When Jeffrey Ku started high school in Massachusetts, he had to choose a sport and ended up in cross country because he thought it meant skiing. He started out at the back of the pack and by his senior year was captain of the team. That persistent build towards excellence (while having fun with a team) is the same attitude Jeffrey brings with him to everything he does, from building a career in the competitive tech world of San Francisco, to crossing the finish line at the Kona Ironman, to his love of Peloton.
A member for the last two years, Jeffrey and his wife Cheryll joined Peloton in November 2018, almost sight unseen. “It wasn’t something we’d tried out, but my wife and I have both been spin fanatics for a long time, so I knew that it was something that was going to work for us, it was just a matter of when,” says Jeffrey. After his first inspiring class with Ally Love, he quickly added Robin Arzon, Jess King and Cody Rigsby to his instructor rotation and fell in love with the feeling of the Peloton experience. “We just found a liking for feeling good. It got to the point where I could have the shittiest day at work and the words and inspiration that come from those instructors just reset you.” As a competitive triathlete, Jeffrey also rides PowerZones and finds inspiration in Matt Wilpers, Olivia Amato and Christian Vande Velde too. “I love surrounding myself with cyclists and runners. I take a lot of running classes with Becs on a regular treadmill, and use the app for bootcamps and other things. Core work, bootcamp work, that’s equally important for triathlon training—even stretching!”
Exercise for Jeffrey had always been running and being part of a team. “I also rowed crew and then it fell off in college. You go to school, you party, you work, you’re busier and many years lapsed until I met my wife. We were kind of semi-competitive swing dancers, which was how we met. Then one day, she came home from work and she was like, ‘I’m tired of the same old.’ They’d fallen into a rut of watching tv and playing video games, and Cheryll decided to take on a triathlon as a way of getting back to their active lives. Jeffrey supported his wife, but admits he was a little scared to take one on himself. “I knew I used to be a good runner, but so many years had lapsed. I was afraid to disappoint myself, but watching her finish her first, I saw a guy with no use of his legs do an entire half Ironman. When he finished I was bawling. I was like, ‘I have no excuse.’”
10 years later, the Kus have finished multiple triathlons and 12 Ironmans between them, and Peloton has made those training goals easier to hit. “As I started to get more and more competitive, time management became even more critical. When you’re going to the gym, it can add on an extra 90 minutes waiting, showering, etc. When you’re training for an Ironman, you can plan a diversity of workouts with Peloton without having to lose all that time traveling.” But the benefits of Peloton training are a lot more than physical. “When you take these classes, what I love first of all is that the instructors call the Members athletes, so already, we’re on the right track. And the positivity they give you, the way they ask you what’s holding you back, that’s so pivotal in giving you that mental confidence. When you doubt yourself—and in a triathlon, at some point, you will—you start to internalize and repeat those words, and pick and choose the mantras that work best for you. When I’m out there, and I feel like I’ve got nothing left in the tank, I hear my instructors say, ‘Is that all you’ve got?’ and I keep going,” says Jeffrey.
As they’ve danced together and competed together, the Kus also ride together and let their shared love of exercise be a part of their bond. “Many times when I was training, you kind of have to ask for forgiveness because you have nine hours of workouts a day on weekends, and she’s been a tremendous cheerleader for me. At the same time, I’ve done the same too for her. We’ve supported each other throughout. I’m debating getting a second bike now because we all really do want to ride together.” And outside their community of two, they’ve built a community around Peloton that’s all their own. “What the Members do for each other is pretty extraordinary; I enjoy seeing it, and when I can, I take a live class,” says Jeffrey. “It’s so fun getting my friends together; they’ve all gotten Peloton for different reasons, and it’s been so exciting to see everyone’s journey. We’re using Zoom to help them set up their Bikes and we’ve done the in-Bike video chat feature. What’s been really cool is we started with a small group, but over the last two weeks, even more have been added. Every day at 5 PM, I get together a group of friends in SoCal on a text thread, and we all ride together. I have friends that don’t normally exercise, but that accountability and the high fives keep them going. And there’s a lot of competition!”
If Jeffrey were standing at the starting line of his very first high school race, he’d want to tell his younger self, and all of you, one important lesson. “I would tell that kid to dream big; to not be afraid to have aspirations. Finishing an Ironman is one thing, but having qualified and raced Kona … aside from marrying my wife, there are only a handful of things that are so impactful to your life, and growing up, you don’t know what you’re capable of and what the world has to offer. The more you put in consistency and hard work, the more you’ll get. Just keep at it.”