Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Wildflower is an amazing race.  It is in a beautiful and remote location, has a honest course and provides an all around good time. I went back this year in hopes of being stronger on the course than I was last year. However, due to the unrelenting nature of the course I knew there would be points I would not feel strong and powerful but I think we all feel that way at some point during the day---it is that hard. The key was to get through it and keep trudging forward. 
Lunch at our house on Lake Nacimiento. TriCal is amazing, they treat us ALL like family.
The lead up to the race looked a lot like the picture. Just relaxing with a little swim, bike and run thrown in to keep me loose. The pool at Oak Shores was actually 20 yards long with lines on the bottom so I had a good pre-race swim on Friday.  Although, given the lake temperature it probably would have been warmer than the pool.  I ate well, had a good nights' sleep and woke up Saturday morning ready to go. I was not too nervous just anxious to get the show on the road. Once the race starts I feel much better as I am in "control" of what is going on.  And, even though I am a swimmer the swim start always gives me butterflies. 
Out of the swim. Just behind Leanda. Good stuff. 
I chose to start on the outside so I had some clear water to my left. I had a good line to the first buoy and knew that if I had a good start I would get out of the fray quickly. My start was great and although I was one of the last people off the line (apparently when they count down everyone goes on "1"--duly noted) I was able to get out in front after a few strokes and make my way to the front/middle in search of Leanda's feet. As I suspected when I got to the first buoy Leanda was right there and for awhile I swam next to her and then hopped on her feet. Towards the end of the swim she got away just a smidge but I kept it close coming out f the water :13 down and exiting T1 right on her heels. 

Biking. Amazing Scenery and Challenging hills.
My strategy on the bike was to hold back the first 30-40 miles and then hit Nasty Grade and the remaining hills from miles 45-56 hard. After my blow up at Leadman I was not aiming for a repeat of the steady wattage decline towards the end of the bike + a walk/run shuffle for 13 miles. Basically, I was not giving myself enough credit for being stronger on the bike and I think I took the first 40 miles just a bit too easy.  I am not saying I was twiddling my thumbs and whistling (okay, I can't whistle but you get the picture) but I definitely felt like I was holding back.  I hit the last 10 miles and my watts were up and to be honest, I was saying "darn it, I think I held back too much." Live and learn. I can't say for sure because you race the course on that day and not in your head but I felt like I had left a few minutes out there on the course by being a bit too relaxed at the beginning.

Up another hill....
The first 5 miles of the run are brutal.  I tell Andy that it is hilly but unless you actually run it I think it is hard to explain just how hilly it is. I ran well for 3.5 miles, felt crappy up that stupid hill at mile 4-5, and then tried to fight to catch up with a couple girls in front of me the last few miles. I fell short and in truth, fell off the pace a bit towards the end of the run. I finished 11th for the 800th time in my professional career but was 12 minutes faster than last year.

The only "flat" part of the run. I am happy here because I  made it up the HUGE hill and did not face plant on the way down. Score.
I told myself before the race that no matter where I finished (2nd or 11th, etc.) as long as I did my best I would be happy with the result. I am happy with the result but ultimately, I am not satisfied. There were improvements in all 3 disciplines and that is something to be celebrated but in my sometimes overly critical mind there were aspects of the race I think I should have approached differently. However, I take all these things as lesson and will make the necessary changes in race strategy and mindset for the next race.

All and all my second try at Wildflower was a success---Andy and I had a fun road trip, we hung out with friends and I raced hard. THAT is a good weekend.

Next up is Alcatraz, one of my all time favorites. There are exciting things happening like new swim stuff from Blue Seventy and NEW bikes. That's right, bike porn is on the way! I have not ridden a new bike since 2007 which I think is pretty amazing (and not common in the triathlon scene).

Happy and Safe Training to all.

Race Photos Courtesy of Kevin Koresky at

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