Wildflower triathlon festival 2009

May 5th, 2009 by

After what feels like an awfully long time, I am now back in Escondido from the ‘Wildflower trip’. It was a long one I’ll tell you that! But a load of fun nontheless, and most importantly I finished. Without leg pain. About bloomin’ time….

Where's Wally? (2nd from the left inspecting his feet)

Why such a LONG trip up there?? Well, let me try to explain. (Briefly!).

Tuesday evening – arrive back from Florida. Early Wed morning – re-pack bags and build bike, fetch hire car for the drive, dismantle bike and fit into said car, panic about being late (to pick up Mike Adams), squeeze in a quick run, finish packing stuff for trip, really start panicing about being late for Mike, then finally leave around noon. Drive 2hrs to LA International airport to pick up Mike who has arrived from Vancouver. (Get stopped by a police motorbike for doing 87 in a 65 and amazingly do not get a speeding ticket due to being Scottish!!! – Think of Gavin GavinNoble.com and shake my fist in glee with a little ‘yaaahooo’) Apologise to Mike a number of times. Re-pack car with additional ‘Mike-gear’. Leave LAX and find the freeway resembles a car park. All 5 lanes of it. I get stressed again, Mike calms me down (it’s all an adventure for him…kids!) Eventually arrive at our stop off point for the evening – family friends of Mike and his family, who lived in Ventura – a beautiful spot on the coast an hour or so north of LA. Mexican for tea (thankyou Ron and Martha!).

Early Thursday – ride bikes (after building Mikes bike) for an easy spin. Leave for Wildflower after lunch. Make good time and reach Lake San Antonio just before 6. Marvel at the beauty of the scenery and generally start to get excited. Wiiiiilllllldflower, as they say over and over and over again.

Friday was a blur of eating/napping/readding/napping/tinkering (with bike)/eating some more/calming Mike!/some excerise/race brief. Oh . . . . and hoping the rain would stop! – YES. It rained pretty much all afternoon. Some people even suggested I should be ‘used’ to it!

Race day was nice and cool and DRY. I wasn’t looking forward to rain on the bike – the course is hard enough as it is, what with hills called Nasty Grade and stuff! I had as good a swim as I could have hope for – 3rd out of the water behind two fantastic swimmers. Clayton Fettel has led the swim in countless ITU World Cups and Andy Potts needs no introduction. – Eventually I will do a 70.3 in the US that Andy doesn’t race at!

Very quickly the bike pace was ON. A formidable group formed including everybody I had assumed would be riding hard, and so I was just happy to be sitting amongst the players. Bjorn Andersson had ridden away from us, and we formed 2nd through to 9th spots on the road. And so it stayed till mile 40ish, when we hit Nasty Grade which is a gradual 5 miler that culminates in a pretty steep short section. I got dropped here I am afraid. It is the first time this has happened to me in a long time, and I just had to grit my teeth and muscle through the final 15 miles or so. I lost around a minute on the group into T2 so the damage wasn’t too bad in the end. I need to go back to the drawing board to find out why things went a little south on the ride however….. methinks maybe hydration. Maybe.

The run was never going to be pretty.

I had completed my longest run in 9 weeks at the St Anthony’s race the previous w/e – all 10k of it. You can blag 10k at the end of an olympic distance. You cannot however blag or fake a 21k run at the end of the Wildflower race let me assure you. After a reasonable portion of walking (I decided the hills were too steep for me to try and run up!) I got through the first 9miles of trails and actually ran not too badly for the final 4 miles of tarmac . I lost the top 10 spot I had been holding at 7 miles and got passed by another couple of lads in the final half mile descent into the finish chute… and crossed in 13th position, over 11 minutes slower than my time last year – all lost during the run (my longest in 10 weeks).

However the main take home message for me was that there was no pain during the run, and after some sensible post race management (ice and LOTS of Ibuprofen!) I was in none too shabby shape for cheering on Mike during his olympic distance race on Sunday morning. – He finished 9th place in the Collegiate race in tough conditions. He thoroughly enjoyed it and most importantly had sore legs the morning after – he went hard enough evidently! Well done buddy – a great race and an event to remember!

We got VERY well looked after for our lodgings! – This was inside of the house myself and Mike were given to stay at! Quite amazing.

I certainly hope I’ll be back at Wildflower next year!