31st Wildflower Triathlon - Training Weekend
Editor’s Note: Along with the broadest inventory of swim gear, SwimOutlet.com has a full selection of gear for all your Triathlon needs (except the bikes!), so we asked if the SwimOutlet.com blog could follow along with our triathlon category manager, Polly Feyereisn, as she prepares for the legendary Wildflower Triathlon in May.
Lake San Antonio… it’s considered hallowed ground in triathlon circles. Maybe it’s the clear sunny sky or the crystal cold water. Maybe it’s 30 years of triathlon history, or my personal history with the race. Maybe it’s the 30-foot triathlete billboards. Whatever it is, this place is special. Where else can you get up at the crack of dawn, roll in for a training day and be treated with the sight of more triathletes than most local races.
As we pull up to the entrance gate, we are greeted by the massive cut out of a runner baking in the sun, a reminder of what is to come. Rolling down to the parking lot – which in four weeks will be one of the largest transition zones I've ever witnessed – I see a stage of swimmers stretching out their wetsuits from a winter of neglect, runners lathering pale winter skin with sunscreen and cyclists pumping up the tires of mountain bikes, road bikes and carbon master pieces. All attracted to this location for their own preparatory reasons, but also for the same reason I'm here: this place is awesome.
Photo: One of Wildflower's famous billboards posted in the park.
Starting the training day by climbing Lynch Hill is a shock to the system; steep enough to quickly warm up the legs, but ridden too hard and you’re in for a rough day. Cresting the hill I pass the cut out of the female cyclist reminding me to start rocking the aerobars. There’s something about this place that gives me the same adrenalin usually reserved for races. I’m able to fly through the bike course and get out on the run still feeling fresh.
The first miles are great, enjoying the scenery of the lake and people camping. Then the hill begins, a gruesome long steady climb baking in the sun. As I settle into a comfortable pace I remember what it is like on race day, a stream of people moving up, some with smiles others grimacing to forget the pain, but all with one goal: cross the finish line. At the top all that’s left is a mile of pounding downhill with a perfect view of the lake ahead. Rounding back down to the shore I can already hear the announcer calling me to the finish line and the crowds cheering. As I come into view of the finish I remember the race is still weeks away, but one more training step is complete.
Photo: Another one of the billboards in the park.
Wildflower embodies the spirit of triathlon. It gathers enthusiastic people to celebrate crazy athletics, and challenges everyone with a brutally hard course complete with heat, hills, wind and snakes (seriously, dodged two on Saturday). This spirit has spilled into Lake San Antonio so you can experience the spirit any time of year, but if you take a training weekend in the weeks leading up to the race, you get to experience the spirit with a hundred of your closest triathlete friends. Come the first weekend in May that spirit will be turned up to eleven. Just three weeks to go! Happy training.
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