May 10, 2012 in Events, Race Recap

2012 Wildflower Triathlons Recap – From Ambassador Chris Cloyd

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By Big Blue Adventure Ambassador Chris Cloyd

[dropcap]N[/dropcap] ot many campgrounds are littered with energy gel wrappers (typically the domain of Keystone Light cans), but not many ever see the likes of the Wildflower Triathlons, either. It’s a remarkable thing to gather 7,500 type-A weirdos into one place for the sake of a few races, but it’s an entirely more impressive sight to see 35,000+ additional people out supporting our endeavors.

I’ve never felt more supported as an athlete than at Wildflower this past weekend.

The weather was perfect for those of us that started in the 9 AM hour, although I don’t envy those who got the 10 or 11 AM starts (it got HOT out there!). All 2,000 of us racing the Olympic distance race on Sunday milled about the transition area with enthusiasm and a little bit of angst as we awaited our start in Lake San Antonio.

The swim was well-controlled by the volunteer staff, and the course was well-marked. Big props to the organizers on this accomplishment – it’s never an easy task. The bike leg was a lot hillier than I expected, but the rollers and wind lent me a nice advantage (coming from the high Sierra). It was a thrill to fly through the lake roads and be surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of other athletes – it felt more like a mass-start bike race that a triathlon at times!

Coming into T2, I steadied myself for the challenging half-trail/half-road run and got ready to put it all on the line. I knew I had pushed the bike a little harder than I anticipated, but sometimes you’ve got to roll the dice. It’s a race, isn’t it?

The run was a remarkable thing – literally every kilometer was lined with Cal Poly volunteers and families and friends of the athletes. You couldn’t run 100 meters without someone cheering for you, offering you a spray of water from a hose or squirtgun, or offering you a cold beer (temptation is a cruel mistress…..). The hordes of supporters made for a run that felt as good as any race effort I’ve ever been a part of – you ran on courage knowing that you had the support of so many great people on the road. By the time I passed the last of the beer girls (my high fives to the Ironathlete team and the SquareOne girls – they did it right!), I hardly realized that the finish was in sight. I let them know that I’d be back for a beer after the finish, kept sprinting toward the finishing chute, and rallied in on the last of my strength. The finishing chute alone is worth the trip – it was truly DEAFENING. So many supporters and a handful of large-lunged announcers made it a one-of-a-kind finish. What a race!

I trotted back up to the top of Lynch Hill to fulfill my commitment to the “beer corner” residents only to find out that while I vowed my return for a beer after the race, Chris McCormack (who finished 1st by a more-than-respectable margin) actually STOPPED for a beer during his run! Maybe that’s the secret??

Anyone feel like setting up a minibar on the south shore of Donner Lake come July 15th?

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Big Blue Adventure – Ambassador Profile

Age:  27

Events: Triathlon, Cycling

Hometown: Squaw Valley, Calif.

Chris is the manager of Truckee’s new Performance Training Center, by Julia Mancuso.


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