Easily the coolest thing about interviewing Jesse Thomas is seeing how genuinely excited he is just to be a pro triathlete. I profiled his bike last month at Vegas 70.3 Worlds, but didn't have a chance to catch up with the man himself until this week in Kona. Thomas turned a lot of heads in 2011 when he won Wildflower wearing a pair of $9 Aviator shades that have since become his trademark. He proved he's no fluke by defending the Wildflower title this year amidst a pro field that included the likes of Paul Matthews, Chris Legh, and Jordan Rapp.
My favorite part about this interview isn't the walkthrough of the bike itself. I've spent plenty of time reviewing the Shiv. And I saw Jesse's bike in Vegas, linked above. What I like hearing is what about a rig matters most to its rider. Jesse still exudes an obvious and palpable excitement at the privilege of being a professional triathlete, and the idea that he now represents one of the biggest names in triathlon bikes, Specialized. Thomas is particularly excited about the black color, which he swears feels faster. And on a more serious note, he is riding a relatively upright position on account of an old neck injury that prevents him from going low and looking like a Sebastian Kienle or a Chris Lieto on the bike.
Have a look at the interview above, and I think you'll get a sense of what I'm talking about. Thomas is a relaxed, down-to-earth guy who obviously loves what he's doing, and has a very bright future ahead of him. Thanks for the video, Jesse! We'll see you down the road.
Fireworks erupted at Oceanside when Andy Potts and Jesse Thomas came down to a sprint finish. On the women's side, Heather Jackson put the hurt down with her blistering run to take the win. Check out our supersized race-day gallery inside.