Ironman Champion...Inventor...Business Owner

TJ Tollakson is the Swiss Army Knife of People...A true Renaissance Man. He is an Ironman Champion, Mad Scientist Inventor, and Owner of Rüster Sports and Dimond Bikes.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

"Change is the law of life." John F. Kennedy

Change is inevitable for all of us and everything must change at some point. This year I am changing triathlon coaches. I first met Cliff English while living at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs in 2005. Cliff began coaching me in 2009 and for 6 years I made steady improvements in my training and racing. 2009 I raced Ironman Arizona and went 8:20:22 and finished 2nd. 2015 I raced Ironman Arizona and went 8:04:17 and finished 3rd. This was my fastest Ironman to date and also shows a solid 16 minute improvement on the same course over a span of 6 years. I had many highlights while under the tutelage of Coach Cliff, most notably winning the 2014 Ironman North American Championship in Mont Tremblant but also winning my first Ironman in Lake Placid in 2011. Overall, Cliff coached me to 8 Ironman podium finishes and all of my personal bests. I will forever be grateful for the time under Coach Cliff and I learned a ton about the sport of triathlon, but even more about myself as an athlete. 2016 is a big change for both Cliff English and for me. Cliff is now the head coach for the first ever women's NCAA division I triathlon team at Arizona State University. I know this a role where Cliff will excel and thrive. While Cliffwill be keeping a small roster of ITU and Ironman athletes in addition to his head coaching responsibilities at ASU, I felt it was time we both adjust our focus a little for improved results. 

Moving forward I will be coached by Jesse Kropelnicki at QT2 Systems. Jesse is an accomplished coach with a great resume and roster of professional athletes. I will be joining Jesse and his squad of professional triathletes at his annual pro camp in Clermont, Florida in February. I felt Jesse was the right coaching change for me at this time because of his detailed emphasis on strength, diet, and race nutrition. Jesse is an engineer by background and also an entrepreneur running one of the largest triathlon coaching companies in the world. I put my complete trust in Jesse as I move forward and focus on qualifying for Kona in 2016 and racing Ironman Brazil in May. As I move forward in my professional racing career it is important to build upon the knowledge and experience I have gained thus far. So as Coach Cliff hands off the reigns to Coach Jesse, I am both thankful for all the knowledge and expertise bestowed upon me by Cliff and optimistic that my best racing is still ahead of me under the guidance of Jesse. 

Work Hard,


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