The Wildflower Triathlon - Long Course

May 5, 2007

Rick Ferrell, Dave Delucchi and I did this year's half-Ironman distance race at Lake San Antonio. We converged at the Delucchi's, where Diane sent us off with a tin full of yummy cookies. First stop was in King City for a mexican dinner - we decided those detonating microwaved eggs of last year was a sign - a sign we should eat out this time! We had cool windy conditions on the drive down. Like last year, Ferrell scored a room at the base housing at Fort Hunter-Liggett. With time on my hands at this point, I documented (perhaps over-documented??), these pre-race moments... Stuffing gear bags, making race nutrition decisions, general joking around, followed by sleepy time watching "The Game" - a '90's era Michael Douglas movie.


Dave & Rick, feeling confident of tomorrow's race

Doubt, creeping in on Ferrell?

5:30am race day, I'm showing the effects of a night on the roll-out bed

Ferrell, totally focused on getting that PB exactly positioned correctly before applying the J.

Packing in the bikes... morning temperature: 38F. Chilly!

Diane made Rick promise to get her guy to the race in time - no last second Ferrell-style arrivals! We're all smiles as we leave with plenty 'o time to spare

Re-assembling those bikes, at the camping area above the Lake

Ready to bike down the hill to the race venue

Race number / goodies bag pickup (although I understand the goodies were a little hard to find this year)


Relax, Rick - this won't hurt a bit

Dave in his yellow beanie, submits...

Delucchi in full SuperHero beanie and spandex, next to plain old black&white Nolthenius

The Three Amigos

As always, the race volunteers were mostly attractive young college women. Nice!

A vast sea of triathletes for today's Long Course and the Mountain Bike Course races

Dave hydrates with some Gatorade

I'm ready, right?

The three of us got into the 65F water before our wave went off at 9am. I was strictly a bandit here, bringing along a swim cap of similar color to the 45-49 age group caps. Usually I start the swim near the middle and go wide to avoid the pirahna-like opening frenzy. But I was feeling good about my swimming ability after a solid few months of training, and went out at the front of the wave start and swam hard/hard/hard till the narrow boat ramp area widened out. Mistake! I was anaerobic for a big chunk of the race. But going wide I did avoid getting badly hacked by the melee... till after the turn and getting about 2/3 of the way through the 1.2 mile swim course. That's when the lead pack of the next wave caught up and suddenly I was being swum over and through by a tight pack of 3 guys. One (two? all three?) hooked my arm and sprained my right shoulder and wrist. Took me a little time to pull things back together. Actually, it was a tougher swim pretty much the whole way because the high winds made for a very strong chop. Every other breath was mostly water instead of air. This also contributed to the anaerobic feel. But I swam my heart out and gave it everything I had, no regrets as far as not giving 100%. Came out of the water at 38:10. This compares with previous times of 38:04 in '94, 38:18 in '95, and 37:59 in '96, so it's good to see that despite my bad hip preventing me from the aerobic fitness of the mid '90's, and being a decade older as well... that I haven't lost anything in the water. I feel we all could've chopped a good minute or two with calmer waters. I hobbled up the boat ramp to the bike transition (swim kicking is bad on my hip too), and enjoyed watching the rest of the swimmers start their transitions. As I got to the aid station at the top, I heard the announcer say Rick Ferrell was starting his bike leg. Delucchi came in from his swim at this time and I rooted him on as he started his transition. I then had a couple of hours to wander around and look for good photo subjects before Rick and Dave came in to start their run.

The swim / bike aid station, attractively manned.

Kids had fun supporting their dad's and mom's race efforts.



Endless Pool demo.

Cal Poly girls welcome the first finishers from the mountain bike race.

Rick gets his head turned by a Cal Poly cutie? Focus, Ferrell! Actually, it was a tough bike leg. Strong head winds out there. His bike training has been strong though and he gained on the competition here.

Ferrell starts his run, dukes up and ready for a fight.

Punching the start of that run split.

Dave begins a strong run to try and reel in Ferrell.

A very typical spectator... nice for spectators of spectators who've finished their swim race!

I suspect IceMan here suffered big on the run after dealing with those high winds on the bike.

Wildflower uber-triathlete Dean Harper won the first race 25 years ago, and won his age group every year since... except this one. Toughest conditions of all of them, says Dean, was this year's.

Rick finishes 27th/185 finishers in the 45-49 age group with a solid 5h:38m:45s total; 383 overall in a field of 1397.

...albeit listing a bit to the right with a sprained ankle not yet healed.

A few minutes later, Dave's explosive sprint almost gets past my fast camera work as he crosses the finish line. He's trained hard on his running and picked up 6 minutes on Rick on the final leg. 5h:46m:56s total, good for 37th/185, 433/1397 of all male finishers

Packing up... and still listing to the right on that ankle.

Pull it together, Rick - this is your hero shot!

Checking results. Swim results were not broken down by age group, and I don't know how my 38:10 compares to the 50-54 age groupers.

Well done, amigos


On the drive home - carbo's reloaded

It was an adventure, it was fun, and it was great company all the way...

The Three Amigos w/Burritos. Thanks for making it all so memorable, guys!