- Richard L. Duquette
Wildflower Triathlon 2018 - The "Woodstock" of Triathlons
The Wildflower Triathlon is known as the "Woodstock" of Triathlons. In 2016 my wife and I took the trip to Lake San Antonio in our motor home for the adventure. Sure, it takes time to make it happen, but it was worth it. The drive through the countryside of the Central California Coast was breathtaking. The sight of rolling hills, spotted with historic broad limb oak trees, was inspiring.
After skipping a year due to drought in 2017, the race is back this year. Thanks to last year’s rains, the lake is full again.
The race course highlight is the triathlon bike course. It’s challenging, with rolling hills through the scenic countryside. It doesn't get any prettier than riding through the wine country. After the race, we relax on the grass under the oak grove and enjoy the awards ceremony and music festival. While we won’t hear Jimi Hendrix playing the Star-Spangled Banner on his guitar, there will be local bands. But mostly we hope that famed triathlete Julie Moss returns to energetically display her fantastic race and awards announcing skills, from swim course to trophies.
I have met some really impressive athletes of all ages there too. As generations of Triathlon Club of San Diego members come and go, it's good to connect the names and faces with each group that caravans to Wildflower. This includes the Nytro Women’s Triathlon team captained by multi-Ironman finisher Julie Dunkle. Most are a lot younger than I am!
Which brings me to one of the reasons I will always return to the "Woodstock" of triathlons. It's the camping (ok I'm in a motorhome, but I'm 61). It's also the different teams and clubs mingling together. Good vibes with camp fires, the "in the buff" run, a beer or two, race spectator cowbells, and laughs. To add to the festivities, Wildflower has partnered with Firestone Walker Brewing Company, which has its main brewery in Paso Robles.
In 1989, I did the Wildflower long course triathlon and slept in the back of my pickup truck. Times have changed, but not the challenge of the race and the love of the sport. Many more college kids and more women are racing now (GREAT!), and there are more sponsors too—the makings of a good time. Motiv Sports is the new race organizer, headquartered in Denver, Colorado with offices worldwide. Thank them for reviving Wildflower!
So, head on up to the Wildflower triathlon for a well-organized event, camp out, enjoy the fun times, and challenge yourself in one of the classic California triathlons!