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Wildflower Triathlon - Olympic Course - 2018 - Triathlon

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Lake San Antonio, California
United States
80F / 27C
Total Time = 3h 43m 15s
Overall Rank = 744/1018
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 56/72
Pre-race routine:

Wildflower is more than just a triathlon, it's an experience. This year, after missing 2017 due to a dry lake, they re-branded the event as the "Wildflower Experience" to highlight it being much more than just a triathlon. It's a festival, camping, music, and with the new brand new events such as trail runs and paddle boarding.

The Olympic course is on Sunday so I drove up early Saturday morning to get a camping site before the roads close for the long course triathlon. Once checked in I set up camp and drove down to a lower boat ramp (where the swim start moved to in previous dry years) to do some paddle boarding. The lake was calm as I paddled up to the main festival area and the swim course. As I got close (about 1/4 mile away) from the swim course I stopped and listened to the announcers starting each wave. After a few waves I turned around and paddled back to the boat launch. Perhaps going for a 3 mile paddle wasn't the best thing for my shoulders the day before a race however it was a nice prelude.

After packing up my paddle board I drove up to the campground then hiked down to the festival area for packet pickup and lunch. The rest of the sunny afternoon was spent enjoying a few beers, good music, delicious food, and the company of other athletes. As the day grew long I hiked back up to camp for dinner and an early night as the sun set.
Event warmup:

Up bright and early I rode my bike back down to the transition area just below the festival grounds. Due to the sheer number of athletes the first wave (for the on road sprint) started at 8:00, whereas my wave in the Olympic was at 9:30. The transition area closed shortly after the first wave started so I had to get setup and wait on the boat ramp. The long wait didn't do much good for my nerves or being in a wet suit with a warm sun shining down. Finally I was able to get into the water and cool down right before the start of my wave which helped.
  • 34m 22s
  • 1500 meters
  • 02m 17s / 100 meters

My last open water swim was over 1.5 years ago, let alone in a race condition. As always, the start is a bit rough with the contact from other swimmers. Moving to the side of the pack I started to get a bit of a rhythm. My sighting was a bit rusty and I would take breast stroke breaks to get my navigation back on target.

Rounding the buoy at the turnaround I felt a bit of resistance from a slight current. Fortunately it was nothing like the ocean swims I've done in the past so it didn't slow me down too much. I kept my pace steady and improved my navigation breaks. Finally back at the shore I began the long walk up the boat ramp.
What would you do differently?:

Get some open water practice in before hand.
Transition 1
  • 07m 58s

The boat ramp up to the transition area was steep and not very foot friendly so I chose to walk it while pulling my arms from my wetsuit. At my transition spot I struggled a bit to get my heels out from the legs so I lost some time there. Fortunately I wasn't too concerned about speed so I didn't let it bother me. Shoes, socks, and helmet all went on and I jogged out the bike exit and mounted my bike.
What would you do differently?:

Getting out of my wetsuit was the main slowdown.
  • 1h 40m 35s
  • 40 kms
  • 23.86 km/hr

The bike course starts with a very steep hill ("Lynch Hill") out of the lake basin up to the campground areas. I was worried about it as I had not trained on anything as steep. Fortunately I was able to climb up it slow and steady. Reaching the top I figured the worst of many hills to come was behind me.

Most of the course was rolling hills. I would climb slowly then race down fast, playing "leap frog" with a couple other riders who would pass me going up after I passed them on the descent. A few miles in the middle were through a beautiful meadow giving me some time to enjoy the scenery. The hills still had a lot of green grass and flowers from the late spring showers.

After the turn around all the fun downhills became climbs and the climbs became fun downhills. The last descent down Lynch Hill to the transition was especially fun and fast, fortunately there was a level section long enough to slow down safely before dismounting and jogging into the transition.
What would you do differently?:

Overall the ride was excellent. My climbing could have been better however I never struggled and felt strong the whole ride.
Transition 2
  • 03m 57s

Took my time catching my breath and getting my running shoes on. On my way out I splashed some water over my head.
What would you do differently?:

Hustled a bit more to the transition exit.
  • 1h 16m 25s
  • 10 kms
  • 07m 38s  min/km

The run followed the shorline for a couple miles going up and down following the terrain. As usual coming out of T2 my legs were not in running mode so I took it easy on the short climbs to give my legs a chance. Turning away from the lake the course started up a long and (mostly) gentle climb for the next 3 miles.

Unfortunately the heat of the day was taking it's tool so I spent a good portion of the climb walking with bursts of jogging to keep myself from over heating. At each aid station I would have the enthusiastic volunteers splash me with water. By the time I got to the top I was dealing with a bit of nausea and had trouble running down Lynch Hill (yes, that hill again!) to the finish. At the bottom I managed to give it my all down the finish chute and crossed the line with my arms raised!
What would you do differently?:

I did what I could to stay cool however in the end the long climb did me in.
Post race
Warm down:

Wrapped a cold drenched towel around my head and ate a bunch of orange slices which helped take the edge off the nausea.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

The heat on the run was my biggest limiter. I do a lot of trail running now and that is always my main challenge.

Event comments:

After the race I packed up my transition and joined the festival area for food and a beer to celebrate a long day on the course.

Wildflower is something that needs to be experienced. The atmosphere is incredible. The volunteers on and off the course are enthusiastic and helpful. The course is challenging, brutal, beautiful, and rewarding.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2018-05-07 12:00 AM
00:34:22 | 1500 meters | 02m 17s / 100meters
Age Group: 0/72
Overall: 0/1018
Performance: Average
Suit: XTerra Vortex 4
Course: Single out and back.
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current: Low
200M Perf. Below average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Average Drafting:
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 07:58
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Below average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
01:40:35 | 40 kms | 23.86 km/hr
Age Group: 0/72
Overall: 0/1018
Performance: Good
Wind: Little
Course: Out and back with steep hills and rolling meadows
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 03:57
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
01:16:25 | 10 kms | 07m 38s  min/km
Age Group: 0/72
Overall: 0/1018
Performance: Below average
Course: Long loop, starting along the shore then climbing for 3 miles before going down a steep hill.
Keeping cool Bad Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Yes
Course challenge
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2018-05-08 12:02 AM

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Central Coast, CA
Subject: Wildflower Triathlon - Olympic Course - 2018

2018-05-08 1:27 PM
in reply to: #5242954

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Baltimore, Maryland
Subject: RE: Wildflower Triathlon - Olympic Course - 2018
What an awesome RR! Sounds like an incredible day and a great race! Sucks that the run was so hot, but it sounds like you pushed through, and I think you said you hadn't trained as much as you would've liked before?
2018-05-15 11:47 AM
in reply to: nicole14e

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New user
Subject: RE: Wildflower Triathlon - Olympic Course - 2018
Sounds like a great place for a great day! Congratulations!

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