Well I always love the adventures Wildflower has in store for us! This is my 3rd time at Wildflower, I raced in 2011 brutal & fun and 2012 (which I DNF'd) bummer. Both previous times we had a RV a really big one with TV's and microwaves...... Roughing it?! This time 2014 we legit camped. My hubby doesn't camp so we had to borrow everything thing you need to survive outside - thanks Ish and Steve! Wow lots of equipment for a family with 2 kiddos! I set up camp a day early so when they came in everything was all set to go! The weather was hot so we didn't need to be super bundled up. Ice was the only issue. Trying to keep food cool in 90 degree heat was a challenge. Thank goodness for the delivery truck passing thru camp every night just in time for happy hour.
Tribe - Of Long Beach was represented well. We had such a fun group of vets and newbies! The entertainment was endless from deer rading the campsite, RV breakdowns, to naked Cal Poly kids running around. Wildflower is for sure an event you don't want to miss!
Friday was hot, mid 90s at packet pickup. I had to walk around with an ice bag on my head to stay cool. I felt a little wounded from the heat and I normally like the hot weather!! We set up bikes the day before the race which was around 1pm and I was super worried about returning to my bike with a popped tire due to the heat. I heard about 10 folks had blown tires race morning. For the Olympic race on Sunday they recommended 95psi for tires to avoid the pop! It's a little unsettling leaving your stuff out over night and only coming back to it when your transitioning during the race. That's when I decided that I would walk back down the big hill in the morning to check on my gear. My race start time wasn't till 9:20am, so I thought I had some time before hand. And a good thing I did, all my solid nutrition in my bento box was melted. Opps- should have brought it down in the morning. The salt tabs were smushed in with my dates and honey stinger chews. I managed to seperate some of it and added a couple more chews. I did bring my OSMO liquid NUTRITION down and filled my water bottles with ice first, that was a nice treat on the bike.
Race morning was great waking up with teammates around a fire, drinking coffee and chatting about the sufferfest we were about to embark on! We had to catch a shuttle to take us about 3 miles to swim start. Since we haven't had any rain this past year, Lake San Antionio was more like a desert than a body of water! It was super sad to see, we actually even ran in the lake for about a mile.
The swim ramp we had to transition on this year was so steep! Wow you had to be there to really understand it. The water was swamp like and I heard it had some creatures that stick to you wondering around! Yuck! The sun was blazing, the the wait time was brutal. Last shuttle to leave camp area was 7:30am, so that's the one Adri, Kira and I had to take. My other tri chick buddies racing - we all started over a good hour after the pro's! The one good thing about the spacing of the 14+ waves was that we weren't really swimming over each other!
After the 1.2 mile swim, which was pretty fast for me at 27:17 since I haven't been swimming as much as I should (new tattoo excuses:)) there was a 2.2 mile run to your bike. At first I was bummed, but after they said that means you run less off your bike, I was extremely happy! I really don't like running that much....yet! Work in progress (Chris Plante is helping me) Natural Running Network!
The trail run was solid with some small rollers and then a steep ramp climb to the bikes which we normally run up out of the swim in the traditional WF. I was stoked to pass a buddy BroMan on the short run, he is a runner and when I ran by him I slapped him on the butt. We had a little side bet going, he started 10mins ahead of me so at this point I knew I had a good lead. Into transition we go, I have been rocking my transitions lately and was excited to have the fastest combine T1a and T1b in my age group. Always keep moving! Rest when your dead my best friend Jam would say!
The bike course at wildflower is alway character building. I normally love climbing, but just didn't have the mojo that day. My bike was all fixed after a derailer issue a week ago - Pro Bike Supply in Newport Beach dialed it all in so a mechanical issue would not be my excuse to quit! 😁
At mile 40 I hit the wall - haven't really felt it like that before. My legs just burned so bad I had to get off my bike for a short period to walk it off. It felt like I was in a 20min wall sit in one of my Bootcamp class's at the Belmont Athletic Club and couldn't get out of it. Nasty Grade was mile 41 thru 43 and that son of a gun hill breaks you! This is my 3rd time up it and I think it got harder or I just got weaker! It seemed never ending and all I wanted to do it coast down hill. That is one benefit to climbing, you get to descend!
My bike split seemed to get slower as I got closer to the end. Its weird when you tell your body your almost done so push hard through it and for some reason it wants to so the opposite.
Well I made it in and off my bike. My legs were jello, I felt like collapsing. Racked my bike, threw on my shoes and walked out of T2. My husband was there to give me mustard a special trick I learned from my buddy Migs to help prevent cramping. At the time I'm not sure if it helped at all, I just wanted something to take so mentally I could convince myself that it would make me stronger. And it didn't. A little cold I was battling was creeping up on me. I felt dizzy from dehydration and the heat. I walked the first 6 miles of the run which was the longest stretch ever. It was worst than my ironamn shuffle in Cabo a year ago.
By mile 7 I saw my husband again and my friend Yo, the trail was flat and there were some trees, that combination helped me run a little bit. I really wanted to get it over as quick as possible. I was also a little afraid of seeing BroMan run up behind me and slap me on the butt to win the bet!
That didn't happen! 😄. The run through the camp grounds is electric no matter how crappy you feel. The energy of all those cheering and beer bonging is awesome! The pit section of the run was eliminated this year due to course change which was an awesome change! At mile 12 you start to run down lynch rd and I mean down - like there is no flat part! Awesome your booking it, but Heart rate does start to creep up, my hubby ran this with me. . Around the last bin you see the stands and hear the cheers - so close .... No walking down the final stretch!
6:10.29 not my best time at WF but for sure the most grueling efforts. It was nice to be helped into the med tent at the end to get an IV and an ice bath to cool down and hydrate up. Saw some teammates in there having the same issues with dehydration, which was expected when the tempetures hit the 100s that day. The best part was the sprite my husband brought me, it tasted like your favorite candy bar after 40 days of no sugar! Time to recover!
The race was over, what's next? A climb back to camp up a dirt hill with your bike or an hour wait for a shuttle to take you up the hill. Nada, before you grab a beer or glass of wine and hangout by the stage. Bands play and all the athletes lounge around swapping stories and cheers to finishing the one and only!
Saturday night is always a loud fun debacle! I feel bad for those Olympic distances racers trying to get a little a sleep before there race on Sunday. That's why I did the Long Distance one, can't miss the party!
Sunday is either a rush to get out before the roads close or for my family this year a mellow morning. We stayed to watch the Olymic Tri. It's full of fast college kids and newbies getting started. Such a fun group to watch.
I had fun again at Wildflower this year! Every year is a little different and a little special in its own way. And I always leave excited for next year even though while racing I was doubting my sanity! Till 2015 - thanks WF for the epic adventure!
Rep'ing Team Betty Designs
Fuled by Osmo Nutrition