A different sort of Wildflower triathlon weekend this year, in many ways. I was not run-ready and so didn't sign up. I'd planned to still be there, and jump in for the swim and maybe the bike if I could work out the logistics. But first, on Saturday late afternoon, my niece Stephanie was getting married and so the first goal was to drive myself from Santa Cruz to south of Yucaipa - over 500 miles. I camped out at Cabrillo Observatory Friday night and got on the road early, side-stepped LA by driving through the desert, and arrived at the wedding venue in the mountains south of Yucaipa by 3:30pm. The wedding came off just fine, and it was good seeing so many family members I had not seen for some time. I ended up staying longer than I'd planned - I didn't leave till 8pm. I'd hoped to make it to Paso Robles for the night, but by midnight I was only just getting through the mountains east of Bakersfield on Hwy 58, and was too tired to continue. I made the decision to stop at Carrizo Plain National Monument and throw my sleeping bag out on the ground for a few hours sleep. Up at dawn, I was driving by 7am, and surprised by the strong winds and cold temperatures as I drove over the dam at Lake Naciemento and looked at the waves on the water. It felt like a winter day, as a cold front blew in. I arrived at the entrance road to Lynch campground area, where I parked, set up my bike, got my gear bag packed, and biked the last few miles down to the race start. The race has over 2000 competitors, and the wave starts were already well underway. My wave was almost the last, going off at 10am. Riding in, I passed the first collegiate cyclists as I arrived at the entrance station, and at the top of Lynch Hill I was directed to dismount and walk my bike down the dirt path to the festival area. Couldn't afford the time to do this! Oh well... I got to the bottom and only had time to toss my bike in the bushes and dash to the fence rail overlooking the swim start, and photograph Dave and Rick as the gun went off for our wave.

I pondered... maybe I could still get on my wetsuit and try to join the final wave - the women 20+ years old? My mind flashed forward - surely they'd nab me. What could I say - that I really was a 20-something young woman and just not very pretty and I'm really really sensitive about it and stop bugging me? Yeah - that wouldn't fly. And it was clearly not going to be possible to get onto the bike course again. So, I decided I'd get photos of Dave and Rick's swim and bike start, then I'd make my way over to the run start and jump in for the 10K. Not what I'd wanted, as I knew my left hip psoas tendinitis was going to act up...

My beautiful niece, Stephanie, dancing the Macarena with Dad

Nephew Adam's impossibly adorable daughter

More grand nieces and new little relatives, all cuter than you can imagine

A 4+ hr drive from the wedding got me only to Carrizo Plain, where I drove a mile or two off into the wilds and threw down my sleeping bag. Next morning at dawn, I'm ready for the last 90 minutes of driving to Interlake Rd.

Lake San Antonio from the top of Lynch Hill. If you look close, you'll see swimmers

The men's wave age 60+, my wave, started without me! Here, the mens 50-59 age groups is off

Rick and Dave are in there somewhere

The cool high winds made for lots of chop and currents which made for a slow swim for all. Rick gets in just under 30 minutes.

Ferrell ramping up

Dave was still recovering from his cardio issues and decided to take it easy on the swim, going wide around the bouys, and 3 minutes behind Ferrell


Ferrell was already on the bike course by the time I got over to the transition. Here, Dave's on his way

Clip in, and attack Lynch Hill

Cal Poly girls - ready to be of service!

I cheered on the college team competitors for around 15 minutes before going to the run start...

....and doing the 10K myself

Left hip tendonitis slowed me down, but I kept up a pace better than I expected

I ran the last 2 miles with this runner, who had only half the legs I did. Pretty tough.

Another tough guy - tougher than most of us, for sure

Finish in sight. My run time was 1hr 4min, which was, injuries considered, not bad.

Dean Harper - past winner of this biggest triathlon on the west coast - and now in his 60's, continues to crush his age group every year

I love seeing moments like this!

Ferrell sprinting in

Good strong finish

I do believe the "Ferrell Lean" to the right is straighening itself out. Good straight ahead form.

Dave was just a few minutes after Rick, as they pretty much kept their spacing after the swim

Comparing notes

Results: Rick, just a few minutes away from winning the 50-55 age group, instead got 6th, Doh! Dave was 10th. Here's the results page


As per usual - the Wildflower Burrito finished the celebration.

Then we gathered gear, pushed our bikes up the dirt path to the campground, and on to Rick's car where we said our farewells. I biked onward to Interlake Rd and my car, and headed home. Thank you, all, for a stellar weekend!