Pro triathlete Jordan Rapp is a poster boy for endurance — and not just because he’s won five Ironmans, two Leadman Epic 250s and the 2011 ITU Long Distance World Championships. The more remarkable feat is that all but two of those victories came following a near-fatal hit-and-run accident in which Rapp and his bicycle went head-on into a minivan, breaking Rapp’s scapula, clavicle, several bones in his face, and causing him to lose more than two liters of blood from two severed jugular veins. The driver left him for dead, but he climbed back to the top of the podium.
“I’d just won two Ironmans, just gotten married, all of this stuff was really good”, Rapp said. “Finally I sort of made it as a pro. It’s not even like I made it — I was going to make it. I finally arrive and it’s like, ‘Okay that’s the end of the journey.’ That was kind of hard. I thought about everything that I’d been through and I was like, ‘Really? That’s all I get?’”
We met Rapp, who lives in California, at his parents’ house in a quaint town along the Hudson River north of New York City. By now he’s shown that his journey was just getting started: this week he was recovering from Ironman 70.3 Syracuse and preparing for Ironman 70.3 Buffalo Springs. But recovery for a long-distance triathlete isn’t laying on the couch. Rapp was headed out for a swim-bike-run workout, and he let us tag along for the session.