Leap Day Sports - The Triathlife of Jesse Thomas

Triathlete Magazine Cover!!!

This is Terminator T1000. While he wears aviators, he also wears a motorcycle helmet. That's how you can tell he's not me.

If you’re a subscriber to Triathlete Magazine, please don’t be fooled by the new May cover photo. While at first glance it looks like Terminator T1000 is making his professional triathlon debut, it’s actually just a picture of me in my Aviators.

That’s right, I’m on the cover of Triathlete Magazine! Can someone please give me a Shakalaka to go with my Boom!?!?

It’s humbling to say the least, (and also a little embarrassing to be honest) but I’m super thankful and excited for the opportunity. I want to first and foremost thank all the people – my wife, my family, my sponsors, my coach, the Triathlete Magazine staff, and of course my loony, scream/crying, pitchfork wielding, synchronized chanting, crazy ass twitter/facebook/newsletter fans – that support me. My jumbled words can not adequately express how valuable your support has been. THANK YOU!!!!

This one's me, no motorcycle helmet.

How it Happened – A Cosmic Confluence of Events:

For the past few months I’ve written a column for Triathlete Magazine called The Triathlife. It has been an absolute blast. My editor, Jene Shaw, does a fantastic job taking my rubbish – usually post deadline – and putting it into a readable format. Throughout the process, I’ve gotten to know her and a few others in the Triathlete staff.

In January, I got a call from Julia Polloreno, the Editor in Chief, who said that 1) they were doing a May issue special on Wildflower’s 30th Anniversary, that 2) they wanted a running cover, and that 3) since I was the Wildflower returning champ and 4) a runner and 5) Jene said I wasn’t a complete a-hole…they wanted to take some pics of me. IF it went well (big if) they would use one of them for a cover. So we set a date for the shoot and waited to see what happened.

Julia's email confirming the shoot, and confirming I bring my Aviators.

Special Shout Out Sub-Section: I honestly don’t know how much this did or didn’t plant a seed in their head, but I have to give a shout out to my buddy Neil who replied to a tweet from Julia and recommended me. Thanks Neil, I owe you some Picky Bars dude!

One of my crazy ass fans making it happen, booyah!

The Shoot – Dance Monkey Dance:

Nils (left) is not only a great photographer, he also looks EXACTLY like my little brother Darren (right). Way to go Nils!

As much as Lauren says I like to be the center of attention, having someone up in my grill taking pictures for 8 hours did not come naturally. Triathlete Magazine’s Photo Editor, Nils Nilsen, was a true pro though, and honestly made me feel as comfortable as I possibly could have been.

We started in the studio. After a few hours of makeup and hair (just kidding, but my hair needed constant attention, such a primadonna) Nils took about 20,000 pictures of me doing all kinds of random stuff. He asked me to try different looks, poses, turns, jumps, barks, whatever came to me. I, of course, had absolutely nothing. Like Zoolander, I also have one look, but it’s less Blue Steel and more Confused Pumpkin. Of the 20,000 he took over a few hours, they found a couple that were decent. Then we all grabbed lunch and moved on to the outside portion.

After a lot of awkward shots, Nils said, "Ok, let's try this. Put your glasses down, and look over the top of them." Then he took this picture. Then he said, "Ok, let's not do that anymore."

We went to this incredible lake outside of the city. Among the trails, hills, and water, I felt much more comfortable. All I had to do now was run, which I’ve done for a few years, and can do without always making weirdo-face. The only problem was it was literally 48 hours after my Panama half ironman, and OH MY GOD I was sore. Luckily, Nils only made me do like 3462 steep hill repeats. I honestly was about to kick a pine cone right into his lens after his 75th consecutive “one more.” At just after sunset, we packed up and cruised back.

It was impossible NOT to think of this clip the entire day.

The Results:

Needless to say, Nils nailed it, and everything worked out in the end. The staff was happy with the photos, and within a week or so, I got the nod that I would in fact be on the cover. Then a couple of weeks later, they decided that they liked the Aviator shot enough, that they would do a split cover. The running shot – literally one of the last shots of the day – would be on the news stands, and the Aviator shot would go out to all the subscribers. Freaking awesome!

The running cover that will be on news stands.

There is also a profile of me inside the magazine, and as of writing this, I honestly haven’t seen it yet! The girl who wrote it, Erin Beresini, was super cool to talk to, and graciously let me bore her to death with all my stories. She’s an incredible writer, so I’m sure it’s great, and I hope you guys like it! I also give some tips in there in my monthly column for anyone racing Wildflower at the beginning of May, so let me know what you think.

Thanks again to my wife, family, sponsors, coach, and absolutely ludicrous fans. I honestly can not thank you enough. I’m incredibly honored and humbled by your support throughout the years. It makes crazy things like this possible. Thank you so much!

Outtakes: A Select Few of the Terrible Poses for Your Viewing Pleasure

Nils kept telling me to turn my head more. Then I told him my neck was surgically fixed and that I couldn't turn it, kind of like a robot. Then I started doing the Robot. This is a fairly normal sequence of events for me.


I honestly can't remember if this was a joke, or I was actually trying to do something for real. Either way, it went horribly wrong.

Debate RAGED in my head about whether to include this one or not. I mean the douchey-ness is palpable, you can probably smell it through your computer screen. I'm so sorry.


There's the real Jesse.


49 comments to Triathlete Magazine Cover!!!

Leave a Reply to malb Cancel reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>