Jesse Jakomait has taken his goal of having a perfect ride on the Colorado Trail Race to the next level. Just after midnight on Thursday, July 30th Jesse finished the race. He blasted the previous record and surpassed the elusive sub 4-day finish with a final time of 3:20:12.
Images by Chris Miller Where are you from and where do you live now? Born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada – but now call Colorado Springs, CO home. What was your first experience on two wheels? I have had a bike for as long as I can remember but I got my first mtb in 1989 when I was 12 for Christmas.  Even though it was a Canadian version of a Huffy I loved that thing until the downtube fell off 2 years later! When did you start competitively racing bikes and how did you like those years? My parents took me and my brother to my first race in 1990 and I was instantly hooked.  By the following year we were going to a race every weekend and there hasn’t been a year since that I haven’t done at least a couple of events.  I loved the idea that the harder you tried at something the better you would do.  Trying to play street hockey with my neighbors didn’t work that way!   How many years have you attempted the Colorado Trail Race, and how were your results prior to this year? This was my 5th start and 4th finish.  My very first attempt I was 2nd behind Ethan Passant.  I like big adventures and was fit for it but I swore I would never ride the CTR again it was so brutal!  But it quickly turned into a game of looking at all aspects of it to try and shave off time.  I became obsessed with it! Jesse Jakomait You bike more than most people I know, whether it is racing, riding long days or just commuting. is this a way of life or are you always training for big races like the Colorado Trail Race? I stopped training in 2005, my last season trying to make a living out of XC racing.  I threw away my powermeter and HR monitor and searched out fun dirt to ride!  I love big alpine days and having one of the best trails in Colorado in my back yard makes me want to wake up at 4am to give it a lap before work. In 2013 you flew out of the gate, but Jefe was able to reel you in when you slept. This year you slept an hour each night. Did you plan and prepare for this sleep regiment before your ride? Sort of!  Jefe showed me the power of minimal sleep. This year I was actually planning 2 hours per night but the first night I ran out of darkness and didn’t want to give up day pedaling.  The second night I’m not even sure I got a REM cycle and was frustrated with being awake with my watch alarm still an hour away.  The last night I figured, “why change now.” Jesse Jakomait Did it make you hallucinate at all, if so what did you see? Yeah!  I saw lots of weird stuff like people posing on tops of buildings leaving Breck.  I never saw them move but they would be in different positions every glance.  Rocks kept scattering during hike-a-bikes and on the last day pelicans were appearing up from the ground.   Weather seemed to be nearly perfect after the first day, how were the trail conditions? Actually the weather was a lot better in ‘13.  This year I got rained on every day and absolutely destroyed by hail twice on the Tarryall detour.  The trails were spectacular as always but the decomposing granite in the S. Platte was a handful with my loaded bike and segment 2 was so overgrown my lights couldn’t get past the jungle to see what was on the ground below! You finished a 550 mile race with over 75,000 vertical feet of climbing in 3 days 20 hours and 47 minutes. You beat the previous record by over 8 hours. Explain the feeling you are going through right now? Extremely satisfied from a whole life perspective but also very tired and sore. Now that you own the record, will you go back, or are you going to focus your time on something else? I set out to finish what I started in ‘11 and realized I needed to put my obsession to rest.  I’d like to try some other events but I’m also getting really big into rock climbing and want to see where that leads me.  I’ve been wanting to do a route up the Diamond. Jesse Jakomait You were using a rather interesting bike which included a reverb, can you explain it and tell us how it worked for you? I can’t understand why someone wouldn’t use a Reverb!!!  I spend most of my time riding a big travel trail bike chasing Strava descent segments I can’t see myself sacrificing a few grams to give up all that fun!  I went with a GT Sensor since it looked like a long travel frame that could fit the biggest frame bag and ran a Rockshox 160 Pike, Reverb but went lighter on the wheels and tires. Jesse Jakomait You are a wheel engineer for Sram, what wheel sets were you running? Does it give you a sense of satisfaction after riding your wheel over so many miles in such a short amount of time? I was running our new carbon Rise 60 wheels.  They are a prototype sample from 2 years ago without decals. I’m really lucky to have the work/ride thing interlaced so much but the biggest impact is it keeps me really focused at my desk to do a good job because I have to ride what I design! Do you think more bikepacking rigs will look like your bike in the future? I hope I can open the door to another choice of what you ‘can’ ride but this sport is full of unique individuals. Single speeds, full rigid, fatbikes; they can all make it to the finishline!Jesse Jakomait What bags were you rocking? Bedrock Bags!  Andrew is an absolute wizard with the thread and I will never wear a pack again after first working with him in 2013 to convert to packless.  Do it! Tell us the scariest moment on route? I swear this was not one of my hallucinations.  First night descending down the last 2 miles of segment 23 there is a marshy area at 12,000 ft and I heard a rustle just in front of me.  I scanned my headlight across and a moose stepped out of the blackness onto the trail about 50 feet in front of me!  I had no idea what to do in order to not get trampled to death by this enormous creature and my only escape was back up the steep trail behind me.  I froze and spoke softly to it and after a few sentences he disappeared into the bushes on the other side. Jesse Jakomait Tell us one hilarious thing that happened on the route. Not quite hilarious but I clipped a tree with my handlebar just past hwy 50 at night and it completely ejected me off my bike.  I was doing barrel rolls in the air with beams of light from my helmet and bars shooting all over but landed on soft ground.  I was really confused with what the hell just happened and it took a second to figure out which way was up, but I was fine.  About an hour later I reached into my jersey pocket to finish my bag of peanut M&M’s and they were all crumpled into dust!
Jesse Jakomait
Photo / Andrew Schuhmann


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