Leap Day Sports - The Triathlife of Jesse Thomas

2015 Oceanside 70.3 Race Report

Yoooooooooooooooooo Crazy Ass Fans!

So I raced Oceanside 70.3 yesterday. Here’s what happened:

  • Swam like a donkey.
  • Rode like a horse.
  • Ran like a really tired human being.

Overall, I’m very happy with a 5th place finish in a stacked field. It was a great start to the year and a real confidence builder after the ups and downs of the last couple of months.

Here’s how it played out:

Swim – Like a donkey:

In the past, I’ve gone out way too hard and blown up 3 minutes into the swim. So my strategy was to focus on staying relaxed, even telling myself “relax, relax, relax” as the swim started. My strategy backfired.

I saw guys swim away, but this is normal, and I figured it was the front pack, thinking the guys I was with were my normal 2nd pack. But after the first turn I must have been the only guy who could see the buoy (with my fancy pink ROKA SPCTRM goggles) and I somehow worked my way into the lead. I swam pretty comfortably the rest of the way in, wondering why no one passed me. When I exited, I was alone, which means I pulled away from whoever I was swimming with, which means I wasn’t swimming with the 2nd pack. As I exited transition, I heard I was in 16th place, 3.5 minutes back. In 2013, I was 1.5 minutes back. I cried on the inside.

Crying on the inside as I start the bike. Awesome shot from California Triathlon.

Crying on the inside as I start the bike. Awesome shot from California Triathlon.

Bike – Like a horse. PowerTap / Strava File

I committed to riding super hard for 30 minutes to see what would happen. I randomly chose to ride at 350 watts because it sounded like a nice round number (my normal average is about 320 for a half). I knew the pace would be unsustainable, but figured I had little to lose at this point being so far back. As I picked people off that 30 minutes turned into 45, then 60, then 70, eventually losing count of my place. Then much to my surprise (and anguish), I saw the leaders. I was smoked, but it was too big a carrot hanging in front of me to let them pull away. So for the next 15 minutes, I slowly chased a giant carrot. I may have been hallucinating at the point, I’m not sure.

I felt his pain.

I eventually caught the leaders with a near all-out effort up the last major climb. I averaged just under 360 watts for the first 85 minutes, making up all 3.5 minutes in that time. Stoked with the effort but admittedly cooked, I sat on the back of the group of 4 for the last 30 minutes and tried to relax, recover, and eat my carrot knowing that I had a super tough run ahead of me vs a few of the best runners in the sport.

Making a move! (photo from Triathlete Magazine / John David Becker)

Making a move! (photo from Triathlete Magazine / John David Becker)

Run – Like a very tired human being. Strava File

I left transition just behind Jan, Lionel, Brent, and Andy. I worried that the work on the bike would take it’s toll on my legs, but I gave it a solid go for the first 2 miles, running about 5:17 and 5:25. As the cramps from the hard ride started nibbling at my hamstrings, it became pretty clear that I wasn’t going to have 11 more of those miles in me, so I switched to Bieber Survival Mode and settled into what felt like a sustainable pace.

Awesome shot from Nils Nilsen / Ironman of the run. Something weird is going down with my knee though.

Awesome shot from Nils Nilsen / Ironman of the run. Something weird is going down with my left knee though.

I flirted with the idea of trying to catch Brent (about 10-15 seconds in front of me) for the next 8 miles, but he wasn’t into me, and made a move at mile 10 and pulled away. It’s also entirely possible that Brent’s “move” was actually just him running the same pace as I made a negative move and started running 6:15’s at what felt like the same effort. The last few miles was all about getting to the end without breaking myself and enjoying a random and awesome partial run to the finish line by about 8 members of a tri team near the last aid station. Thanks guys, favorite moment of the race by far!

*Update, it was the Fil Am Tri Club who ran with me near the end. Thanks guys!

Thanks Fil Am Tri Club!

Thanks Fil Am Tri Club!


Takeaways – Awesome and fast bike, good platform for other stuff.

As I said, overall, I’m very happy with this performance. I had absolutely no idea where my fitness was after a pretty lackluster January and February, and dealing with a number of issues on the bike and in my body.

I certainly didn’t swim to my capability – was about 90 seconds behind my “normal” 2nd pack. But man, I rode really well, almost 6 minutes faster than my next fastest time on this course, which is absolutely insane. It gives me confidence to do more on the bike, and confidence in general in my new bike, which clearly proved it’s as fast as it’s claimed to be. I suffered a lot on the run, which was somewhat disappointing, but expected given the breakthrough effort on the bike, and I’m confident I can eventually get the run there.

While it wasn’t my best day ever, there’s a lot of positive stuff to take away from this one and some great stuff to build on. I’m excited to get home, hang out with the bean and wif, recover and get ready for Wildflower in 5 weeks! Thanks everyone for following along!

Thanks For the Support!

Justin, Steve, Molly, Jason, and all the guys at Accenture. Was super fun hanging out with you and the crew this weekend as usual. I really appreciate the support of me and Picky Bars!

Got to chat with some up and coming triathletes at the Accenture booth. Thanks to everyone who stopped by! photo from Sydney Lewis

Got to chat with some up and coming triathletes at the Accenture booth. Thanks to everyone who stopped by! photo from Sydney Lewis.

Geoff, Don, Kody, and the team at Pearl Izumi. Don not only cranked on my suit to have it ready, he dealt with hours of UPS phone calls to make sure it got here the day before the race after a crazy mess up on delivery. Thanks guys, LOVE the new kit!

Another shot of the new kit. Thanks Pearl!

Another shot of the new kit. Thanks Pearl!

TJ, Ethan, Chris, Brad, and the guys at Dimond. DUDES THIS BIKE IS FAST. I am so happy with how this race turned out on the bike. A big confidence booster in my ability and the raw speed of the setup. Felt so awesome to be whipping by dudes out there. Thanks for the support.

Rob, Kurt, Ryan and team at ROKA Sports. So even though I didn’t do the wetsuit justice, I did LOVE the new SPCTRM goggles. I chose pink, by the way, and everything was super clear and awesome. Thanks for the support guys!

The pink ones worked awesome for this race.

The pink ones worked awesome for this race.

Ashley and crew at Red Bull. Was awesome to have Red Bull out on the run course, kept me moving while I was crashing on that tough run. Thanks so much for the support, guys!

Patrick, Matt, Anna, Angela, Sarah, Steve, Mike, Derik, Mel at Picky Bars. Thanks for not burning down the office while I’m away. At least, I’m assuming it hasn’t burned down. See you tomorrow at staff meeting, yay!

Rene, Jackson, Craig and team at Jaybird. Thanks for the continued support guys, stoked to see you at Wildflower!

Maurice and Paul at Refuel by Digipower. Thanks for the support guys, stoked to kick off this partnership with a good start!

Brian, Brooke, Joel, Larry and team at Rolf Prima – Thanks for the new wheels guys, worked great as usual! Really appreciate you getting them out quick and ready for this race. Loved the new clinchers!

Matt and team at Powertap – Pretty stoked with some big power breakthroughs this weekend! Thanks a ton for providing the tools necessary to achieve that.

John at Maximum Mobility – Thanks for seeing me last minute on the way out, man. Golden hands as usual. Appreciate all the help.

Jay, Ellie, Jen at Rebound – Thanks so much for all the help keeping me healthy and dealing with my MANY issues. Appreciate the support, guys!

Wif, Bean, Mom, Dad, Jeff, Janna, Joel, Liz, Nikki, Waylon, Darren, Courtney, James, Elia, Isla, Grey. Thanks family, you guys are the best.


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