his pockets and jumping on his bike, chances are its me.

To Go or Not to Go? I know I lost a lot of time on the swim, but in hindsight, I think I lost the race in miles 2-6 of the run A few days away, I think I ran scared. I didn’t really “wake up” until Jordan yelled at me. I think I ran safely for 2nd place until that moment. If I had gone right off the bat, maybe I would have caught Richie by mile 10 and who knows what would have happened. He might have pulled away from me, I might have died, but he might have been hurting enough too that he couldn’t challenge. This is my one regret from the race. I wish I had gone, it may have been an opportunity lost.

I’m not going to beat myself up about it too much. You live and learn. And I am very happy with this result. This was a solid field, and outside of Wildflower, probably the best result of my career.

All Stresses Are the Same & Have the Confidence To Chill:

I’ll be honest, I was wrecked going into this race. Those who follow me on twitter and facebook know that I had a very busy, emotional, and taxing last few weeks – this is also the reason I haven’t blogged. Lauren raced the Olympic Trials, so I was in full Mr. Fleshman support mode. In addition to our presence at the trials, Picky Bars has also faced a number of exciting, but demanding changes the last few weeks, so my workload there has increased significantly.

On Friday 6/26, 9 days before my race, Matt decided to pull me way back. I basically bailed on my workouts for Friday, Saturday & Sunday, substituting them with very easy efforts. I worried I’d lose my “sharpness”, but Matt said that I absolutely had to rest. He was right. I felt absolutely terrible all week. The emotional and physical drain came on like a train of pain in the rain (first two ains happened naturally, added the last two for effect). Anyway, if I hadn’t have chilled the way I did, there’s no way I’d have been ready for this race. So the lesson is, listen to yourself, all stresses on the body are equal whether they’re emotional or physical and from exercise or otherwise. Don’t be afraid to rest. Thanks Matt.

REV3 Triathlon Portland 2012 – Pro Recap from REVOLUTION3 Triathlon on Vimeo.


  • SUPERWIF’s on it! Her time to shine!

    SUPERWIF and her Band of Cheerers – This race was rad because Lauren, my family, and a bunch of my friends were there to cheer me on. It’s the only race I do in the Pacific Northwest, and it was so awesome to have people out there on the course. They gave me splits, kept me going, took a bunch of great pictures, and tweeted the crap out of that race. You guys are the best!

  • Steve, Mary, Oliver and Sadie – Not only does Steve provide me with some awesome Cycleops PowerTap equipment, his family also let Lauren and I stay with him this weekend! So much fun to hang out with you and your family this weekend. Really appreciate all the help and the hospitality!
  • Hey, that’s me! At West End Bikes, booyah! (Wif taking the picture in the reflection).

    Mallory, Sean, & Joe at Specialized – You guys get top sponsor billing this week with my first ever fastest bike split! Mallory gives me crap about how every race I say it was my fastest bike ever, but it’s true, it pretty much has been my fastest bike ever, every single race! Well this one anyway, definitely deserves the title – MY FASTEST BIKE EVER! I also want to thank Mark, Mike, and Joe at WestEndBikes in PDX for hosting me on Friday night for a Q&A session. Awesome shop guys, and great to meet you!

  • Charlie, Ashley, Eric, Sean, and the rest of the Rev3 Team. This was, again, an incredible event. I first met the Rev3 crew last year when they brought the first major professional race to Oregon. I am so pumped I met you guys, and so happy to be a part of your group. This was a very special weekend for all of us triathletes in the Pacific Northwest. We really appreciate it. Beautiful course, and a well run event. Can’t wait for next year! See you in Maine in 6 weeks!
  • Geoff, Kody & the Pearl Izumi team – Thanks for cranking on the brand new Kit to have it ready for this race. It felt absolutely amazing, and I know it helped with the fastest bike kit. And oh so close to a fastest run split in the Transitions. Great stuff guys, thanks for all the support.
  • The guys at Rolf Prima. Rack up a fastest bike split for the new TDF 60 SL! Booyah! Thanks guys! Stoked to hang out in a couple of weeks at the Rolf Prima Tri at the Grove!
  • My coach Matt Dixon – As I said above (and as always) Matt played a crucial in my result this weekend. Thanks a ton man. Onward and upward.
  • Robert at First Endurance –  I am very surprised and pleased with how well I held up on the run, and I think a lot of that has to do with great race day nutrition. Once again, I used my race day nutrition plan, and it worked perfectly. Thanks so much for the support and incredible product Robert!
  • Gerry Rodrigues of Tower 26 – We’re close, Gerry! Looking forward to seeing you in August to make one final push to Front Pack for 70.3 Worlds.
  • My support crew, my newsletter subscribers, twitter and facebook crazy ass fans. Once again, I had people yelling Go Aviator! Bieber Zombie! the entire run. You guys are rad. I had a TON of people following on twitter as Lauren was posting updates. So much fun to read through them all after the race. Really appreciate your guys support!

Hanging with my Dad (Gary) and Step Mom (Janna). You can see where I learned about Aviators.


40 comments to 2012 Rev3 Portland Race Report

  • dan cole

    Good work. Sounds like you need to chase Larissa some more. I need picky bars!

  • Congratulations Jesse! That is absolutely amazing 2nd place finish, and (as always) really great recap that makes me feel as though I was there. I also think that “Call Me Maybe” might have been the jam you needed at that moment. I mean it is a super catchy, motivating tune, right?

    Also, I approve of sleeping while bike riding.

    Just a quick question (I know you are super busy (see your post above) so don’t feel like you need to answer): Sometimes your posts seem like you doubt yourself during the race, BUT are you secretly really positive when you are competing?? Do you chant personal mantras when you run?

  • Seriously with the transitions. Especially since it was your slowness in T1 that “cost” me fastest bike split. What the heck? Especially with the (relatively) long run into T1 from the water. I race Ironman and I still clipped you by 13 seconds in transition. What are you doing in there? Grooming your flowing locks of Fabio-ness? It’s a race. Get on your frickin’ horse…

    I must say, I also find you tremendously resilient to being hit with a hammer. I think I need a bigger hammer. Thankfully, I’m pretty sure I’ve got one…

    • Jesse Thomas

      You didn’t notice the brush and conditioner I keep in transition? What’s winning a race if you’re having a bad hair day?

  • Proud to be a crazy ass fan of a man who can admit to catching a Top 40 ear worm like Call Me Maybe AND succumbing to the pant/groan/cry thing. Keep on keepin on! U R a Hero.

  • Great write up and congrats on a hard fought 2nd. You’re a fast man.

  • Randy Becker

    OUTSTANDING as always Jesse. Congrats to you and MBK!
    Rest, Recover & Ramp up for Vegas!

  • I didn’t even know the race was that weekend, it was in our backyard. Hope to catch you next year.

  • Teresa Nelson

    You did so awesome. And I love your message at the bottom to not be afraid to rest. Keep it up….you will “own” that front pack soon 🙂

    PS: Rebecca Kelley rocks!!! As does her blog…thanks for giving her a shout out!!!


  • Wif

    Effing stud. Nuff said.

  • Hollis

    Good Race! Strong finish! Good blog post! Horrible song…. Call me maybe? OUCH! Next time try a little Duran Duran- Hungry like the wolf…. or some flock of seagulls? I bet a power animal could’ve picked you up an extra 17+ sec. All joking aside though… Excellent work Jesse.

  • Layra

    You are awesome!!!! Love your race reports and they get me pumped for my next race(s). I love racing, it’s such a test of one’s perseverance, will to endure ridiculous amounts of pain, and desire to succeed. You and your wife are very inspirational, I love being part of Triathlon as a sport, even if I’m not crazy fast like you 🙂 Keep up the awesome job and I look forward to cheering you at the World Championships!

  • darren

    more intensity.

  • MoCo

    I’m pretty sure that the mysterious key to endurance sports is the art of getting the right song in your head for your race. I spent the entire AM before my A race this year (GCBS) listening to two songs in order to get one of them stuck in my head and it worked.

    of course, the friend I was racing with got Call Me Maybe in her head and beat me by a lot, so I’m not sure what that says.

    you knocked it out of the park. awesome race.

    • Jesse Thomas

      Thanks! For some reason whenever I try to get a song stuck in my head – I listened to that Metric song, Speed the Collapse, for like an 30 minutes on the way there, it never works. It always ends up being some random song they play while I’m setting up my transition! Brutal!

  • Lauren G.

    Killing it! Congrats on the podium and on a hard fought race. Believe! You are awesome.

  • Travis

    New to your race reports. But I read lots of race reports. This is the best one I’ve ever read! I had Call Me Maybe looping while I read it. Thanks for providing the link. I watched you guys race Rev3 PDX last year and raced behind you guys this year. See you out there next year.

  • Congrats on a great race – taking risks, learning..etc. I’m a coach to those getting “off the couch” and once they catch the tri bug..it’s hard to get them to understand the price of stress and the benefit of rest. Thanks for you honesty in everything..including the whole song issue. Gotta try me some picky bars soon.

  • Jennifer C

    You totally rock! Love to hear your crazy recaps after following you throughout the day. See you in Vegas!!

  • Amos

    awesome report, I was stoked to see a new update in my inbox! Loved your interview too! So professional, appreciative and comfortable with a mic in your face! Also, nice props to G for the aviators, he’s earned it 🙂

  • My reprising gig of real medical student rather than researching medical student has precluded me from maintaining my position as one of the first commenters, a post I created a competition between me and your other crazy fans for. Anyways, despite losing said fake competition, a few comments in list form seeing as this is how my brain thinks (ie forming assessments and plans):

    1. Concur with Jocelyn’s question. Would like to hear answer, time permitting, with additional question of whether you use words as flowers for mental cues a la your wife’s other company.

    2. Can you do a triathlon for dummies post. So, I can understand watts and what not.

    3. You should be super proud of yourself. You have like a bazillion jobs and, as you said, an emotionally draining last month.

    4. You and L’s love and respect for each other makes me sad for my own lonely existence. But, then I watch Dance Moms and its ok. I am still awaiting post on how to find husband in 2012 and am contemplating sitting outside Stanford’s track with a sign that says “AVAILABLE DOCTOR. CALL ME MAYBE?”

    5. Thank you for the point on rest. I skipped a day of running this week and, as usual, am somewhat stressed about it because I didn’t get to cross off that mighty check box in my planner that says ” ( ) run.” After a 12 hour day, I didn’t have time for a run before getting treatment on my leg and I thought I needed treatment > run. But, then bailing made me feel lazy.

    6. I have written an essay to you so I will stop. However, to reiterate #3, awesome job, fantastic accomplishment, you’re sort of like superman to me…you can do everything.


    • Jesse Thomas


      Thanks for your comments/compliments as usual, and sorry your job of saving people’s lives is getting in the way of being the first to comment on my blog. Stupid people’s lives.

      1. Yes, I do use mantras, but they aren’t pretty and flowery like Lauren’s. I usually say stuff like, “You’re killing it, dude!” and “Yeeehaaaw, this is rad!” especially when I’m hurting a lot. Seriously. I say it out loud too, makes it more real. Just wrote an article about some of this stuff for Triathlete Mag, should come out in a month or so.

      2. Yes, I will. But for now, measuring Watts on a bike is a way to measure your output (input into the bike). It is a better measure of performance for cycling than pace/speed because it is independent of external conditions like wind/grade, which have a massive effect on pace/speed. It’s what most competitive cyclist/triathletes use as their training and racing benchmarks. I do workouts where instead of doing intervals at a certain pace/speed, I do them at a certain power (wattage). It varies for everyone, but me saying I held 350 watts for an hour is kind of like me saying I ran 5:20 pace for an hour.

      3. Thank you very much.

      4. I think the sign is a good idea. Be sure to put some headphones on and dance around with it, maybe spin it every once in a while. The TMobile guys down the road do this and they always have my attention.

      5. Yes, sometimes you have to have the CONFIDENCE to rest and realize you’re not going to lose fitness. I’ll write about this sometime as well.

      6. Thanks again!

      • Jesse,

        Yes, it is unfortunate and if one day I stop commenting, which is unlikely, but plausible, please know that I am still reading and still one of Jesse Bieber’s many fans within your legion of JesseBeliebers.

        1. I might try this tomorrow.

        2. I don’t know if I can take that much pain for an hour.

        3. You’re welcome.

        4. Switching the rings to non-wedding fingers and going after it. This is, most likely, a sure fire way to get me committed to the nearest psychiatric institution, but its worth a shot, right?

        5. You should write a post on the rest thing. I would also like for you to further elucidate for your crazy fans your time as an entrepreneur and MBA student and, furthermore, how you managed to not get fat and out of shape. However, your raging baseline metabolism may preclude such.

        6. No problem.

        And, Jocelyn is correct. We are the same person. It is somewhat frightening.

  • Kathy Nelson

    Where do we go for Picky Bars? Santa Clarita???

  • BendMichael

    Great race. Entertaining write up. I may do Cottage Grove just to be in your presence.

  • Mike Krattley

    Nice racing! Awesome recap. Keep it going.

  • sandra

    Congratulations Jesse on a phenomenal race.
    Your consistency of effort, mental toughness and down right honesty about your feelings in the race are refreshing .You do relate your personal story in your own special way to the delight of all your fans.

  • Tomasz

    Hello Jesse. We met at Rev3 Quassy in June. At that time you were buying an inflating device for your tubulars and told me how well it works for you. Unfortunately, I can’t recall the name of this product but would like to try it out. Please remind me about its name and where may I be able to purchase it? On-line/retailer? Thank you. — Tomasz

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