Triathlete columnist and fan favorite Jesse Thomas was looking for redemption at this year’s championship, but he unfortunately didn’t get the chance he hoped for. After winning Rev3 Maine two weeks ago, Thomas wonders if he left his race on the east coast. “I’m not strong or experienced enough yet to bounce back just two weeks after an effort like that. I felt it all day,” Thomas says.
His race started out with a rough swim, where he struggled to make it into the second pack. On the bike, he led the group for the majority of the first 12 miles. “I was astonished to get a drafting penalty right after getting passed grabbing water at the first aid station,” he says. “It was a learning experience to say the least.” The rest of the race proved to be as tough psychologically as it was physically.
“After serving my penalty (four minutes) at 25 miles, I rode the last 31 miles solo way too hard, oscillating between intense anger, frustration and depression. I cramped badly just two miles into the run and had to stop for about four minutes. I wanted to quit, and honestly would have if it hadn’t have been for my family, sponsors, and ‘fans’ cheering ‘Go Aviator!’ and ‘I’ve got Jesse Bieber Fever!’”
“I’ve had lots of negative athletic experiences before and I always try to get something positive/valuable out of them both during and after the race. While there are some positive points (an improved swim, a five-minute faster bike including a penalty), it was really hard to do that yesterday. It was one of the most difficult mental (and physical) experiences of my life. I’m proud that I finished when every thought and ache in my body told me not to. And I want to sincerely thank all the people out there on the course and in social media land that didn’t care that I was having a crap house race and cheered me on like I was a superstar in the lead. It made all the difference.”