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.

Dominguez Hills Criterium CBR 1

Photo by: Paul Cressey

Last Sunday I hopped into my second crit of the year, the Dominguez Hills CBR 1 (the first of seven events of the 2018 ???California Bike Racing??? series). Because I???m still a Cat 5 with aspirations of upgrading asap, I took part in the BRP (Beginner Racer Program) which consisted of a pre-race clinic, the Cat 5 race, and then a short race debriefing. The BRP effectively counts as an extra race, so I received two race ???points??? toward my upgrade.

The program was a basic introduction to crit racing. The focus was keeping your hands on the bars, following the wheel in front of you, taking the correct line through a corner, and how to correctly put your bib number on your jersey (seems trivial, but almost everyone does it incorrectly the first time). I personally didn???t get all that much out of the program, but I think it is a good concept and I can imagine it being helpful to people that are brand new to bike racing. Cycling can be an intimidating sport to get into for a variety of reasons, and it???s nice to see a governing body like USA Cycling with programs that are focused on getting more people involved safely. I wasn???t thrilled with the 6:15 am start time (especially on a cold morning!), but I think it was worth my while for the extra upgrade point.

Trying to break away from the field.
Photo by: Paul Cressey

This field was pretty big ??? nearly 70 riders. In hindsight, that should have been my first clue that I may want to tweak my tactics a bit. My game plan, however, was essentially the same as the previous week in Ontario: stick to the front, take the occasional hard pull to keep things fresh, and try to get away in the final five laps or so. I stuck to my game plan, but this time it was only good enough for 2nd place. When I made my move to get off the front just before three laps to go, someone immediately marked me and sat on my wheel. The field was able to keep me well within sight this time, so I was concerned that if I let up at all, including pulling off the front to share the lead, the group would quickly pull us back in. While my fitness is pretty good from my years of triathlon, this was just another lesson in the intricacies of bike racing, and one I won???t soon forget. In the time since the race, I???ve gone over what other moves I could have made, and where I went wrong. It???s fun to be this excited about analyzing a sport again. Results.

Photo by: Paul Cressey
Still happy to represent Team Simple Green on the podium!

The week after the race I put in a request for an upgrade to cat 4 early (I now have 7 ???points??? out of 10 required). I was given differing experiences from other athletes that were either allowed to upgrade early or denied. The worst that could happen is that my request would be denied and I would have to complete all 10 races. So I gave it a try???

DENIED! ???The 10 race (or clinic) requirement is firm.???

So this upcoming weekend I will be driving all over Los Angeles to finally get my last three points in. On Saturday I will be doing a ???mentored??? crit race (which counts as two races) way out in Redlands and on Sunday I will be racing at CBR #2 in Carson for my final race. This will allow me to be able to race Cat 4 for some of the upcoming road races that I think I can do really well at, like Cantua Creek, Pine Flat and the UCLA Road Race in Pearblossom.

Photo by: Paul Cressey

Thank you to Paul Cressey Photography for these shots at the CBR Crit #1 in Dominguez Hills. Here is his full photo album from the event. Paul tells me he will be out at the next CBR Crit in Carson on this Sunday.

Mid Season Update: Making up for lost blogs

I began writing this blog over five years ago to share my experiences training, competing and living as a student-athlete at Northern Arizona University. I had always been a deligent recorder of all aspects running in my personal running log, so I thought I might as well put this stuff on a blog to allow friends and family (mostly Mom, Dad and teammates looking for a shoutout, originally) to see what I was up to. After a couple years had passed, I realized that I had created this great resource for??myself??to remember what I had done in the past, mistakes I’d made, decisions that had worked out, and perhaps most importantly, things that had previously motivated me to be my best.

I had great expectations for myself for the 2014 season. With the exception of a couple bright spots (New Plymouth WC and Yokohama WTS),??results have been fairly disappointing this year. This, in addition to the time committed to training, travel, life, etc., has created an excuse for me not to continue documenting my experiences along the way. It’s August now, and looking at my blogging for the year, I see that I have left a few holes, which kinda upsets me.

There are some great views on the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner.
There are some great views on the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner.

I am now sitting on a train travelling south along the coast from Simi Valley back down to San Diego. I went on a short trip to Tucson (via plane) to help my girlfriend move out of her place in Tucson and over to Simi Valley (via truck/car). I have learned taking the train is quite relaxing, but can be??very slow — my departure from Simi was delayed over an hour, and then I sat at LA’s Union Station for about an hour and a half until continuing on. Anyway, all that to say that I had some time + Wifi on my hands, and thus: this blog!

My last good race update was from my first three ITU races of the season back in March. Those races were highlighted by my 18th place finish at the New Plymouth World Cup against some very good competition. Shortly after returning from that trip, I had a bit of a cycling accident, crashing into a fairly large commercial truck. I was lucky in that I??came away with just some bruised ribs and my bike only suffered a few scratches. My front wheel took the brunt of the impact and was totalled. Turns out carbon fiber makes for a pretty good one-time-use bumper, though not a very cost effective one. ENVE took care of me and sent me a new SES 3, and I was back ??on my bike in a couple of days. Swimming and running took a bit longer to come along, but after a few weeks, I put all that behind me.

IMG_2161In April I went to Barbados for a Sprint Pan American Cup race. I swam well enough to get into a group of some strong cyclists that were willing to work together, and we caught the lead pack about halfway through the race. I struggled on the run and finished up 8th. Disappointed that I missed a good opportunity to get on the podium, but happy to collect some ITU points. Results

In May I jetted off to China with training partner Joe Maloy for the Chengdu World Cup. This was my first time to China. I was happy to be travelling with Joe; it helps to have a bit of familiarity when in such a new place. I missed a very large pack on the swim and ended up time trialing the whole race on my own. My 57th place finish in Chengdu is probably one of my worst races of my career. Results??Facebook Photo Album (Chengdu & Yokohama)

Best swim of my life! (Photo by: Delly Carr/ITU Media)
Best swim of my life! (Photo by: Delly Carr/ITU Media)

I had a second chance the next weekend in racing my very first World Triathlon Series race in Yokohama, Japan. This race was wetsuit legal, and I took??complete advantage of that. I swam in the middle of the field the whole way, coming out ahead of some very accomplished athletes. I hopped on the Davison-Murray-Sissons train and we made our way up to the front of the race. This race was without a doubt the most??fun I have ever had racing triathlons! I was riding right next to guys that I’ve been watching on TV since I started the sport — Brownlee, Gomez, Brownlee, etc. It was a small affirmation that my career is moving in the direction. I held on with a decent run off the bike and came in just behind Joe in 20th. A top-20 result in my first WTS race had me??very excited for what was ahead. Results

My next race was the Pan American Championships held in Dallas. I finished 5th in this event last year when it was held in Vila Vehla, Brazil. I ended up in the second chase pack on the bike, and the gaps were just too big for me to mix it up in the front end of the race. I was 33rd. Results

We made it out to Buffalo Park in Flagstaff, Arizona a couple of times each week.
We made it out to Buffalo Park in Flagstaff, Arizona a couple of times each week.

Right after Dallas, The Triathlon Squad packed their bags and headed to one of my favorite places in the World, Flagstaff! We were there for about four weeks getting in an altitude training block. I saw a few friends that I went to school with and put in a lot of training hours.

From Flagstaff I went to Chicago for my second WTS race. We were looking forward to another wetsuit swim, as the water in Lake Michigan had been quite chilly. The weather leading up to the race was pretty warm, raising the lake temperature to just under the wetsuit cutoff. The ITU and medical staff decided to ignore the temperature cutoff, and went with a nonwetsuit swim. I was well off the back on the swim, but fought like Hell on the bike. I bridged up to several guys, rode with them for a couple laps, and then ultimately broke away to see if I could cut the gap a bit more. A lot of friends commended me for my effort on the bike, which was nice to hear, but it didn’t make up for the hole I had dug myself on the swim. I finished up with a 44th place finish. Results


My most recent race was a week ago in Jiayuguan, China. Yep, two trips to China in one year. Like Chengdu this was another World Cup, but this time at about 5,500 feet of elevation. The lake that we swam in can be quite chilly, as it is fed from the local mountains (with some peaks reaching an impressive 18,000 ft!), so my hopes were that we would have a wetsuit swim. Jiayuguan is right on the border of the Gobi desert, and the days before the race were very warm. Temperatures in the lake shot up to 23C by race morning, making it a nonwetsuit swim. I hate that swimming with a wetsuit gives me such an advantage, as I want to be an athlete that can perform in all conditions, but the reality is that, at this point, it makes a difference for me. I ended up with a very similar swim to the one I had in Chicago. Again, I rode well, this time actually pulling back some time to the front pack with a 4th best bike split. I picked off a few guys on the run, but still only finished 45th. Results

(Photo by: Darryl Carey / ITU Media)
(Photo by: Darryl Carey / ITU Media)

Up next for me is a Sprint Pan American Cup race in Kelowna. I raced there two years ago, and fell in love with the area. I’m very excited to head back, this time with good friends Heather and Trevor Wurtele (they live there part of the year) and Eric Lagerstrom (also plans on racing).

I will most likely be racing the Super Sprint event in Las Vegas on September 11th. This is not an ITU event, so no points up for grabs, but it is fun, fast racing with good prize money available.

I will finish up my season with a couple World Cups in October, most likely Cozumel, Mexico and Tongyeong, South Korea.

Thanks for everyone’s support and words of encouragement this season. The highs and lows of 2014 have been very polarizing, and the phone calls, emails, and little messages I have received from many of you help me keep a level head and remind me to enjoy the pursuit.

#JiggyWC Tomorrow

My second race of the year in China is tomorrow at the ITU Jiayuguan World Cup. The trip has been surprisingly smooth, and I am ready to go for tomorrow. I just had a sitdown with Coach Paulo (it’s nice having him along the trip this time, along with The Triathlon Squad teammates Joe Maloy, Eric Lagerstrom and Chilean Felipe Van De Wyngard) and we highlighted what it will take for me to be successful tomorrow. More on that after the race!

For now, I’d like to let you know how to follow the race and share a few photos/instagrams/tweets from my adventure so far. There should be live timing tomorrow at My race goes off at 9 am local time on Saturday, which will be 6 pm Pacific on Friday. The start list can be found here (I’m wearing #18 tomorrow) and results will be posted after the race here.

#TheTriathlonSquad singlehandedly created the #JiggyWC hashtag.

@worldtriathlon listened.

First look at the race venue. It’s a two lap swim, eight lap bike, four lap run. Of note: we are over 5,000 feet of elevation here. While this is my first time racing a triathlon at altitude, loyal RunPD followers know that I am no stranger to altitude as I spent six years running and going to school in Flagstaff, AZ at 7,000 feet.

As I’ve said, the trip has been quite smooth, much thanks to the great group we are travelling with from USA Triathlon, including Coach Greg Mueller and athletes Jarrod Shoemaker, Will Huffman and Jessica Broderick in addition to my squadmates/coach.

But that’s not say we’ve encountered some interesting items (or just bad translations) in the buffet and around.

"The dainty cyclone is coming." Right; sounds like no cause for alarm.
“The dainty cyclone is coming.” Right; sounds like no cause for alarm.
Some good words in there. But what does it all mean???
Some good words in there. But what does it all mean???

And finally, I did get to see the Great Wall of China a couple times while out riding. Jiayuguan is the furthest west point (“first pier”) of the Ming Dynasty portion of the Great Wall. I’ve had fun researching the area and the Great Wall in general on Wikipedia and Google Earth (which requires a VPN to get pass the Great “Firewall” of China).

P.S. Check out this article my local paper, The Ventura County Star, wrote on me a few days before I left for China!

Off to the races!

jason joe eric Tritonman
Like 2013, I will continue living, training and racing with Eric Lagerstrom and Joe Maloy in 2014.

Welcome to 2014

I believe this is where I???m supposed to tell about all the changes I have made over this off-season, and how that is going to translate into newfound success. While I have made a few changes in equipment (thanks to USA Triathlon and ENVE Composites??? more on that below), by and large, much is the same as last year. You may recall that last year I joined Paulo Sousa???s The Triathlon Squad, began working with them in November of 2012 and then moved to Poway to train full-time in January. Similarly, this season???s training began in November and I continue to live in Poway, training full-time with the same guys under the same coach. The reason for my success in 2014 won???t be due to changes, but consistency.

Winter training was good. We put in a lot of hard hours, enjoying most of them, surviving some, and staying engaged always. It???s always great for a few months to pass and realize you haven???t missed any training due to injury. Kudos to Paulo for training smart. 🙂 I???m excited to translate this fitness into results.



I actually had a bit of a false start to the race season already. On February 16, I ran a local road race, the Coronado 10k. Some pretty quick guys in Scott Bauhs and Ben Bruce came out and led the race up front. I was in a pack of a few guys most of the race and ended up finishing 5th in 31:32. It was a fun event and a good way to stir the dormant pre-race butterflies a bit. As Paulo put it, it was a ???good tempo run.??? Results??Strava

Last weekend I was down near Fiesta Island for the UCSD Tritonman Triathlon. This was a collegiate draft legal race that let some of us from The Squad jump in. It was a sprint distance race, and a great opportunity to have a test run before races start to count. I made a few mistakes, highlighting some things to focus on and fix this past week in training. I ended up 5th (6th if you count Greg Billington, but officially he was disqualified for not serving multiple penalties!). Thanks to the race organizers for giving us the opportunity to race locally. Results Photo album


Back in the day. I miss those shoes...
Back in the day. I miss those shoes…

This weekend I am in Clermont, Florida for a sprint distance ITU Pan American Cup. This race was my second ITU race of my career back in 2012, where I finished 17th. I remember my excitement after the race, knowing I???d earned my first ITU points. Goals are a bit higher this time around. Here is the start list. (I???m ranked 10th)


A few days after returning from Florida I will be heading off to Australia with training partner Joe Maloy. USAT will have a small camp where we will stay and train before racing the Mooloolaba ITU World Cup on March 15. There is a possibility for me to race in the New Plymouth ITU World Cup a week later, but as of now, I am not on the start list. There is a chance I will roll on to the start list, so I will be keeping an eye on that. This will my first time to Australia and I???m obviously looking forward to it very much.

New bike

Bike build
Bike build

Thanks to Litespeed???s support of USAT, I will be racing on a new Litespeed L3 this year. I was on my previous bike, a Blue RC6, for nearly three years and it was time to upgrade. This was the first time I have had to opportunity to build a bike up from just the frame myself. With two mechanical engineering degrees (I finally finished my Master???s of Engineering degree in December!), I thought that if I can???t figure this out, I might want to ask NAU for a refund! Thanks to a bit of help from training partner Eric Lagerstrom and Paulo, I finished the build in a couple of days. The bike rides and looks great, thanks in large part to ENVE. They sent me a fresh seat post, 40cm road bar and 100mm stem to go with the SES 3.4 Clinchers that I train on and SES 8.9 Tubulars that I race on.

Race Schedule

I have a??tentative race schedule posted. There are a lot of World Cups on there, and with Olympic points qualification beginning in May, these races will be more and more difficult to get into. It’s likely I won’t know whether I am racing until a couple of weeks before the event. The only way to really guarantee the races I’d like to do is to BE BETTER!

Buffalo, Nancy, San Diego, Cancun

Beginning tomorrow I will kick off a four week block of racing that will take me to the East Coast, France and Mexico. Training has been great since my race in Kelowna, including my second and third biggest weeks of the year. Running intensity was the highest it has been since I finished up at NAU over a year ago. Swimming continues to be a year-round focus and I have swam some encouraging sets in the last few weeks. But training means nothing if you can’t put it together on race day, and I plan to show the gains I have made in these next four races.

Saturday is the Buffalo ITU Pan American Cup, which also serves as USAT Elite Nationals for the second year in a row. If I beat my 17th placing from Clermont back in March, I can further increase my ranking on the ITU Points list. This will be no small task, as I’m going into the race ranked 18th. There are guys ahead of me that I have beat this year, and I know I can do it again if I execute well. This is probably the deepest field I have raced in yet, which I think will be a good thing for me as there should be more people to work with coming out of the swim. Start list

In anticipation of Duathlon Worlds, I have been hitting the track regularly. This picture was taken by my dad at a brick session at Moorpark College.

After Buffalo, I will be staying in Boston for a few days with fellow professional triathletes Chris Baird and Brianna Blanchard. They are both from Ventura County area, and I actually ran against Chris throughout high school and while he was at UPenn, so it will be nice to spend some time with them. Chris and I then fly to Luxembourg and bus over to Nancy, France for Duathlon World Championships held on September 22. I applied to represent team USA at this event several months ago, thinking it would be a great opportunity to get international racing experience. However, I am committed to my long-term development as a triathlete, and for me, at this point, that means a lot of swimming. There is no swim portion of a duathlon (run-bike-run), so I can’t say that I have had perfect preparation for this event, but I will go out there and do my best and see I can’t get a piece of the ???80,000 prize purse! A huge thank-you to my sponsor ENVE Wheels for helping me get to France and putting me on the fastest wheels in the bunch.

From Luxembourg I will fly back to LAX and spend a few days at home before hitting the road for a quick trip down to San Diego for the F1 Triathlon. This is a crazy fast format of racing, and I’m really excited to be accepted as an entry for this event. It takes place on Coronado Island, and consists of a 300m ocean swim, a 10-lap 4-mile bike, and a 5-lap 1.5-mile run. After finishing the run, you go to T3! Take off your shoes, run back into the water, and do it all over again. If you are in the area on September 29th, I highly recommend you come out and watch. It is going to be a great spectator course, and I know the race director is hoping this will be the start of a permanent race series in the US. Back in the day, these races were quite popular in Australia. Check out the video:


Finally, my last race of the season will be my first ever ITU World Cup in Cancun, Mexico on October 7th. That I was able to qualify for a World Cup race in my first season as a professional triathlete is a great accomplishment and I plan on celebrating by sticking my nose in the thick of things with the big boys — there are at least ten London Olympians on the start list. More on this race to come, as I obviously have other things to worry about first!

Be sure to check my twitter (@jasonpedersen) or my Facebook over the next few weeks with updates from the races. If I get a chance to blog, there will be links on those accounts for you to stay updated.


Since January my blogging has been quite poor. I have written a few posts over at USA Triathlon for the Collegiate Recruitment Program page?? (here, here, and here), but otherwise have limited my blogging in an attempt to decrease distractions while I finish up my Masters degree. Well, school ended a couple of weeks ago which means no more class (I have taken my last college course ever!) and I am relieved of my coaching duties at NAU (the end of an era… this surely deserves its own, well thought out post). I am still working on finishing my final Masters project (think ‘thesis’ but with a little less novelty), which means I have not left Flagstaff for good. I continue to work and write everyday, getting more done now that I have a few things off my plate. My main focus continues to be training, which is probably the culprit of the delayed conclusion of this project. If I took a week or two to work all-day-everyday on it, I’m sure I would finish up, but with a big season of triathlon racing ahead, I’m not willing to do that. I don’t have a job to hurry home to, so I will continue the course I’m currently on until I have completed the project and finished up my Masters.

A lot has happened since my last posts besides working on my fitness, and since I took a 2.5 hour nap this afternoon and can’t sleep now, I thought this would be an appropriate time for a quick catch-up session.

  • At Clermont Pan American Cup I finished 17th and earned my first all-important ITU points. I wrote a race report for USA Triathlon.
  • A week later I won the Desert Classic Duathlon in Fountain Hills, AZ. It was my first PRO win, although it came under awkward circumstances. Basically, several of the other pros that were ahead of me off the bike took a wrong turn on the second run leg and I was the #1 benefactor of their mistake. There’s some discussion about it on Slowtwitch here.
  • My girlfriend Mo Huber took a coaching job at the University of Arizona. She began in May and has been living in Tucson since then. I miss her dearly and like it or not, I think I have a lot of Tucson in my future.
  • I was a discretionary selection for the FISU World University Triathlon Championships to be held in Taiwan at the end of June! This was very exciting news and a bit of a surprise. Lots of blog posts are sure to come concerning this race and trip.
  • I have applied for a spot on the World Duathlon Championship team, which will be held in Nancy, France in September. I’m hoping with a good result next week in Dallas will help bring me to the top of the list for team selectors.
  • Dallas. My next race is another Pan American Cup in Dallas on June 2nd. The field is quite stacked, with a few London 2012 qualifiers racing and the relatively-famous Lukas Verzbicas (go ducks!). Take a look at the start list here.

That certainly wasn’t an exhaustive list (get it? I can’t sleep!), but should satisfy all of your RunPD appetites for now. I’m really excited for the next few months and look forward to making time to share all of it with you.