March 6, 2024

‘Miami Course Is Just Where I Belong’ – Jason West Eyes T100 Lift Off

Jason West cannot wait for T100 Triathlon World Tour in Miami this Saturday, 9 March.

Miami, USA: Jason West cannot wait for the gun to go on the new T100 Triathlon World Tour this Saturday, 9 March.

In the form of his life heading into the opening Miami T100 at CLASH Endurance Miami, the American is on familiar ground having won at the Homestead-Miami Speedway last year.

“The best way to describe the course is it just grinds you down. You can’t hide. Your preparation needs to be good. The Miami course is just where I belong. I think I can have a good day here,” he tells the PTO’s Countdown to Miami preview show, which dropped this week.

Talking in a race preview for his sponsor Precision Hydration, he elaborated:

“The course is really hard. You wouldn’t think that because the terrain is just super flat, but it’s very, very hot. The track temperature reaches 140 fahrenheit (60 celsius) and you’re baking without an ounce of shade. It’s usually crazy windy too. The course goes through the infield a lot so you’re getting headwinds, tailwinds, and crosswinds. Come around a corner and it just nails you from the side and wants to throw you off the road. There’s no reason to ever come out of your aero bars for the full 80km, but keeping the stability can start to flare your back up halfway through the ride, which rolls over on to the run.”

The run is where West has excelled of late. It was the catalyst for his breakthrough year in 2023 and has propelled him to a T100 contract and career high #3 in the PTO World Rankings, thanks to blistering finishes in the PTO’s 100km races in Ibiza, Milwaukee and Singapore, where he finished 5th, 2nd and 3rd respectively.

“I run at a pace I think I can hold in these conditions without getting to the finish feeling like I’ve left anything out there,” he says. “That can be difficult, especially when you have a world championship-strength field and everybody’s throwing everything out there. Can I still take all that in and not get ahead of myself? I have to eliminate as much ego as I can and race super smart.”

For context, in finishing runner-up to Jan Frodeno in Milwaukee, West ran at an average of 3 minutes 7 seconds per km over the 18km run course, to put more than four-and-a-half minutes into the entire field. That’s approximately 15 seconds per kilometre or 25 seconds a mile. Almost unfathomable at this elite level of competition and nearly 20km per hour in pure speed terms; which is the speed limit in many town centres now.

Getting to know the American better, the Countdown to Miami episode shows West at home with his wife Jessica, herself a former elite triathlete. The pair got together in 2018 at the Major League Triathlon Series when Jason was looking for a female to fill a spot because someone was hurt.

“He reached out and I ended up doing a couple races and that’s when we hit it off,” Jessica explains. “We would cook dinner together every night and we would talk for hours and hours. And I remember saying to him, man, I’m so excited that we’re both extroverts, because I just am always talking. And he’s like, I am not an extrovert.”

When the Covid pandemic all but shut down professional racing in 2020, the Penn State graduate had time to reassess his life choices, but first he needed to make some money anyway he could. Personal training, thanks to his degree in kinesiology, plugged some of the shortfall, but supplementary income was hard to come by.

“Trying to find a job was impossible. So I was like, you know, just doing stupid stuff,” West explains. That extended to property clearance for a friend who stumped up $30 an hour. “I cleaned out this house that was being sold by borderline hoarders. Six hours in a crawl space shovelling mouse poop. Sometimes I guess that’s what it takes. But I did end up with a kitchen aid mixer. It’s still in my kitchen, so that was a good perk.”

West’s experience helped him look outside the tunnel vision of professional sport, and rodent droppings excepted, he liked what he saw. It showed there was life beyond triathlon, and helped him understand that if he was to continue to swim, bike and run as the world opened up, it must be with a renewed sense of gratitude. “Helping people taught me that I could be happy doing something else,” he says. “So, if I was going to continue to be an athlete, do it because I loved it.”

It also shows the fine margins between success and choosing another path. How close did West come to calling it a day? “Very close. My career was always hard; a struggle to get by. Around 2018, I was at the point where I could quit my jobs and just train. I was like: ‘Okay, I’ll never be back to that spot again.’ Then Covid threw me back into it. At times it felt like a chore to train. I had to get back to a place where I was finding fulfilment.”

Back to a breakfast table at Chez West earlier this year and Jessica is chiding him for drinking milk straight from the bottle – and then says:

“I hope you win Miami so that I can get more Wonder juice. After his win in Milwaukee, the first thing he said to me was, what place did I get? The second thing he said to me was, you can get Wonder juice whenever you want. We have this ongoing joke… There’s this place downtown called Wonder and juices are $15 and it’s totally ridiculous. But every once in a while, I like to go and get juice. And it’s just one of those things that’s so unnecessary. But when he got second in Milwaukee, he’s like, you can get juice whenever you want. I hope he wins so I can go to Wonder.”

“My race in Milwaukee really changed who I am as an athlete or what I’m capable of doing,” Jason explains.

West grew up in a town called Quakertown, Pennsylvania, with three older brothers and whilst he played lots of different sports, showed early promise as a wrestler. “He’s always just been very determined. Trying to keep up with his three older brothers I think,” his mother reflects in the Countdown show.

“I got introduced to wrestling really early. When I was a little kid, my dad would be wrestling with us on the living room floor. It was just a fun thing we were doing. I was five years old and he said, you want to go wrestle? I said, yes, let’s go for it. And I wrestled, I think, 45lbs the first two years because I was so small.”

“Wrestling and triathlon have a lot of similar values. It takes a lot of discipline, a lot of commitment and a lot of hard work. I was also a smaller kid growing up when I could pick somebody up and throw them on the ground. It showed maybe you don’t mess with the small kid. In order to do triathlon at this level, you have to have a certain level of the desire to push through really difficult things. Anything that’s worth doing is not going to be easy. I am happiest when I’m challenging myself, how far I can push myself, be uncomfortable. You want it to be hard.”

As triathlon embarks on arguably the most exciting year in its history, the 30-year old’s journey has led him to this point and he feels ready.

“I show up more ready to compete at a high level when I can consistently get training blocks in,” he says. “In the past, I wasn’t in position to do that, I had to race to pay the bills. Now there’s more stability and I feel like I’ve earned the right to train more and race less, and hopefully be at my best more often.”

“It is going to be interesting because you can’t necessarily show up 100 per cent every month,” he adds. “It doesn’t work that way. With the T100 series going into late November, you have to slow play it a bit, but a lot of people will be in Miami because it makes sense to try to do well in the first part of the year, particularly if you are going long later.”

The full Miami T100 start lists for the men’s and women’s races can be found here. On Saturday 9 March, the broadcast will begin at 1300 EST. The men will race the 100km course (2km swim; 80km bike; 18km run) at the Homestead-Miami Speedway first, starting at 1315 EST and then the women from 1650 EST. The course details can be found here. It includes 2.25 laps of the lake, 22 bike laps of a 3.54km circuit and then 7 run laps to finish.

Fans can watch exclusively live from 1900 CET in Europe on Eurosport, via PTO+ for the rest of the world on Max in the US, and on TriathlonLIVE.tv in certain territories. Both races will be shown live around the world courtesy of the PTO’s partnership with Warner Bros. Discovery as well as a range of other international, regional and local broadcasters such as Outside Watch, CCTV in China and ESPN in LATAM.

-ends-

Notes To Editors

For media credentials at the Miami T100 powered by CLASH Endurance, please visit: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdznZp6rORUxDgBs33BNYrJxvBQC7Jzzlpu_Q7q6HcDq3RbOA/viewform

For Further Information

Anthony Scammell E: [email protected]

About the Professional Triathletes Organisation

The PTO is a sports body that is co-owned by its professional athletes, seeking to elevate and grow the sport of triathlon and take it to the next level. The T100 Triathlon World Tour is the new name for the PTO Tour and has been designated by World Triathlon as the ‘official World Championship for long distance triathlon’. It will be a season-long schedule of eight T100 races during 2024 that will be competed over 100km (2km swim, 80km bike and 18km run) and will feature the world’s best triathletes going head-to-head in Miami (9 March), Singapore (13-14 April), San Francisco (8-9 June), London (27-28 July), Ibiza (28-29 September) , Lake Las Vegas (19-20 October), Dubai (16-17 November) and at the Grand Final (29-30 November). There will be racing opportunities for amateurs at all the events, including the new 100km distance at six stages, including: Singapore, London, Ibiza, Lake Las Vegas, Dubai and at the Grand Final.

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