About Me

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Austin, Texas, United States
I'll make you laugh, or break my neck trying. This is usually accomplished with daily bouts of swimming, biking and running. A former "chub-a-holic," I got fit and healthy the good old fashioned way and went from a mid-pack athlete to top age group runner and triathlete. I'm a Writer and USAT Level 1 Certified Triathlon Coach. I guess that makes me part Tina Fey and part Jillian Michaels. Visit my coaching site at www.fomotraining.com

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Random Pics and Musings from Wildflower Weekend (and the REAL reason it's called the Woodstock of Triathlon)

We hadn't even made it to the race site and had to stop at a winery in Paso Robles

Meeting Annie and Erica from Erin Baker's Wholesome Baked Goods (my team!) They hooked me up with loads of product and a rockin' race kit!

Just a smattering of the thousands of tents, campers and RVs that were strewn throughout the park. It was rainy and chilly on Friday, but race day was absolutely perfect!!

This was our "tent" for the weekend...a Chrysler Town and Country Minivan. We used the foam from our bike boxes and bought sleeping bags and pillows at Walmart...It was like a damn Four Seasons! (PS--I tried on the Erin Baker's Race Kit)

Keeping our tootsies warm in our $3 fake crocs from Walmart.

Hannah Montana and camouflage...We are stylish

Getting ready on race morning! It was cool, but the rain had stopped. Perfect race conditions.

Thousands of bikes in transition. The Long Course was the same day as the Mountain Bike race.

The first of MANY hills on the race course...a long and steep run out of the water and up to transition.

That long steep climb continues...Transition area still not even in view.

Shawn looking like he's ready for more after finishing!

Wine Tasting in and around the Paso Robles area the day after the race. We started at 10am and hit 8 wineries.

Clearly not caring what I looked like the day after the race! I got to pick out my own wine glass. "Zin Bitch" was a no-brainer.

And the real reason that Wildflower is called the "Woodstock of Triathlon"

...wait for it...

wait for it...

wait for it....

Random Musings About Wildflower Triathlon

* Everyone should do this event at least once in their "career." It's such a unique experience.

* They have race logistics down to a "t" complete with shuttles that took you DOWN the steep hill (that you had to run down the next day). Camping was well organized and there were plenty of showers (albeit cold) and toilets (bring your own rolls of TP).

* Transition area stayed open all morning, which was cool because you could keep going back to your area if you forgot something.

* Location is in the middle of nowhere, but the surroundings were truly beautiful. It was like the Hill Country on 'roids.

* Getting to watch the pros come out of the water was cool and watching Potts fall over his bike in transition was even cooler (at least I now know he's human). Of course, he still won the race.

* Bad cell service--not necessarily a bad thing!

* Tents aren't necessary when you have a stow-n-go minivan and a couple of foam pads and sleeping bags!

* Mandatory trip to Walmart... water, crocs, paper plates, chairs, pillows, cooler, and plenty of bagels and peanut butter for the weekend!!

Race Course

* Swim course was awesome even though lake level was low and you could see the bottom. Also, it was a shocking 63-64 degrees, but warmed up perfectly as the swim progressed.

* Running up ramp from lake to T1--not so much fun when you're trying to breathe and unzip wetsuit at the same time. Made for a longer than usual transition.

* Bike Course--lordy, lordy, lordy...Quick breakdown: first 10 miles = HARD, middle 30 miles = flat to rolling, last 15 Miles = DAMN YOU WILDFLOWER!

* Beach Hill and Nasty Grade are forever etched in my skull!! Fortunately, I had no intentions of going fast so I just plunked it in the easiest gear and took my time getting up the hills. No hammering of the quads--I had heard how brutal the run was...

* I feared the course going in and vowed to not work too hard on the bike. I really just wanted to practice CDA pacing (16-18mph). I averaged 16.8, which was perfect because I felt great when I got off the bike! During the middle 30 miles, I actually had my average at 18mpgh, but it dropped to a lovely 16.5 during the two miles of Nasty Grade.

* Nasty Grade is from Mile 41-44 ish...The view from the summit is actually worth the climb. The descent is horrifying for a wuss like me.

*You desperately want the hills to be over when you finish Nasty Grade, but they are not...far from it...

* Celebrity Moment--conversing with Triathlete stud and writer Scott Tinley going up Nasty Grade. We spoke on and off for the next few miles. He was only doing the bike portion and was bragging that he was going to have a beer and a margarita while I was running the half-marathon.

* The run--while I was coming in on the bike, I actually saw several people stretching out cramps on the run. Uh oh...

* 60% trail/40% pavement

* I took it really easy and was averaging about 8:45s on the first three miles. I could've gone faster, but I'm glad I didn't. Mile 4 was a bee-otch! Major trail climb. Thought I could keep running, but I found myself walking with everybody else on that monster.

* For the first time in a while, my run mojo was on and there were no signs of leg cramps...gradually started picking up the pace. Passing people left and right and damn it felt good. Afterall, I did have some ground to make up.

* Mile 10 has a long decline. Most of the time, I welcome downhill running, but this one didn't seem to end and I could see the look on the faces of the people walking back up. For the first time, I wanted the downhill to stop.

* Saw my buddy Jeff from Austin. Good to get a personal shout-out!

* Coming back up, I was feeling particularly strong (relative to others who were walking the hill). Made brief conversation with another strong runner decked out in AVIA gear. She was motoring along...She also made note of the fact that she was only doing a run relay. I ended up chicking her. Hell yeah, I did.

* One more uphill climb and then the quad buster downhill on Lynch Hill for the last mile. Seriously, this hill is insane to go up or down! Fortunately, I never did cramp up so I attacked that hill with everything I had.

* Finished strong and felt so proud that I had a good race. Not my fastest time, but I expected to be much slower.

* Felt weird wearing my Erin Baker's Tri Uniform, and not my usual T3 blue. Not a good or bad thing--just different.

* Honestly, I also liked being at a race where I could be "incognito" and not have the pressure of teammates, friends, etc. who have certain expectations of what you should do. It was very liberating in a sense and alleviated tons of unnecessary self-imposed pressure.

* I will do the race again, but not in 2010 because I'll be doing IM St. George--another whopper!!

So my final numbers:

13th out of 90 in age group!

33rd out of water

26th on the bike

6th on the run
Next time I may push a little harder on the bike, but I will NEVER run naked!


CoachLiz said...

Those are some awesome standings!

Way to go! I am not sure if you have convinced me that I have to do this race with all that insane climbing. At least in Austin you have hills. We don't have those in Houston.

CoachLiz said...


I just saw the pic of the naked runners when I flipped back.

That is too funny. It brings back memories of Switzerland, LOL!

Richard said...

Hmm... never? Suuure... We all know why you two are heading back in 2011 :)

greyhound said...

Why does it have to be the weiner patrol that runs around nekkid?

You did a very smart race. I had the spirit sucked right out of me by the time I started the run, each time. And I let mile 4 get into my dome.

muna said...

Well, at least they weren't wearing compression socks...anywhere! We know you hate those. :)

Congratulations on killing your goal time. You're looking incredibly fit and putting down some great times. Keep up the great work!

Trihardist said...

Congrats on the race! I'm so jealous, although I did not at all miss seeing all the male triathletes' junk; seems like I always end up camping just down the road from Cal Poly. Would have loved to have been there.