Road to Cat 2

In March I wrote about my quick journey to upgrading to Cat 3 (check out this post and this one if you want to follow the story from the “beginning”). A few months on and I am now a Cat 2!

In the Cat 3 bunch during Stage 2 of the San Dimas Stage Race

My first race as a Cat 3 was a big one — the San Dimas Stage Race. This race suits me well, with an uphill TT on Stage 1, a lumpy road race on Stage 2, and a crit on Stage 3. The goal was to get the lead on the uphill TT and hold onto it, which is exactly what happened! I won the TT up Glendora Mountain Road by 13 seconds over 2nd and 27 over 3rd (Strava). Stage 2 was rather hectic in the yellow jersey, but thanks to some help from my Team Simple Green teammates Jason Francia and Bradley Wiggs, I was able to finish in the front of the group and hold onto yellow (Strava).

Stage 3 Crit at the San Dimas Stage Race (Photo by: Troy Templin)

Stage 3’s crit was pretty aggressive, and I looked like I had it all but locked up until there was a crash in the very last turn. Of course the guy that was in 2nd place in GC (Edgar Stepanyan – a former Jr. World Champion on the track, apparently) was in front of the crash and won the stage, earning extra time bonuses. I finished the race without crashing, but there was a chance I was going to lose the overall win because I got stuck behind the crash (Strava). There were some very anxious moments before I found out that the refs “neutralized” the finish, which meant I would get to keep the yellow jersey and take the overall!

Next up for me was the Dan Point Grand Prix – another crit. This was the first time I tried racing two races in one day. I first competed in the 30+ Cat 3/4 field, which I won thanks to a 30+ minute solo breakaway (Strava)! I was happy to get that win, stay out of trouble (there was a terrible crash in the bunch sprint for 2nd place in that race) and win a bunch of free beer! The next race I did was the Cat 2/3, which was about an hour later, and after that long solo break in the first race, my legs were pretty toast (Strava). Still, I’m happy I did that one because it was my first time experiencing the speed of a Cat 2 field.

With these two wins, I now had 20 of the 30 points required for the Cat 2 upgrade. I knew the Mt. Hamilton Stage Race would be an excellent opportunity to get the remaining points.

This stage race was actually four stages over three days, with a hilly circuit race on stage 1, an epic road race that starts with a climb up Mt. Hamilton on stage 2, an uphill TT on stage 3, and then finishing up with a crit. I rode real strong that weekend, with victories in the circuit race (Strava), road race (Strava – 45 mile solo break away!) and the TT (Strava). In the crit I rode defensively to secure the overall victory (Strava).

Stage 1 victory in Mt. Hamilton Stage Race’s Livermore Circuit Race.
Photo by: Katie Miu

I now sat at 35 of the required 30 points for the Cat 2 upgrade. I thought a bit about if I wanted to keep racing more Cat 3’s for “experience” and potentially more race victories, but I came to the conclusion that moving up to Cat 2 racing was what got me excited to get out and train on my bike.

What’s next?

In the immediate future (like, tomorrow) I will be racing in my very first P/1/2 field at the 805 Grand Prix, which consists of a circuit race on Saturday and crit on Sunday. I think I’m much better suited to a hard road race, but this will be a great opportunity to see how my skill level compares to the “professionals.” I’m not sure what racing will look like after that. I have my eye on Phil Gaimon’s Hill Climb Worlds up Gibraltar at the end of October, but any serious racing as a Cat 2 may have to wait until 2019.


Sadly, this is my first post here of 2016. For those of you that know me personally or follow my athletic pursuits via other means (Strava, Twitter @jasonpedersen, Instagram @jpbjorn, Facebook) will know that while I still like to compete and exercise really hard,??there’s a bit more going on in my life these days. Since my last post, I started working full-time as an engineer. Since making that??big change, the free hours and minutes in my??days for things like blogging seem to have all ??but vanished. Of course we all know??if something is important to you, you make time for it. And while I love having this blog as an archive of my athletic life over the past handful of years, in reality it slots in fairly low on my list of priorities. Regardless, I wanted to put??something??up just so my “archive” doesn’t have a huge hole in it for 2016. So here’s a quick recap of my last year of racing.

I competed in the inaugural Major League Triathlon race that was held in Temple, TX in April. My team won! Which was exciting, but unfortunately I was not able to join them in the rest of the races for the season due to a knee injury.

Shortly after the relay, I did my first Wildflower. I always wanted to do that race and I am so glad I finally made it happen this year as 2016 may be the last year ever. I had a great swim and found myself leading the race with two guys I look up to in triathlon: Jesse Thomas and Terenzo Bozzone. They dropped me in the final miles of the bike and my full-time-job-hobby-pro fitness left me going backwards on the run, fading back to 7th place.

Full speed ahead at #WildflowerTri.

A photo posted by Jason Pedersen (@jpbjorn) on

After Wildflower, I developed some tendonosis in my right knee that sidelined me for several months. I finally pulled myself together, and got fit enough to do one more race of the season. In October I finished 8th at the Austin Ironman 70.3. ??While I placed better in my two previous half Ironman distance events, I felt this one was actually a better result and I am hopeful I can have a handful of successful,??fun races in 2017.

Happy New Year!



My 2014 Strava Story

‘Tis the season for yearly recaps! The popular trend these days seems to be to let social media create our “stories” from the year for us. I’m sure you have seen many of those “It’s been a great year! Thanks for being a part of it.” posts all over Facebook in the last month. Now Strava is joining the trend by creating 30 second videos with some of your training stats from the 2014 calendar year. Here’s mine!

2012 by the Numbers

If you know me personally, you know I like data. I have always been a??diligent??workout-logger (not to be confused with a workout-slogger). I earned the nickname “Point 1” my freshman year at NAU for telling coach my long run of the summer had been 13??point 1??miles. My teammates would later go on to call me “Gadget,” as I was an early adopter of running with Garmins.??I like looking at numbers, making graphs, and seeing how it all adds up to the big picture. With that in mind, I thought I’d throw out a lot of numbers from this past year, from training to racing to…

  • 1 — Professional podium.
  • 6??– Countries stamped into my passport.
  • 7??— Days completely off (generally due to travel).
  • 12??– I raced 12 times in 2012, 10 of which were multisport races, 1 bike race and 1 road race. (compare that with 14 in 2011, 5 of which were multisport and 9 were on the track)
  • 22Strava KOM’s. Note: I’m only counting ones that I earned, and still hold, in 2012. Also, run “CR’s” don’t count. They’re too easy.
  • 493??– Twitter followers at the end of the year.
  • 879??– Total entries in my training log for 2012. (a couple workouts got split into two or three entries, so I would estimate there were 850 unique workouts in there, making an average of 2.32 workouts a day)
  • 915??– total hours logged (2.5 hours/day). On my way to 10,000 hours!
  • 1,896??–??miles run. Well below my 3,655 mile total from a couple years ago.
  • 2,550??– Dollars won.??*before taxes 😉
  • 4,961 — I rode my bike 4,961 miles this year. (276 hours)
  • 6,319??— TrainingPeaks estimate of the most calories burned in one day (this is likely way off… I’m not aware of how TrainingPeaks calculates calories burned). This was on Pi day 🙂 and consisted of two 90 minute swims and a 3.5 hour ride.
  • 7,000 — Longest swim of the year was 7,000 yards. Main set was 15×200.
  • 1.37 million??– yards swum.

Looking forward to more of the same, but??faster, in 2013!

2011 In Review

I am back from my Caribbean cruise and my last winter break ever is now over. Last Wednesday I arrived back in Flagstaff, delighted by the lack of snow on the ground. I had my last first day of class this week. Weird. Looking forward to finishing this thing called “school.” The NAU Track team already had their first meet a week ago, so coaching has certainly begun in earnest.

Before I continue on with my adventures of 2012, I want to recap 2011 (as I did for 2009 and 2010)…

2011 began with my right hand in a brace. At the end of 2010 I had a bit of a sore knee, so I sought refuge in the pool and on the bike. While on a bike ride I took a wet corner too sharp and crashed. I got some pretty good scrapes on my leg and ended up with a broken bone in my wrist. When people saw the brace on my right hand and asked, “What happened?,” I would reply, “Cross training.”

My parents showed, once again, who the favorite child is and took me to Hawaii. We spent a couple of days in Honolulu, then flying over to Kauai to see my Aunt Pauline. I had a wonderful time with my parents, as I always do, relaxing on the beach and eating some really good meals.

My final track seasons snuck up quickly, making my indoor debut at the Husky Classic. After a tough winter, I really wanted to see where I was at and go for a big PR in the 3k. Instead, I matched the same time I had ran at that meet three years prior, 8:26. At that meet I got to watch Chris Solinsky destroy a fairly solid field in the mile. I wrote a piece in homage of him and all the other members of the FTC crew.

Sharing the lead in the "5k" with Ahmed Osman and Andrew Belus

I took my first trip of the year to Pocatello, ID for the indoor conference champs. There was quite a fiasco in the 5k with us running an extra lap (5200m PR!). The 3k was another lack-luster performance for me and we lost the meet as a team by half a point. That was tough to take, especially since I knew I was capable of so much more.

Back to the Flagstaff trials I went and started logging my signature 100-mile weeks. I ran three consecutive centuries heading into my first outdoor meet at the Stanford Invitational. Finally I set a new PR in the 5k, running 14:37. I fell off a bit the last mile of the race, so I was confident with a little rest I would be able to bring that time down even more.

My next major race was my 25-lap debut, the 10k at the Mt. Sac Invitational. That whole race, meet, trip was an experience and one I won’t soon forget. I set myself up for a great time, hitting halfway in 14:52 and feeling good. 10k on the track is a delicate thing, as I learned that night, and pushing just a little too hard can make the wheels come right off. I struggled the last few kilometers. I rallied best I could the last lap and closed in a 31 second 200, passing another runner in the closing meters to finish in 30:01. That final kick would prove to be worth so much more than a couple seconds.

2011 I was fortunate to meet some amazing people, and Bernard Lagat was one of them. The amount of talent he has is just ridiculous. I asked him about world championship and Olympic races, and heard about some of his training. Thanks to David McNeill and Mo for inviting me over to share a few meals with this legend.

I like to think of myself as a pretty resilient runner. In my long running career, I have only had a few injuries. My 2010 track campaign, however, was canned with a sever case of Plica Syndrome in the knee. And after a steeplechase workout in April of 2011, my track season took a turn for the worse. Within days of the workout I wasn’t running — forced to cross train just a couple weeks before the conference championships. I went into the meet a little banged up, but determined to give it everything I had.

When the meet was all said and done, I had just two points to my name (thanks to a 7th place finish in the 10k) and the biggest blister I have ever seen! In terms of racing, it was probably one of my worst track meets ever. But it was clear that I made an impression on a few of my teammates, and that made it all worth it.

My season looked to be all but finished. There was still a very outside chance that I could qualify for the NCAA Preliminary round in the 10k, but things were not looking good. I was ranked 65th, and only 48 athletes were accepted. In perhaps the greatest miracle of my 24 years, I was given the chance to compete for NAU one more time.

I had booked my ticket to Eugene, OR and enjoyed every minute of that trip. I was well aware of the gravity of the situation — competing in my last track meet ever, in my first track meet ever in Track Town USA. My parents and my Farfar came to watch, which means so much to me now. At the conclusion of those 25 laps at Hayward Field, I effectively became once a runner.

With the end of collegiate athletics, I began a new dream in triathlons. I was now a “bona fide” collegiate recruit, identified by USA Triathlon, and began working with Ian Murray of Triathlon Training Series. Before things got too serious, I had some fun racing in the Tahoe Relays and spending time with friends back in Simi doing stuff like this…

I began my triathlon season at the Breath of Life in Ventura, winning for the second consecutive year. My swimming had improved a lot from 2010, but in ever race I would do in 2011, it was clear that a lot of work still needed to be done in the pool. I headed north for my next race: The San Francisco Triathlon at Treasure Island.

Once again I have the best supporters. Thank you to Danielle Hunt, Mo and her parents, Peg and Chris, for coming out to cheer me on!

This would be my first chance to earn an elite license by finishing within the top 3. I started the race out with a good swim, the best bike I have ever had, and a solid run to take the victory! I had such a good time that week with Mo and her family (and Danielle Hunt as well!) and capping it off with that win was special.

In July I spent about a week at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. I finally got to meet Barb Lindquist, who I owe a lot of my success as a triathlete to, as well as a few other athletes in the same boat with me.

At the end of August I traveled to Burlington, Vermont for the Age Group National Championships. I wanted to make it 3-for-3 on the year and take the W, but came up short. There were certainly some very talented athletes there, ones that I will hopefully have a chance to race again in the future.

Once I returned to Flagstaff for my last year of grad school, I morphed into Coach PD. I couldn’t just go cold turkey from the Lumberjack cross country team and I am very thankful Coach Heins asked me to join the coaching staff for the year. I had a great time traveling with the team to the meets, really enjoying the lack of nerves I am used to from lining up at the start line with a few hundred of the fittest athletes in the NCAA.

At this point I was now officially a pro triathlete, which most people assume means that I make money from the sport. Not yet. I went to the Interbike convention in Las Vegas to sell myself. I learned that I have a lot to learn in this department.

I continued to focus most of my energy on improving my swim. I did a 200-800 swim test to measure my improvement, and came up with 2:10/9:41 (3″/29″ improvements). I still got destroyed in my first pro race at the Myrtle Beach ITU Pan American Cup about a week later. Honestly I was just happy to finish the race and to be able to take away a few valuable lessons for next year.

Tim Freriks, a friend and runner on the cross country team, said this in a local newspaper interview:

LJ: From an athlete???s standpoint, there have been a lot of teammates, mentors and coaches that have influenced you as a player. Out of all of them in the past or present, who has influenced you the most in your career, or as a person?

TF: There are two big ones. One of which was my high school coach. He really influenced the mentality that I have now, working hard and grinding through it. And also Jason Pedersen; he???s a graduate assistant coach for us now. His mentality and work ethic is like second to none. He was running 110 miles a week, he ate right, slept well, [and was a] straight-A student in mechanical engineering, so it was a template I wanted to follow. He did it right and it paid off, so I want to do the same thing.

That made my day.

In November I jumped into a little race down in Phoenix, the AMICA 19.7 sprint. I had taken a bit of time off from the bike, and that was clear in that race. I finished only 26″ out of winning $500, and learned that you can’t fake anything in the professional ranks.

Finally, before 2011 was over, I wrote about my barrier to success. I swam 40,000 yards in a week for the first time, and planned to focus on the swim throughout the winter.

On to 2012!

Happy New Year

Crazy to think 2011 is coming to an end. So much has happened this last year, for better (mostly) and for worse (specifically the passing of my Farfar). As I did in 2010 and 2009, I will be posting a recap of the year. I like going through the process of writing these posts as it makes me read a lot of the things I have written over the last year, helping me relive experiences and relearn lessons. But this recap will have to wait, at least another week.

I am writing this post from a Starbucks in New Orleans, LA. My girl friend Mo and I leave on a seven day cruise in the Caribbean in just a few hours. I’m pretty certain there will be limited internet access on the trip, so no tweets or blog posts until we return. I will make sure to take lots of pictures of our trip and share some of the highlights.

Finally, I want to wish all of you a Happy New Year! Enjoy the end of the holiday season. 🙂

Happy New Year from New Orleans!

2010 In Review

What a year 2010 was. Much of it didn’t go as planned for me, up to to the final days in December (more on that later), but it was still a great year. Being the blogger that I am, I like to chronicle and review most everything. These yearly review posts (see 2009’s review) are an easy starting point for me to find and remember events of my past. Hopefully you will find this interesting and informative, as well.

2010 started off with an injured knee that I thought some rest and rehab would fix up. I used this as an opportunity to work on my swimming, swimming more than 20,000m in a week for the first time, and did a 200-800 swim test in 2:39 and 12:13 for meters. I soon realized that normal rehab wasn’t going to make my knee any better, and decided I would have to get surgery.

While this was going on, I started the application process to graduate school. A few semesters earlier my adviser suggested that I pursue a masters degree instead of wasting my time taking five years to get an undergraduate degree. I took her advice, applied, and was accepted a couple months later.

I finally had surgery to remove Plica in my left knee in the beginning of March. The doctor was able to successfully remove the Plica (which was the biggest he had ever seen) and I was on with recovery. Within a couple weeks I was starting to jog again and back to running, swimming and biking with some consistency a month after surgery. Six weeks after my surgery I was back at it, almost in full force, logging over 14 hours in a week.

My Spring semester was incredibly busy. Honestly, I don’t know how I would have been able to finish my school work if I was traveling to competitions. So in that sense, I guess my injury was a good thing. Part of my requirements for graduation was a group project for my senior capstone. We worked with a cancer research lab on campus to develop an automated Petri dish filling machine — my contribution to curing cancer. The project was a success and my group actually won a prize at the UGRAD Symposium.

Around this time I was beginning to bike more regularly, and even made it up to Snowbowl. I had just received a new video camera from my cousins as a graduation gift so I made a short video of the ride.

My Farfar ("father's father" in Danish) and me after my graduation

In May I became a graduate of Northern Arizona University! I graduated with a BS in Mechanical Engineering and a Minor in Mathematics. I had a lot of my family up there to show their support for me. What a great time I have had at NAU and I am happy that I will be returning for a masters degree.

A bit later I was in Davis, California to see my sister-in-law become a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine! While there, my family sat down to watch my teammate David McNeill compete at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 5000. I vividly remember watching his inspiring race, yelling at the TV, and just being in awe of what he has accomplished. How fortunate I am to have trained, raced, and befriended someone like him.

Chris Baird, Jordan Bethke and I went 3-2-1 overall.

The Summer of 2010 was all about triathlons for me. I hit the training hard and raced three different races. My first was a very short sprint at Pt. Mugu called the Admirals Cup. I finished 2nd behind friend and “training partner” Chris Baird. Next up was the Breath of Life Olympic distance triathlon in Ventura. This time I took home the W, finishing ahead of Chris and Jordan Bethke, who competes for Cal’s triathlon team.

My final race, and I think my best of the summer, was at the Strawberry Fields Triathlon in Oxnard. I rode a great bike leg and ran very well. I actually thought I was leading the race, and even crossed the line thinking I had won. Unfortunately Andrew Haberkorn, who started in a wave behind me, ended up finishing 6 seconds faster! Such is the nature of amateur triathlons, a good lesson learned.

As the triathlon training winded down, I did a little review on my triathlon training for the summer, looking specifically at my swim (I swam a 2:13/10:10 200-800y test), bike and run training. I am a stats guy who likes to reflect. These posts showed that.

And speaking of reflecting, the Fall of 2010 provided lots of opportunities for that. I am happy that I realized that early on in the season, which inspired several of my blog posts. The first of these being my one piece of advice to runners: always keep a training log. In an attempt to make as many memories as I could from my final cross country season, I started a feature called “Getting to know The Lumberjacks” in which I interview my teammates, asking them 20 questions. I posted six total, including Tim Freriks, Andrew Belus, Sarah Raber, Matthew Coloe, Eric Lynch, and Lauren Hill.

Stanford Invitational

I finally ran my first race at the George Kyte Classic in September. A few weeks later we raced at the Stanford Invitational, setting a new 8k PR of 24:15 — it looked like my knee was going to make it through cross country season! Next up was Pre-Nationals. Before the race I talked a bit about my ambitious goal for the season: to be an All-American. Prenats would be my first opportunity to really see if it would be a possibility. In the end, I had a good race, and finished 38th, just 6 seconds behind where I wanted to be.

Any division 1 collegiate cross country runner knows that once Prenats comes and goes, it seems like the season is almost over. Flagstaff was suddenly bombarded with Fall and all the beautiful things that come along with it. The day after Prenats a few of my teammates and I headed up towards the mountain and enjoyed an easy run among the yellow aspens and green pines. I brought my camera with me and made a video that became very popular amongst the team, especially the song. Fun fact: the song in the video, Radical Face’s “Welcome Home,” was such a hit it was chosen to be the final song we listened to before we arrived at the course at nationals.

2010 Big Sky Champions

At Big Sky Championships I had a sub par race, but was happy to see teammates Tim Freriks and Eric Lynch step up and make sure NAU won its 4th straight title.

Shortly following the conference meet, Flotrack posted a “Workout Wednesday” starring the NAU Lumberjacks running repeat miles at Ft. Tuthill. The workout was 6xmile on 7:00 go’s, which is one of our hardest workouts we do. I actually remember being turned inside out for a couple days after that workout. I also have a nice little shout out from Coach Heins in the video.

Watch more Videos on Flotrack

Everything I had, one last time.

Regionals came and went without a hitch, and NAU was headed to the NCAA Championships once again. My final cross country race (at least for a team) was finally here. I realized the significance of the moment and I actually almost shed some tears while talking to my dad just before the race. In the end my goal of being an All-American proved to be just too much. I still improved on my 2009 result, finishing 87th. NAU finished 9th, its fourth top-10 finish in a row.

After the season was over, I had a lot of fun just being a dude. Two old friends from Simi Valley, Kelcie Wiemann and Michael Cybulski, visited me in Flagstaff and joined me in an adventure to Las Vegas. I spent the holidays with more friends and lots of family — just the way they should.

Just before the new year came, my right knee (NOT the one I had surgery on) started to bug me a bit so I started swimming and biking to give it some rest. Guess what happens next? Yep, I fell on a bike ride and now have a broken wrist. What terrific way to bring in the new year. So as I write this right now, I am still in a brace, which I will have to wear for another three weeks.

In the coming days I will bring all my loyal followers up to date with where I’m at right now, and where I want to be at the end of 2011.

2009 In Review

Another year, another decade gone (that is two complete decades for me, for those of you counting). 2009 was a great year for me. I had success in old and new passions and made wonderful memories.

Every December, my dad writes a Christmas letter about our family. He began doing this in 1981 and we have all the letters, 1981-2009, in a binder. This binder is placed on our coffee table around the holidays and it gives a chance for us to read about what was going on in our past lives. Family and friends that receive this letter often tell my dad that they look forward to it every year. While I do not have my own family to write about, yet, I will use this blog for my own reflection in the spirit of recording the past year’s events.

To be honest, the year started out rather unnoteworthy. Indoor track I set no new PRs and for the first time failed to score at a Big Sky track championship, placing 9th in the 5000 and something like 13th in the 3000. I then decided to red shirt the outdoor season, for various reasons. I came up short in the steeplechase as well with a 9:14.94, not being able to best my time set in 2008 of 9:09. In the 5000, I improved my time by the same margin Usain Bolt improved his world record in the 100m, 0.11 seconds.

Agassiz peak

After my short outdoor season, I enjoyed doing some other activities in addition to running. I began swimming, began biking and hiked most of Mt. Humphreys. I then turned my focus to triathlons and put in some really high volume days including a run/swim/bike day with 3 hours and 50 minutes of exercise.

I was my brother’s best man at his wedding on May 30th and spent a few days in Napa Valley wine country. At the end of June I competed in my first Olympic distance triathlon and the Breath of Life triathlon in Ventura. I placed 8th overall and 2nd in my age group and had a lot of fun doing it.

Gina, Andrew, Me, and the rest of the groomsmen

For the first time in a while I feel like I have a huge upside in a sport, something I haven’t felt since I was probably a frehsman in high school. No doubt there are more triathlons in my future.

For the 4th of July my parents, my girlfriend Tina and I met Gina and Andrew, the newlyweds, in Lake Tahoe. The fireworks show was spectacular. Shortly after arriving back home, the fun and games were over and I got an internship at ITT Aerospace Controls in Valencia. I got my first taste of working 9 hour days, 4-5 days/week. Somewhere in there I managed to get in some serious running volume, including my first ever 100-mile week in singles. The hard work I put in during July and August laid a solid foundation for me to build a great cross country season.

2009 Northern Arizona Cross Country, Fourth Place

And a great cross country season it was. I led my first cross country race since 2002, earned All-Conference honors at the Big Sky Championships, was the 3rd best 5th man in the country and joined my teammates on the podium — reaching my goal of placing top 100.

Each race I wrote a detailed race report (some are linked above), all of which I have reread countless times. I am very glad I decided to start this blog this year because I now have an archive of my race experiences. Every time I read about one of those races, I am taken back to that day and I can relive the race. As the years go by, I think this archive will become more and more valuable to me. You can read everything about my 2009 cross country season here.

For the second year in a row, I feel like I have raised the bar in my running and have experienced great success. I now have only one season of cross country and two seasons of indoor and outdoor track left. After finishing those seasons, I may never compete for a team, or even individually, at such a high level again. With this in mind, I plan to continue to enjoy my remaining eligibility and work hard to reach my full potential in running.

I hope you all enjoyed 2009 as much as I did. I plan to have a goal-setting post about 2010 within a few days. Until then, Have a Happy New Year!