Tollakson Wins Ironman North American Championship
TJ Tollakson’s name is synonymous with extremes. He rides an extreme aero position on his bike and even goes so far as to wear aero booties in a Ironman. He has designed a new tri bike that is very extreme. And, his performance at Ironman Mont Tremblant, the North American Championship was extreme.
TJ is a good swimmer and had no problem staying with the front pack throughout the 2.4 mile traverse of the chilly Canadian waters. But what happened next can only be described as extreme. Tollakson exited T1 with the same leaders of the swim, but then proceeded to put on a clinic in how to ride a bike. The bike is a new Dimond Superbike, which harkens back to something very near and dear to our hearts at Zipp, the old 2001 and 3001 superbikes of the 1990’s. These “beam bikes” are notably very fast in the wind tunnel, and are also appropriately stiff and responsive. His was outfitted on the day with Firecrest 808 Carbon Clincher on the front and Super9 Carbon Clincher Disc in the rear. On the hilly and twisty roads around Mont Tremblant, shouldn’t he have been riding something shallower in the front and something lighter than a disc in the rear? Absolutely not, and TJ knows this quite well. Aero is king. Even though there were some climbs on the course, the 808/disc combo is quite light and the incredibly stable Firecrest rim shape handled the wind and turns predictably. So, TJ didn’t worry about saving extra weight or anything else except foiling the wind. And that is exactly what he did. After 112 miles, he had developed a lead of almost 10 minutes over his closest competitor, delivering him to T2 in 4:26:55!
TJ then showed what he has been working on for the last couple of years, in addition to his new Dimond bikes, his run. He proceeded to throw down a 2:54:21 marathon, even after riding that strong.
His performance on the day netted him a finishing time of 8:16:17 for a total margin of victory of 19 minutes, a new course record, and the title of North American Ironman Champion.
From all of us at Zipp, Congratulations TJ, you are still an American Badass!
image: Nils Nilsen