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Obsrevations from my 25th Wildflower « Cayucos Multisport

Obsrevations from my 25th Wildflower

photo(9)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Having this year be my 25th Wildflower Event and being an Ambassador for Tri- Cal  Events for the last three years now.  I thought it would be appropriate to comment on my observations of this years event. I’ve been able to have a little different perspective of the behind the scenes and what it takes to produce world class Triathlon events. The logistics of the Wildflower Event is pretty astonishing, year after year the (3) Tri Events go off right on schedule.  The Event is produced from the original founder Terry Davis and the staff he’s put together for over 31 years. This isn’t a  multinational corporation that produces Triathlons but a home grown event that grew with the sport from it’s beginning.  I’ve been going to the Wildflower event since 1989 and every year has it’s unique personality or a lesson learned. This year was no different for me as I attempted what Tri- Cal named Wildflower Squared ,which is the Long course(70.3) and Olympic courses back to back.  Though this has been done for a long time by various athletes ,it’s the first year it has been an actual event. My objective was to complete the two events, which I was able to do, with out any special or additional training (around 10 hrs a week). The event was kind of  like doing an Ironman but halfway through you stop and have dinner, sleep for a while then start back up again. I would suspect that this event will grow in popularity with all the interest in Ultra Endurance events. This year the weather looked to be shaping up to be a hot year but didn’t materialize. Saturdays Long Course and Mountain Bike Sprint were conducted in warm temperatures and relative mild wind. Sundays Olympic Distance race was overcast at the swim start with a pretty strong wind that created choppy water and some challenging  winds on the bike. If your looking to podium at any of the events you’ll need to bring an A game as the age groups are stacked with talent pretty deep with the top tier being some of the best triathletes any where. Over the 31 year history of the Wildflower the worlds best Professional Triathletes, past and present, have competed on the same course as used today and many return years later and compete with the age groupers. There’s a rather large group of athletes that have been going to Wildflower from the early beginnings that show up year after year. One athlete Kim Akol (55-59) who been racing  for 29 years and I race to the finish every year.  No one has raced better at Wildflower than Pete Kain for 27 years now. He started his pro career at WF in 1988 with a 5th place finish and $250 payday. Pete has been the overall winner on both courses and held multiple course records. This year was no different as Pete moved up to the old guys division with a 15:00 minute win in the (50-54) AG Olympic Course. Pete’s extreme level of fitness was apparent when he came and trained at (CayucosMan) for 3 days a couple weeks before WF. Another legend is Dean Harper who won the first ever WF. This year Dean was the (60-64)AG Olympic winner. I was surprised this year when on the LC run going into Harris Creek, Sherry Coons, who now lives in Australia came running by. She started her first Triathlon at WF in 1989 and was my first training partner. Sherry has won multiple titles and podiums at WF both Pro & AG and is looking super fit with a 2nd place finish (45-49)AG this year. One of most impressive athletes to race WF at least (25 years) is Harriet Anderson.  At 79 years young shes been finishing the Long Course year after year. I saw her finishing her last mile going down Lynch Road and she had the look of pure joy and as smooth of stride as anyone. If you wanted to find the Fountain of Youth I would find out what Harriet is doing.  Some of the other long time athletes that are part of the history of the event that were at WF this year, Tim Sheeper 1st (50-54) long course,Willie Steward one of the first challenged triathletes , Bob Babbitt one of the icons of the sport, Keith Schmidt( 30 years), former pro, volunteer and local tri shop owner( His K-Man stickers make great stem value covers), Women’s Pro, Alexis Waddell, who grew up going to WF with her parents Les and Noelle, Julie Moss a former over all winner and long time announcer and MC for the event. There’s a new generation of younger athlete’s who have been adding up some years. Ben Greenfield (6 years) used WF for his personal science laboratory this  year and did both courses back to back with some great data feedback. Leroy Thomas not sure how many WF he’s competed in,I had the opportunity to meet him when he came and trained with Kain Performance at (CayucosMan) . Leroy won the tough (40-44)AG Long Course by several minutes with a ruptured hernia that required emergency surgery after the race. There was also triathlete and local radio personality Pepper Daniels who stepped up to MC this year and did a great job. I hope he will be back for many years. A Sunday service is always appreciated and reminds us,especially this year,how precious our time here is. God willing, I plan to go back next year and attempt another Wildflower Triathlon and Keep it Rolling..

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