Leap Day Sports - The Triathlife of Jesse Thomas

Buffalo Springs Race Report

Mission Accomplished, Crazy Ass Fans.

The plan was to race and get some points. I did that. Yippee! Actually, I got third, which honestly is better than I thought I’d do.

I favorited myself.

I favorited myself.

Here’s a quick recap of what happened:

Swim – A dolphin diving good start, and then it was clear that I didn’t have the goods. I felt like I was swimming balls to the wall and dudes just pulled away. I spent the rest of the swim mostly crying on my own and eventually came out with Jordan and another dude, shortly after getting passed by the top two women who started 5 minutes behind us.

Bike (Strava / PowerTap File) – My hopes to ride a bit with Jordan were dashed half a mile in when I had to jump off my bike to fix my Di2 cable that came undone. Lesson re-learned – don’t create cool new attachments with zip-ties the night before your race. It didn’t matter anyway as Jordan clearly had some burly power in those skinny legs today with a smoking split on a hot, VERY windy course. I rode solo the whole time picking guys off here and there, feeling last weekend, keeping my head in it as best I could, and crying a little bit.

Yep, that's what happened.

Yep, that’s what happened.

Run (Strava File) – I exited T2 in 5th place, and caught 4th by about mile 3. Then the heat hit me like a train. 3rd place hovered 30-60 seconds in front of me for like 7 miles until I finally passed him on the last climb. Then I regretted doing so as the last 3 miles felt like forever. It’s amazing how much harder it was to run 1:20 today vs. 1:13 a week ago. The heat was BRUTAL.

Yep, Dirty Double’s are Hard

The last time I did a “dirty double” (back to back 70.3 races in successive weekends), I told myself, that I would never do that again. Now I remember why I said that.

Buffalo Springs was a super tough race, physically & mentally. Even though I talked last week about limiting the highs and lows – and therefore not getting too pumped about my win – I underestimated how hard it would be to come back and push myself again this weekend. Actually, I knew that it would be physically difficult, but I underestimated the mental toll.

I’ve always been a bit of an “emotional” athlete. I get super pumped when I feel good vibes, I get down and doubtful when I don’t. I cry on the trainer when sappy commercials come on TV. Today, for me, there wasn’t a lot to get excited about. It’s no secret I’m not a fan of hot and windy courses. I knew I was going to be tired, and I was. I was bummed to leave my family so soon after 12 days away. I went negative, a lot, during this race. There were 4-5 times per segment that I thought to myself, “This was a terrible idea. Why am I here? I feel like garbage. I’m tight, tired, unmotivated, and oh my God it’s so hot.”

Try riding on the trainer while watching this commercial and NOT crying. Impossible!

A “Professional” Triathlete

But Matt and I talked about making this next 6 weeks – trying to qualify for World’s – about “business.” And that’s what I told myself during those low times – “Just get the job done.” While triathlon is obviously a passion of mine, it’s also my career, and this trip felt the most like a typical business trip of any race I’ve ever done. I don’t think I was ever excited or motivated about where I was in the race or how it was unfolding, even after I finally got into 3rd. From about 4 minutes into the swim, I mostly just wanted the race to be over.

Like any profession, sometimes you aren’t excited or motivated to do what you need to do. But it’s your job, so you have to find a way to get it done. Maybe that’s why they call it being a professional. In that way, I guess this weekend was the most professional I’ve ever been in triathlon. And while it isn’t the most exciting, or exhilarating performance of my career, I’m proud of myself for pushing through and accomplishing what I needed to accomplish.

I bet there were times when Hulk Hogan didn't really feel like wrestling, but he did it anyway, because he was a professional wrestler.

I bet there were times when Hulk Hogan didn’t really feel like wrestling, but he did it anyway, because he was a professional wrestler.

Next Up – Vineman

Vineman 70.3 in two weeks. Nothing is set until it’s set, but I think if I have a decent race there, I should have enough points to qualify for World’s. We’ll see. First off is some serious recovery….


Mike and Marti Greer and the Buffalo Springs race crew. As much as I cried, this honestly was a great race, and a great event. The course was tough and hot, but beautiful. The people were fantastic. I’d like to do it again, just not back to back! Thanks for the hospitality, guys!

Tim Reed, Jordan Rapp & Mark Bowstead – Tim and Jordan were in their own league today. Nice work fellas on a tough course. Hat’s off to Mark as well for the battle on the run.

My sponsors – Pearl Izumi, Specialized, ROKA Sports, Red Bull, Picky Bars, Jaybird, Rolf Prima, Power Tap, Strava, Rebound. As always, thanks for the support guys! You are obviously what enables me to be a professional, I can’t thank you enough for that opportunity. One step closer to that big race in September.

Christine and Jess – Thanks for taking care of Dude for Lauren and I on our first trip away from him. And thanks for holding the phone for many FaceTime sessions.

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