The Wildflower Olympic Triathlon - Ferrell gets in for free now since he's done the race over 20 times. Heck, it's an annual tradition! This year I decided to economize and just do the swim and run(s) and skip the registration. It would be a different experience... the lake has pretty much dried up, what with 2013 being the driest year in California's recorded history. There was still some water down near the dam, so the swim was going to be at the lower boat launch, followed by a 2.2 mile run back to the usual bike transition at Lynch, and then after the standard 25 mile (40k) bike, a 4.0 mile run which included Beach Hill, for a total of a little more than 10 kilometers.

"May the 4th be with you"; corny, but effective! I heard this all weekend in the media - it is "Star Wars Day". Ferrell says this is his final Wildflower Triathlon, as other priorities take over. We determined to make it a good one, and we succeeded.The race was Sunday. Our plan was executed: leave mid afternoon Saturday from Rick's, stop in King City for our usual burrito grab, continue on to Fort Hunter-Liggett and encamp at the base lodge.

Bikes, foam roller, the usual tri paraphernalia... packed and ready!

King City - we're in the chips!

We get through security, get our keys, and arrive at the lodging - our same room as last year, with a nice view of William Randolf Hearst's old hunting lodge

Mr Coffee - the most important item in Rick's cosmology of stuff

Burrito and beer time

Stretching my hip, before a short run at sunset around the base perimeter

Showers, some roller work on our legs... and then we were ready to watch a movie to wind down the evening. Ferrell got "Breaking Away", a classic from 1979. I slept on the floor, again... there was some talk about there being two beds but in the end - nope. Well, good firm bedding is always good before a race

5:20am and Mr Coffee starts making gurgling noises. Ferrell has his usual pre-race breakfast of cereal and bread. I have a couple hard boiled eggs and my power smoothie.

Around the corner was the complimentary breakfast room.. and I ran into Scott Adams, from Berkeley, and always provides effective competition at these races

Re-packing. Mr Coffee gets the honored spot, on top of my poor bike

30 minutes later, we're parked at the campground above Lynch. 100lb pressure ought to be about right.

Down at the check-in, buses would take us to swim start

Ferrell draws a beastly race number

The long long boat ramp to the remnants of Lake San Antonio, is on the left

Is our next door neighbor in the transition zone is predicting victory? She actually did finish quite well. Meanwhile, Ferrell is trying to figure out the swim bouy turns

Rick and Scott strategize

The first college team competitors emerge from the swim

My swim was not epic... I just felt under-trained - in fact, I was undertrained. My energy this year has gone into running, and my swim workouts have been lacking. It showed. The first half of the swim was into the sun and it was hard to navigate. The last half went better and I felt recovered from being slightly anerobic during the first 10 minutes. But I couldn't catch Ferrell. I got out, did the long run up the steep concrete boat ramp to our transition spot, and he was laughing at my late appearance. So often we emerge from the water neck-and-neck... I regularly swim faster in the pool, but he often catches me in the competitions. Grr! This time he beat me by a full 44 seconds. I vow revenge at Bass Lake!

Time to suit up. Our wave goes off at 10:05am

Grab shot during swim transition.

Run #1, along the shoreline road by the "lake"...

...which has evaporated.

The last mile, we're running on the lake bottom. Bizarre, considering how many times I've run this race and would have been underwater here. That's what happens during the worst drought in California history.

This is where I'd normally be SWIMMING to halfway up the ramp.

A grab shot with a different angle on things. I got to the timing mat, and didn't continue into the bike transition. I had an hour to rest before doing my own run #2.

This race is the national collegiate team championships, and the collegiates were off the bike and onto run #2 now.

Cal Poly students at the aid stations were super once again. I was pretty self-sufficient with my own Gu's, but I did take a cup of water from this nice coed

Son-of-a Beach-Hill!

Buzzards circling overhead - not the right tone to set for heading into the last mile.

Ferrell sprinting in, 100 yards out

...20 yards...

Great effort, Rick! (don't let the time fool you - clock started with the first pro's LONG before we got in the water)


done, and fully baked!


Results: Rick takes 3rd, Scott takes 8th in their age groups. Darn good in such a large race field

Hardware for Ferrell! Announced by Julie Moss at left

"where's my water?" And so ends another Wildflower Adventure - we debark!


Ferrell had a strong race and ended up 3rd by a comfortable margin when the race was over. Scott took 8th. Top 10 both! Congratulations!

  Swim T1 Run#1 T2 Bike T3 Run#2 Run (total) Div Place Total
Rick Nolthenius 26:41 6:30 22:50       42:35 1:05:25    
Scott Adams                    
Rick Ferrell 25:57