Wildflower the Woodstock of Triathlon

We drove from Paso Robles to Lake San Antonio for the Wildflower triathlon . It was short trip through scenic country but quite hilly and winding . We had get over onto the turnouts several times to let traffic through . The last bit of the drive traversed the last bit of the bike leg so we got a taste of what it would be like. The park was already busy and there was minimal chance of a hookup so we took a spot next to shower/toilet block – it was also next to the college/university campers . It was unfortunately about a half hour walk to the festival area / transition . After getting there and finding the guy who was renting me the bike , a TCR converted to a time trial bike , found that the seat would not go up high enough and they were able to change it for another TCR road bike . Riding it back to the campsite all seemed OK.  After finishing up in the carbo loading I took the bike to transition and set everything up  . Back at the campsite after the long walk back , we chilled out and got an early night , and there wasn’t too much noise from the campers .
Race was different from any other . Unfortunately my wave was near the end 9.05 , an hour after race start. After walking to transition and checking everything it was then a bus shuttle the race start . When we finally got in the water the water was black  at the race start but fortunately cleared after about 100 metres . After a reasonable swim , I found my shoes and started on the first run which commenced on a 13% grade up a long boat ramp. We ran the 2.2 miles to T1A across the dry lake bed a combination of sand and stone ! I must have passed 300 people along the way . The bike legs starts pretty easy but then it is onto the first climb and basically grinding in the lowest gear . We turn off out of the park and soon on a steep downhill . When I stop pedalling and get down into aero as much as I can the bike is making a grinding noise . I get off the bike check the wheel loosen the brakes but can’t really find the cause , but it goes away if keep pedalling. It sets the tone for the day , pass people up the hill get passed downhill . As I get to the turn onto the loop round the lake I hear “barracuda” from a female voice , and it is Raeleigh and Scott !! I give them both high fives and continue passing people up the hill . The bike continues with a series of rollers followed by a long false flat – now I really miss the TT bike. At mile 41 you hit nasty grade – 8km of climbing , with middle 3km like the top of Mt Mis .At the start of the kickup I hear the cry “Aussie Aussie Aussie” and I high five Raeleigh and Scott again .While winding past people I hear a bit of metal hit the ground off my bike .  After nasty grade there are some steep downhills , and the noise from my bike had ceased , followed by rollers with some steep pinches in it and a fast descent into transition . The run is just a continual up and down , and I walk through the drink stations grabbing nutrition. Finally after about mile 6 I have to walk up one of the steep grades – but everyone is walking . I still feels like I’m running OK given the very tough conditions . I come across Lily near our campsite cheering me on and taking a couple of snaps a bit over 3 miles from the finish. The last mile is a very steep downhill on bitumen , it tears at my quads . Through the finish I hear the announcer – Rick Whitehouse from Inverloch Victoria – British Columbia !! My watch says 6:27 which seems long but it turns out to be 16th out of 60 and 588th out of ?1500 + .
After a bit of recovery and returning the bike we make the long walk back to the camp and chilled . Just prior to sunset we were treated to one of the Wildflower traditions when the Cal Poly volunteers ditched the clothes and went for the nudie run,


  1. Raeleigh says:

    Rick, it was so fun cheering you on and so amazing to see a Barras race suit on this side of the Pacific! Good no you for making such a great memory, yes, you are a Wildflower!!!!

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