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Wildflower Long Course

by Jason Schneider (TriTrain Multisport)
(Los Angeles, CA)

My favorite part of the race - RECOVERY DRINK!

My favorite part of the race - RECOVERY DRINK!

Wildflower Weekend - Long Course, Olympic Course, Sprint and MTB triathlons.

Location & Country:
Lake San Antonio, CA (just North of Paso Robles), USA

Date:
May

About The Race:
It's the Burning Man (or Woodstock) of triathlon. 5000 athletes and family members descend on a small lake & camping grounds in Central California. It's miles and miles from civilization - so no fast food, convenience stores and often, cell reception. It's just 5000+ people there to share in the love for the sport.

The Race Course:

Swim:
It's early in the season, so that water is usually a bit chilly. But it's clean and FAST! You are surrounded on all sides my mountains - it's quite a fun swim.

Bike:
The bike course is the most talked about element of the race. A steep climb straight out of transition, windy backside of the course and the illustrious NASTY GRADE at mile 42 of the bike. It's a bit soul-crushing...but everyone shares in the joy of the pain of the climb.

The pay-off is a gorgeous mountaintop view of both Lake San Antonio to the right and Lake Nacimiento to the left. Then, of course, the epic descent with speeds in excess of 40mph.

Run:
Why they never talk about it is beyond me. What starts out on pavement quickly becomes single-track trail run. Miles 1-4 are idyllic along the edge of the lake. But mile 4 turns into the woods and become more of a nightmare. Mile 4 - 6 is up, up, up - reducing even the strongest of pros to a slow climb or walk. It's just rough!

The best part, mile 7 - you turn back into the campgrounds. Now it's time for those thousands of spectators to supercharge you through to the finish - costumes, beer bongs, naked campers - it's built quite a reputation for spectator insanity!

Mile 9 - welcome to the PIT. Back on the pavement, you run down, down, down - you wonder if it will ever end. Then it happens...you hit bottom and they turn you around to climb back out. OUCH! But the final mile is a furiously fast descent down Lynch Hill right into the finish chute by the lake. This race has more pits and pinnacles than a roller coaster.

Transitions:
Single transition - huge parking lot. Rarely see a race that makes it as "fair" as Wildflower for everyone.

Overall Organisation And Atmosphere Of Race:
Because of the remote location (oh yeah, did I mention everyone camps?), it's like bottling the energy of triathlon. 5000+ of your best friends in close proximity - sharing food, drinks, tools and campfire stories.

Top Tips For Other Triathletes:
Screw the bike - respect the run! Everyone will train, train, train the bike (which doesn't hurt). But the run is the red-headed stepchild of this race and, frankly, it's where the race is won.

Overall Would I Recommend This Race?
Well, for fear that you might steal my prime camping spot - no. But in reality - hell yes. Oh - and don't forget to have a Wildflower Burrito at the Food Expo - it's life changing.

My Race Story:
I've raced Wildflower for several years and I've had good races and less-than-stellar races. But always, in the end, I love the overall experience and can't wait for the following year.


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Aug 24, 2011
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Our first entry!
by: Intelligent Triathlon Training

Thanks for your entry Jason, the first entry to start the contest! And a great one it is too, you've set the bar high!

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