Leap Day Sports - The Triathlife of Jesse Thomas

Vegas 70.3 World Championships Preview

Heeeeelllllllllooooooo all my crazy ass got a case of Jesse Bieber Fever fans! I’m sitting on a plane heading to Vegas. Contrary to rumors on TMZ and ET, I have not been offered a role in Hangover 3. I’m racing the 70.3 World Championships! Then we’ll see about the movie role.

Let’s get the race details out of the way before I give you what you really want which are the details of my inner thoughts, emotions, and bowel movements heading into this historic event.

WHEN – This SUNDAY, 9/9, 6:30AM Pacific

WHERE – Henderson, NV

HOW TO FOLLOW/WATCH

  • Twitter – Honestly this is the best, especially because I know you’re interested in all things Jesse. Lauren will be updating from my account, @jessemthomas. A couple other twitter options are:
    • @amandabalding – Friend of mine who I think will be on a moto on the bike course.
    • @ironmantri – Usually provide good updates.
    • @mattlieto – He’s my friend and he’s funny. I think he’s commentating.
  • Ironmanlive.com or the Race Website – You may have to dig to find the right pages, but they should have a live blog and potentially some video. Just look for anything that says live Vegas/70.3/World Championships updates.
  • Post other options below in comments – If anyone else knows another place to watch, or a direct link, I will make you famous if post it in the comments, famous on this blog I mean.

The Field – This is, without a doubt, the strongest field I’ve ever seen at any race ever. As I used to say in middle school and now, everyone and their mom is here. That includes my mom. The field has all the big names, something like 5 World Champions, a HyVee Winner, the winner of almost every major 70.3 in the world this year, and a magician. I made that last one up. Anyway, it’s going to be crazy, seriously. A super good field.

Luckily Chris Angel is not racing. He would be super fast at the swim.

The Venue – Three words best describe the venue, hot hot hot. Honestly, that’s the main thang on the brain for almost everyone. Even though we start at 6:30am, it will still be lower 90s for most of the run. The swim is in a lake (bad), the ride is hilly, even finishing above where it starts (good), and the run is three 4-mile loops of 2 miles gradual up, 2 miles gradual down (good I guess). It’s a tough, but honest course that in some ways suits me (hills), in some ways does not (no ice cream break).

I know I just screwed myself as this will definitely be the song in my head now.

My Thoughts Only (no Bowel Movements, your* safe):

Those of you who read my nonsense regularly know that this race is one of two key focuses of my season (the first one was Wildflower). It’s also the focus a three year plan that Matt and I created after I first joined him in late 2010. I had my first, and painful, crack at this race last year as a rookie pro off my game. In other words, I got my ass handed to me big time. It left a super sour taste in my mouth on an otherwise successful season. But I’m back with more experience, as a better athlete, and legitimately excited to see what I can achieve.

I didn’t have a wind tunnel to test my new Specialized TT helmet, so I rolled down the windows in the back of the car instead. It felt fast.

Swim – Last year, I got dropped about 23.5 seconds into the swim, and then swam-cried by myself for 25 minutes. Then the ladies who started 4 minutes behind me, came up on me. I tried to stay with them and got dropped again . Let’s just say it was a rough start to a rough day. My goal in the swim is simple – swim like I know I can. I’m faster than I’ve ever been, and I just want to capitalize on that. If I have a great swim, I could come out at the back of the front pack. If I have a good swim, I’ll come out with the second pack. If anything, I hope to be in a much better position than last year heading onto the bike.

Bike – Again, I’d like to improve significantly over my sufferfest last year where I rode 100 meters behind Julie Dibens for about 30 miles and finished with the 34th fastest bike split in the pro field. I know from this year’s races and workouts that on a good day, I can ride with just about anyone. I’m not afraid to be aggressive and ride hard. Hopefully, I’ll have some guys to ride with this year.

Yes, I got a new bike for this race. I am a very spoiled little boy. I don’t know if it’s in my head, but this bike honestly feels faster than my last one. Booyah!

Run – Simple, run my ass off. Honestly, my run has taken a back seat this year to developing my swim and bike. Last year, I used a 4th fastest run split (including a potty stop, yep, it’s called potty even in Vegas) to climb from 35th place to 17th place. I haven’t had quite the run this year, I’ve learned to ride harder and haven’t needed it to be competitive. But I’ve seen in workouts and a few races that in the right situation and under the right motivation, my run is as strong as it ever has been, and I’ll believe that every step of the way.

Overall – It’s tough to give a straight-up goal of where I want to finish in this race. The field is so strong that there are scenarios where I could have a great performance and still finish outside the top-10 (fair odds have me in a 4 way tie for 12th). I also believe that on the right day I have the tools to challenge for the podium (some others believe that as well, here & here). I don’t set hard place & time targets because it makes you focus on the wrong thing – outcome, which you have little control over – vs. the right thing – process, which you can control. So I guess I just want to perform well, do what I know my body is capable of doing, and enjoy the process. I’m looking forward to having fun and enjoy the fact that I’m in this race, healthy and confident, with an opportunity to do well. And…I’m really looking forward to some beers afterward.

Thanks so much to all of you for following along on the journey, and see you on the other side!

*update – thanks Jordan Rapp for finding this grammatical error immediately. You’re a machine, much like how you race. I’m surprised you beat my buddy Stanford b-school buddy Tom to the punch, who also likes to point out all my grammatical errors immediately. I’ll keep it up because I know how happy it makes both of you.

32 comments to Vegas 70.3 World Championships Preview

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