Leap Day Sports - The Triathlife of Jesse Thomas


I started in endurance athletics as an Oregon State Track and Cross Country Champion, eventually competing in much nicer weather for Stanford University’s powerhouse Track & Field and Cross Country Teams. At Stanford, I was an NCAA All-American and School Record Holder in the 3000m Steeplechase while attaining both Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Mechanical Engineering. M.E. in the House!

Upon graduating in 2003, I left competitive athletics to make millions starting a high-tech consumer products company, Ardica Technologies. After four years of crazy startup life (and no millions), the itch to compete brought me to triathlon, where I showed some promise in a one-year stint in 2007, including a USAT AG National Championship and a 6th place finish at the ITU AG World Championships, winning bronze in the 25-29 category.

I then accepted a Graduate Teaching Fellowship to pursue an MBA at the top-ranked Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the University of Oregon. Slightly underestimating the time involved in attaining an MBA, I expected to continue training and competing in triathlon, but ended up taking a two-year break to learn business and drink beer like a good MBA.


Deciding not to chase the big bucks of corporate management, I turned Pro in 2011 to chase the little bucks of triathlon. In May that year, I shocked the triathlon world (and myself a bit), by winning the prestigious Wildflower Triathlon. I went on to have a solid rookie year including a number of other top 5 finishes.
My 2011 season is off to a solid start, including a close 3rd place finish at Oceanside 70.3. This is the first year I’ve got some incredible sponsors and support, so I’m super excited to see where it leads, and enjoy the ride along the way. I absolutely love chronicling my ups and downs, so feel free to read whatever you like and leave me feedback via the comments or Twitter.

I’m also the CEO and Co-Founder (with my wife) of an amazing gluten and dairy free energy bar company called Picky Bars. The business keeps me busy, motivated, and something fresh on my plate every day. I also do a bit of independent consultanting, specializing in marketing and product development, for small businesses and startups. I likes eating and watching movies, particularly at the same time. I live in Eugene, Oregon, and am married to a much better athlete than himself, professional distance runner Lauren Fleshman.


22 comments to Bio

  • Daniel

    Proud to be part of your bio. Wow.

  • Hey Jesse:  D. Floyd, your sofa tenant and a fellow Warsaw '99er said the wet stuff was your competitive impediment.  If my memory serves me, I think we crossed paths at the NYC luncheon a few years back.  Would love to chat more/potentially help you with the lagoon portion of your triathlon.  Look me up via the website up above when you have a spare.
    Best, Pete Sczupak

  • Mary Cate

    Jesse! Congrats on a solid start to the year and on the magazine cover. Isn’t it 2012 though? Or is that a terminator thing? So much fun to follow you, keep up the solid finishes and hilarious write-ups!

  • very nice blog and beautifull career. Wish you the best and like the “old school style” with your aviator glasses.

    Best regards


  • John Stolz

    Hey Jesse,
    While you were racing up a storm at Mt. View I was coaching at Bend HS. I always remember your upbeat personality and followed your career through Stanford. Reconnected with you mom and Jeff recently and she gave me your blogsite. Great seeing your success. I wish you the best. And, certainly wish Lauren the best in London.
    Take care,

    • Jesse Thomas

      Thanks for the kind comment, and checking out the blog John! Hopefully will see you sometime soon back in Bend, love heading over there and may be moving there in the next year or so.

  • Love this story. I would be interested in distributing those bars in Europe 🙂
    best Rogier

  • Hello, Jesse!
    My name is Eric Bieber. I’m the content manager of Clapway.TV (the Video Encyclopedia Of Adventures), a New York based online video platform where we compile and promote creative, original videos and content from around the globe.
    We feel that the incredible adventures and experiences you have taken part in should be shared with the world, and we want to help.
    We would like to interview you whether it is through email, phone, skype, or in person to learn more about your lifestyle.
    Your interview would be posted on our website. I am very interested in featuring and promoting it on our platform, and hope we can work together soon.

    Thank You!
    Eric Bieber

  • Daniel

    I would like to know more about your transition from University to the “real world” of job applications and searches and how that process affected your training and thoughts on competing in sport. I am a recent engineering graduate and elite triathlete who has accepted an engineering position at a local firm and was wondering how you balanced and succeeded in both the oppurtunities of career and sport. Thank you for your time and any advice is greatly appreciated!

  • Daniel

    Hi Jesse,

    Congrats on your 3rd place at lanza! I have a question; which size of the Roka phantoms glasses are u wearing yourself? Regular or large?

    Thx for answering, Daniel

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