You may not yet be familiar with the name Jake Montgomery, but maybe ought to. He already had some very strong results in the last year and this talented and fast young Aussie pro looks to have a great future. He has a lethal swim-run combo and his run is solid too. But please let us not call him him the next Australian Kona hope, let us just be happy that young talent is coming through.
Slowtwitch: Thank you for your time.
Jake Montgomery: No problem, appreciate you taking the time to ask me a few questions.
ST: What have you been up to since Geelong?
Jake: Things have been pretty hectic since the race, and it is still sinking in. Just gathering my thoughts and have been back into training. Currently organizing my schedule for the rest of the year.
ST: You had a very fine day and ended up with your first 70.3 title. Prior to that you had two runner-up spots. So going in what kind of expectations did you have?
Jake: Yes, I had an awesome day. The two 2nd place finishes were very close to the win and made me eager to chase the top of the podium. I put in a good training block over the New Year and whilst I was confident with my form going into the race, I was still anxious about the quality of the field I was coming up against. I knew if I could put together a solid swim and bike and have enough time going into the run I might be able to hold them off.
ST: I guess you are telling me that the run is where you are looking to improve the most.
Jake: Yes, the run has been a very slow process for me. I suffered from a lot of injuries through ITU including Stress Fractures and multiple muscle overuse injuries. Since programming myself I am able to work on building my run strength slowly and prevent any setbacks, there is no rush and I hope that with time comes more strength and faster run times
ST: Can you talk about that race itself?
Jake: While I didn’t feel 100% in the water, I still managed to come out within 10 seconds of [Josh] Amberger and knew I could make this up in transition or the first climb. I put this down to not having done enough training it the wetsuit prior. The bike was great, and I had a really strong first lap and the numbers were above what I had anticipated. The second lap was tough when the wind picked up, having it coming from all directions but I think this is where I was able to capitalize and increase the gap to the chasers. Coming off the bike onto the run felt good but having the previous two races in the back of my mind kept me questioning what was going to happen. I struggled on the hills a bit and am not very good at using the downhills, but used the flats as best I could and the support from the crowd. It really spurs you on. I’d come so close before and didn’t know I had it until I saw the carpet to the finish. Coming down the chute was the best feeling I’ve had.
ST: And you broke the bike course record by 2 minutes.
Jake: When I had found out I broke the record I was stoked, considering they had chucked in another hill I was very happy to add this to my result. I had looked at the previous bike splits before the race and had a good idea of what I needed to do on the day.
ST: Talk about your bike and how it is set up.
Jake: My bike is a Cervelo P5 and it is superb. I was lucky enough to get on board with Cervelo late last year and this was like a dream come true. I have always followed Cervelo and their progression in the sport and they have always been at the pinnacle of what's new and fast. I have it setup with Zipp Super 9 and 808 clinchers. I use a Power2Max power meter paired with my Garmin Edge 520. I always make sure I give my bike to George at Endeavour Cycles race week to ensure it is finely tuned.
ST: Has that been your bike shop all along?
Jake: I had been going to Endeavour on and off since I first started triathlon but since I live 45min away I was using a local shop more regularly. Once I got on board with Cervelo I have been going to see George at Endeavour all the time, he really knows the bike inside out and am happy to leave it with him. It comes out of the shop 100% every time and he is always there when I need his help, even the day before leaving to travel to a race.
ST: Did anyone work with you on the position and the setup in general?
Jake: I have been working with Ryan at 3D BikeFit for a year now. I used to have terrible problems with my fit prior to this, having lower back issues and general discomfort. From the first fit with Ryan I noticed a massive difference in my comfort and power output, he really takes the time to analyze your position and work with the rider to get the best out of you and your bike. Ryan really knows his stuff and has a sixth sense when it comes to fitting people to their bike.
ST: When you ran down that finish chute, what went through your mind?
Jake: The first thing was that I had actually pulled it off, as much as I wanted the win I couldn’t believe I got it. I think it was a relief more than anything, after coming so close twice last year, I was able to start 2016 with a win.
ST: Where is that trophy now?
Jake: I not one to have trophies on show, I put it in my cupboard. I am more about the accomplishment within myself and now it’s time to focus on the next race.
ST: Last year you raced nine 70.3 events. Are you looking to have a similar schedule this year?
Jake: Yes, this year will be very similar. I look to head back to the US in May for the North America Pro Champs and then head to Boulder for a couple of months to lay the foundations for 70.3 Worlds in September, I will also race Boulder and Vineman 70.3 whilst I am over there. After Worlds there is quite a few 70.3’s in Australia, unfortunately Port Macquarie no longer has a Pro category but I will look to race Mandurah and Western Sydney 70.3 and another one before the end of the year.
ST: Last summer you spent a few months in Boulder. Who did you stay with while there?
Jake: I was lucky enough to have mum travel with me for 3 months in the US, it was great to have her there for support and to watch me at the races. Going there for the first time and into the unknown, it was a massive help having someone there. We loved Boulder, really enjoyed the lifestyle and the people were awesome, both mum and I were sad to leave. I’m very keen to head back there in a few months.
ST: What was the biggest lesson you learned.
Jake: I have learnt a lot since turning to long course but by far the biggest is sorting out nutrition pre race and during. I really struggled having enough fuel to last me to the end in my first few races and also what my body agreed with. I was fortunate enough to spend some time training with Craig Alexander, he gave me some great insights as to what I should be eating/drinking for long course and the first time I opted for a different strategy it really paid off.
ST: I believe you do not have a coach. Is that correct?
Jake: Yes, I have been coaching myself for over 2 years now. I swim with my younger brother at the local pool, I ride by myself through the week and catch up with friends for a longer ride on the weekend and all my runs are solo. This has been working well for me as I am able to listen to my body and adjust session to suit.
ST: You are still fairly young at 21, and did not start 70.3 racing until February last year. When you first showed up in the pro transition area did some folks wonder who you were?
Jake: Yeah, people still wonder who I am but things are starting to change. The guys I have been racing against introduced themselves and made me feel really welcome. They are all great guys.
ST: Which athletes do you look up to, and who or what inspired you to pick up triathlon at age 13?
Jake: I sort of fell into triathlon, I was swimming with a group and was told to go and try out for a triathlon squad that was based off a swim and run TT, I managed to get the times required for both of these and it all happened from there. In one of my first triathlon I actually did I met Craig Alexander, he was handing out the medals and I was lucky enough to get one and photo with him, never did I think I would be training and racing alongside him. He has been a great idol for me. As I might have mentioned before, I had watched Josh Amberger race 70.3 before I moved to long course and his racing style of go hard and off the front from the start is something that really appealed to me coming to this distance. This is how I like to race.
ST: You raced ITU events for 3 years. What is your fondest memory?
Jake: Spending 3 months in Europe with the Australian squad would have to be my fondest memory. I was lucky enough to have been given opportunity to travel, train and race with these guys. It’s an experience I will never forget.
ST: Any specific race or race result?
Jake: The time I raced the San Sebastien Olympic triathlon in Spain was a very cool experience. The bike course was the one of the most challenging I have ever done and by far the most scenic race. I also had a great result finishing 3rd overall. The locals are incredible and love the Australian’s who compete in the race every year.
ST: So what is next for you?
Jake: I am heading back up to the Gold Coast next week to put in a solid block of training before heading OS. During this time I will also race a few Olympic distance triathlons, maybe the odd cycle or swim race too. The next month will be busy with organizing my next trip the US and then all focus will be on 70.3 Worlds.
ST: How much surfing do you still do?
Jake: Probably too much, I was lucky enough to be on the Gold Coast over Christmas when a solid swell came through. I managed to fit in plenty of surfing between session, it would add up to about 15hrs a week on the board in addition to training, come Sunday night I was pretty wrecked but you cannot underestimate the value of cross training
ST: Are you pretty good at it?
Jake: I like to think I am but didn’t make the cut for the Pro Tour. I have grown up surfing and I still go out there trying to push the envelope but it’s a passion. I have surfed up and down the east coast of Australia, also surfed the coast from Northern France to Portugal and spent a month in Indo. It will always be a part of me, but I guess I now have priorities.
ST: Do you rent a surfboard when you go to places that seem to have god surf spots? Because I assume taken one along when you already travel with a bike would be tough.
Jake: Normally it is just one or the other, I have never tried to travel with a board and a bike at the same time, I’d hate to see the excess baggage fees. If I am driving to a race in Australia there is usually a board in the car I can have a lash on after the race.
ST: Anything else we should know?
Jake: I love to cook but I wouldn’t subject anyone else to it, this then results in me eating too much. Contrary to popular belief I have never done any weight training, I can’t lift my own body weight. I have had two hernias before the age of ten, these were hereditary, not self-induced. However, what was self induced were two broken collarbones.
ST: Doing what?
Jake: Skateboarding. I learnt my lesson pretty quick riding them and haven’t skated properly again since I was 12, the pavement really hurts. At least with surfing when you fall off, water isn’t so hard.
ST: Good luck with your season.
Jake: Thank you, I really appreciate you taking the time to interview me. It’s been a pleasure.
You can follow Jake Montgomery on twitter via @jakemonty23