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CERVÉLO STAFFER GUNNING FOR PERSONAL BEST AT TREMBLANT — AND THEN AT KONA
A dozen years after his pro-triathlete sister, Tereza, loaned him her pink Cervélo Soloist for his first race — Ontario’s sprint-distance Windsor Triathlon — Jakes has become a seasoned Ironman age-grouper with an impressive palmeres. He has nine full-distance events to his credit, with sub-10-hour performances at Lake Placid in 2012 and Mont Tremblant in 2014 both vaulting him into the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii. His 2012 result at Ironman 70.3 St. Croix, meanwhile, earned him a spot in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships, where he cracked the Top 25.
Naturally, his ride has evolved along with his skills. Tereza needed her pink Soloist back, after all, so after first choosing the P4 and then upgrading to the P5, Jakes now rides the latest Dura Ace Di2 model of Cervélo’s new-look P5X. The Ironman setup for his fluoro-green speed machine is fairly minimal: Two bottles, a flat kit in the frame’s hidden Stealthbox, and a few emergency bars in the SmartPak. “I’ve found this setup helps me start the run as fresh as possible,” Jakes explains.
His endurance-sport abilities and equipment have changed, but something more important has stayed with Jakes: His competitive fire. “I think my biggest strength is mental,” he says. “I can push hard and suffer for a long time. I have a competitive nature and absolutely love racing, as well as the variation in training and always finding new ways to improve.”
Jakes is working harder than ever — especially on Cervélo’s in-house turbo trainers — to improve on the personal-best time of 9:49:38 he recorded at Ironman Mont Tremblant in 2015. “I’m really looking forward to racing Tremblant this weekend,” he says. “The rolling course is challenging, it’s one of the best-organized races I’ve ever done, and the championship-like atmosphere on race day always gives me extra motivation to push harder.”
Then, in October, his goal is to deliver another personal best on the ultimate triathlon stage. “I would love to finish under 10 hours in Kona. It's also the 40th anniversary of the Ironman World Championship this year, so it would be cool to be a part of that.”
First, however, he needs to punch his ticket to Kona by finishing in the Top 5 in his age group at Tremblant. “If I get off the bike in first and don't fade too badly at the end of the marathon I have a shot,” he says. “Somewhere close to 9:40 should be enough. Something like a mechanical or a total blowup can always happen, though, which is why I have so much respect for the distance. A running injury has left me with low run volume, and I'm a rather horrific runner already, so that could also bite me on race day. I guess we'll find out.”
Another challenge: Jakes’ family can’t be there this time around. “They always give me a boost when I see them, so I'll be missing that this year.”
His Cervélo family, however, will be there in full force to cheer him on. “It’s always such a boost to see familiar faces and hear encouraging words along the course,” Jakes says. “Cervélo is very fitness-focused, and the people I work with are very passionate about what they do. It’s more than a job for us. The same goes for any athlete who rides our bikes — there’s a real sense of community.”
Plus, Jakes can always depend on his secret weapon: Fried chicken and fries. “My sister told me to eat this meal before my very first Ironman, and I've done it before every Ironman I've raced since.”