In Profile: Jarrod Shoemaker (USA)
Having moved across from a predominantly run orientated background, the USA’s Jarrod Shoemaker has shot through the rankings and now stands as one of the best triathletes in the world.
Having grown up playing baseball, soccer, basketball, lacrosse, wrestling and ice hockey, as well as swimming and running, Jarrod was raised in a sports environment. He went to Dartmouth College where he focused on his running, winning the Heptagonal Games Cross Country Championships as a junior, and finished twelfth at the NCAA 5000m on the track.
Name: Jarrod Shoemaker
Debut year: 2004
World Series wins: 0
World Series podiums: 2
A switch to triathlon brought him almost instant success, and in 2005 he won the ITU under 23 World Championships in Gamagori, Japan, pulling apart the field with a trademark strong run to take victory by over 20 seconds from Danylo Sapunov. Three years later he qualified for the USA team for the Olympic Games and finished 18th in Beijing.
You have enjoyed some decent performances this year, how do you feel things have panned out for you in the opening two races of the Dextro Energy Triathlon – ITU World Championship Series?
I don’t think things could have gone much better over the first two races. After Ishigaki I felt like I was ready to race against the best in the world. I have been working hard on my swimming and my biomechanics over the past year and it seems to have paid off.
We saw some very fast early season run times in 5k races, how easy is it to keep up a high pace when you come off the bike?
I don’t think we will ever see anybody running 14:13 for 5k off the bike, but I do think that getting in high quality individual sport races makes it easier to suffer in a triathlon. It also helps build confidence.
With attention focused on this weekend’s race in Washington you’re in the public eye. Do you like the pressure that brings?
I really feel absolutely no pressure going into the Washington race. Sure, I want to do well and plan on doing well, but I really do not feel that I have anything to prove in this race and thus have no pressure on myself. I plan on doing what I do best, enjoying the moment and having fun in seeing how hard I can push myself. I am more excited about the fact that my mom is racing her first triathlon in the sprint race, my brother Jake is racing the Olympic distance, my sister Martha is racing the sprint race and my sister Jenna is racing in the women’s elite race.
As you said, your sister is in the women’s competition; does that make it hard to concentrate on your race because you want to support her?
Watching Jenna race is a lot of fun, and usually I don’t get the chance to watch the women race since they race before us. This time I will get to cheer for her and the other US athletes which should be nice. I hope she does well, but I am proud of her year so far and she has had a great start to the season. It was fun to both be the top ranked US athletes on the ITU points list for one week.
Next week we’re in Des Moines for the inaugural ITU Triathlon Team World Championships. How excited are you about the new competition format?
That is three races away from now! Actually I am really excited about the team race. It will be fast, fun and chaotic. I enjoy relay races and am probably a better relay athlete than individual athlete as my swim coaches can attest. I think our team is really great and we have been getting each other excited over the past few weeks talking strategy, but I am keeping our team secret. Australia look like being the team to beat, but pretty much every country has four amazing athletes.
What are your race plans between now and the Dextro Energy Triathlon – ITU World Championship Series Grand Final?
I am planning on racing the Hy-Vee Elite Cup and ITU Team World Champs, Kitzbühel World Champs, Marlborough Triathlon (a race that I am putting on in my area that benefits Children’s Hospital Boston), London World Champs, Yokohama World Champs and then onto the finale. The big decision right now is whether to come home after Yokohama or head straight to Australia. It probably will have more to do with whether my wife Alicia can come to Australia with me or not, and how much I miss being at home, which at this point is a lot since I am spending all of June on the road.
Does this new consistent World Champs season suit your style of racing, or do you prefer one big competition?
I am a big fan of a one day World Championship, but the new series suits my style of racing better. I think it allows the best athletes to rise to the top and allows you to have a bad race now and again. Our sport really does not lend itself to peaking for one big race, and I am not sure that physiologically you can even technically taper and peak for three sports at the same time. I like the fact that we are racing around the globe on everybody’s home turf and that person becomes the World Champion.