The Wildflower Triathlon is known as the “Woodstock” of triathlons, mostly for the camping and must elements of the event. In 2016 my wife and I took the trip to Lake San Antonio in our motor home for the adventure. Sure, it took time to make it happen, but it was worth it. The sign 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 curse highlight is the triathlon bike course. It’s a challenging trek through the scenic countryside, the Long Course option includes a 56-mile bike ride through all the hills valleys and wildflowers. While we won’t hear Jimi Hendrix playing the star spangled banner on his guitar, there will be local bands to set the tone. 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 all ages there. 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.
One of the reasons I will always return to the “Woodstock” of triathlons is the camping atmosphere and 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 it’s main brewery in Paso Robles. Alongside the competition will run the “wellness festival” with festivities that include an art bar, wellness space, yoga retreat, kayak rentals, and the Wildflower Marketplace to shop for handcrafted and artisan goods.
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, and there are more sponsors too. Thank them for reviving Wildflower!
Head 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.
The 2018 Wildflower Experience runs May 4-6th at Lake San Antonio with offerings for team or individual competitions.