Wildflower (Olympic) Race Report
by Melissa Le Roux
Wildflower is the team’s last major race of the season, but it happened to be my first Olympic distance triathlon. The week before the race I was completely torn whether or not to compete. On the one hand, it was my last chance this season to race with the team, but on the other hand, I had only been back to light training for a month after being on crutches for 6 weeks! I was very nervous that I would not be able to finish, but after going back and forth on the decision, Coach Kim convinced me two days prior to the race that I would be fine.
Alex, Vivien, Jason and I left San Diego 7am on Saturday morning and had a beautiful drive up the 101. Along the way, we stopped for lunch/coffee in Santa Barbara where we met a nice pair of hipsters who assisted us with parking. We arrived at the campsite in good time near the end of the long course race which looked very intense! I can’t imagine ever doing a race that long and kudos to all the athletes and relay teams who competed! We didn’t arrive early enough to see our athletes finish, but heard that they all did awesome and there were some first place finishes in the relay! After arriving, we met the rest of the team at the campsite, went to pick up our race numbers, and did a short pre-race ride/run. We then had a lovely pre-race dinner (thanks TCSD!), and went to sleep in our tents early.
Our alarms all went off at 6:00am and we awoke to a wet and freezing morning. The worst part of the morning was biking to set up transition down Lynch hill, I thought my fingers were going to fall off! Instead of taking the bus, Alex, Katie, Vivien, and I decided to warm up by walking the two miles to the swim start. I was a bit nervous about not wearing a wetsuit for the swim, but because it was so cold outside the lake felt like Canyonview!
The men’s collegiate race began at 9:00 and my wave started at 9:05. The swim start was not as bad as I had anticipated, I was expecting to be roughed around more but was barely touched. I kept forgetting to look where I was swimming and went off-course a few times, but overall the swim felt good. The up-hill transition to the first run went smoothly for me, and the 2 mile run to the main transition area felt great! I was able to pass quite a lot of people in this run. Next was the bike, which was by far the toughest portion of the race for me. The bike course was out and back consisting of mostly rolling hills. I felt like I would never reach the turn- around, and it didn’t help that I thought the distances posted along the course were in miles (they were in kilometers). Maybe getting clipped in will make the bike portion of the next triathlon I do easier. The Cal Poly SLO volunteers definitely helped get me through the 25-mile course, they were so fun and encouraging! After the bike was the final 4-mile portion of the run. I was pleasantly surprised to have feeling in my legs when I got off the bike (in contrast to the one sprint triathlon I have done). Near the beginning of the run course, there was a brutal hill that seemed to go on forever, but after that hill was done, the rest of the course wasn’t too bad. The SLO volunteers were magnificent again and I appreciated the water splashes they threw on us racers! The end of the run was all downhill and led to the finish where there was much needed food. It felt great to finish my first Olympic distance!
Overall, Wildflower was a tough but fun experience! The race was very well organized and I was amazed that the other competitors were so supportive and encouraging during the race. I definitely felt a bond not only with my teammates but also with all the other competitors around me, and I think that was one of the best parts of the triathlon! Everybody on the team worked hard and concluded the season strong! I am very glad that I was able to be a part of this awesome team this season and am looking forward to next year!