Behind the Lens at IRONMAN Boulder

By Khem Suthiwan

As a four-time IRONMAN finisher, I’ve really enjoyed being on the other side of the proverbial “fence.” Not only does it give you a way to experience the race without all the training, but the change in perspective gives you a true appreciation of all the moving parts that makes race day happen.

Being behind the lens and capturing so many special moments, you realize there are stories with each grimace, smile, sigh, and hug. One by one as they crossed the finish line, I couldn’t help think about how they’ve been through hell and back…and not just on race day. But every day since the submit button on the registration form was pushed. Because of this I feel some level of responsibility in capturing as many moments as I can, and because of this I thought it would be a good idea to put these thoughts to paper (well, the internet in this case) and share with you all some things I’ve learned and experienced as an amateur race photographer. So here are a few considerations, including some that I’ve shared with the athletes I coach, for the next time you race, spectate, or volunteer at an event.

This guy clearly didn’t get the memo regarding finish line smiles
See! This guy knows how to smile!

Smile. Especially if a camera is pointed at you. You’ll soon forget about all the pain, even if it’s for a quick moment. Otherwise, you’ll have this not so pleasant look in all your race photos and someone will probably hijack it and incorporate it in a meme, or ship you some Metamucil for Christmas. You don’t want that, do you?

Finish Line Catchers. If you’re waiting for your person at the finish line, give them a few moments alone in the spotlight to celebrate their accomplishment before rushing in to hug them. They’ve earned it. Plus, your backside will be forever etched in your friend’s finish line photo, ruining a perfect moment they spent the last 6-8 months training for. Don’t be a dream killer. There were a few times I just gave up and couldn’t take any photos because there were so many people congregating with an athlete. More is not always better in this situation. A volunteer actually heard an athlete tell their friend who was hugging her while jumping up and down, “I’m going to throw up on you if you don’t get off me.” So there’s that potential biological hazard to worry about too.

Sprinting to the Finish Line. Athletes, before you get to the finish line, look in front and behind you. Allow the person in front to have their 5 seconds of fame. Don’t go sprinting to the finish (which means you had way too much gas left in the tank, but that’s a different discussion). You’ll end up ruining finish line photos of two people. Your fellow athlete and YOURS! In this case, photo-bombing is not cool, so don’t do it. Unless you’re okay with being THAT guy…or in my case, that girl from Japan who sprinted past me in the finish line chute in Kona only to hear Mike Reilly call my name first, and then hers as an afterthought because she couldn’t wait. She will be forever known as THAT girl. Choose wisely folks.

This guy, partied a little too much at the finish line. Last call was 2 hours ago. Nice photo bomb buddy.  #FacePalm (pictured here – Meredith Botnick)

Celebrate and Get Out of the Way! If there’s another athlete finishing behind you, be courteous and do your end-zone touchdown dance and clear out. The person behind you should also have the opportunity to celebrate their finish…WITHOUT you in their picture. A set of triplets crossed the finish line at IRONMAN Boulder and spent what seemed like an eternity dancing around the finish line arch. A friend of mine along with several other athletes, were completely robbed of their finish line moment because of these three guys. She was only planning on racing one IRONMAN, so there’s no redo. Thanks guys, thanks a lot.

Distractions. There is nothing more fun at a race than seeing so many friends out racing and spectating. However, there is a time and place for catching up. Working media at a race is an entirely different beast. Not only are we tracking our own friends, but we are also keeping tabs on professional and notable athletes. Time is of essence and we are constantly looking at our watches and athlete trackers. Figuring out where to be and what part of the course. Sometimes we have a short window to use the restroom or grab a quick bite. If we seem distracted and not paying attention to you, it’s not because we don’t care. We have a job to do and don’t want to miss out on capturing special race moments. At IRONMAN Boulder, each Colorado-based athlete had a 303 sticker on their race bib (we hope to continue this tradition). Our mission was to take as many photos of these athletes along with many others. Being ready to point and shoot while two people are chattering in each ear takes sensory overload to a different level.

This is what happens when you leave the Garmin alone. An awesome finish line photo! (pictured here – Justin Maples)

Look Up and Leave the Garmin ALONE! No one on Strava is going to care that your Garmin went over by 20 seconds. Your official finish time will be based on your timing chip, not your GPS tracking device. And if you are wearing a cap or visor, look up. We can’t see your pretty/handsome face if you are looking down at the ground. There’s nothing there but red carpet, concrete, and puddles of puke from the last person whose friend wouldn’t stop jumping up and down and hugging him. Eyes up folks!

Even with all these tips, sometimes the best photos are those capturing the human spirit. You might think you look awful, but someone else might be inspired by that image. Try to look beyond the ratty hair, salt stained clothing, and sunburnt limbs. Because behind that crusty and rough exterior is an awesome story of how that person woke up one day and decided they were going to be an IRONMAN.

You have one shot at an epic finish line photo. Aaron Pendergraft obviously has a lot of practice perfecting this valuable skill. Way to go Aaron!!!

Khem Suthiwan is a 4-time IRONMAN finisher (Canada, Lake Tahoe, Arizona, and Kona), triathlon coach with Mile High Multisport, IRONMAN Foundation Ambassador Athlete, and staff content editor/media correspondent with 303 Endurance Network. In addition to triathlon, she also races for the Palmares Racing cycling team in road and cyclocross. She’s an avid skier, SCUBA dives, and as a Colorado resident since January 2001 – enjoys all things Colorado. On December 31, 2017, she reached Everest Base Camp (elev. 17,600′, 5,380m) after trekking for 8 days in Nepal. If she’s not racing, you can find her out on the course supporting her friends.

IRONMAN Boulder and IRONMAN Boulder 70.3 Is Here to Stay Through 2020

Having IRONMAN Boulder withdrawals? Well, we have good news to share! Clear out and make room in your race calendar for the next couple of years!

IRONMAN BOULDER AND IRONMAN 70.3 BOULDER EXTENDED THROUGH 2020

Boulder to continue to host exceptional race experience for an additional two years

TAMPA, Fla./BOULDER, Colo. (June 6, 2018) – IRONMAN, a Wanda Sports Holdings company, in partnership with the City of Boulder and the Boulder Convention and Visitors Bureau, have agreed to extend their partnership with the continuation of the IRONMAN® Boulder and IRONMAN 70.3® Boulder triathlons through 2020.

“Boulder is a city that provides a tremendous amount of support to the triathlon community while embracing the IRONMAN spirit,” said Tim Brosious, Race Director for IRONMAN Boulder. “We are thrilled to continue our partnership through 2020 and grow the rich culture that the sport has instilled in Boulder. We are looking forward to this weekend’s race as we continue IRONMAN events in this area.”

Located at the foot of the Flatiron Mountains, Boulder provides a central vacationing and training location for triathletes. The city’s health-conscious culture, refreshing weather and picturesque Colorado mountain views provide a sensational venue for athletes and spectators.

“We have been a proud sponsor of IRONMAN Boulder for five years,” said Tom McGann, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Boulder Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Our working relationship with IRONMAN and the City of Boulder have only strengthened and grown during this time, and we are happy to announce the Boulder Convention and Visitors Bureau has committed to continuing our sponsorship of this event for 2019-2020”.

The 2018 IRONMAN Boulder will take place on June 10, 2018, while the IRONMAN 70.3 Boulder will be held on August 4, 2018. Over 4,000 athletes are registered for the 2018 events and approximately 20,000 spectators are expected to attend the races. A dedicated team of over 2,500 volunteers helps to make the event successful. The IRONMAN Foundation will distribute $60,000 in charitable giveback to non-profit initiatives and groups in the Boulder region in 2018.

“The City of Boulder is excited to continue to host both IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 events over the coming years,” added Michael Eubank, Special Events Manager from the City of Boulder. “We look forward to what’s in store with this established partnership that brings race participants and our community together.”

Since first debuting in 2014, IRONMAN Boulder has become a staple in the IRONMAN race circuit. The race begins with a one-loop, 2.4-mile swim in the Boulder Reservoir, followed by a multi-loop, 112-mile bike course contained within Boulder County, featuring several pronounced climbs. Athletes then embark on a 26.2-mile marathon run from the Boulder Reservoir through residential neighborhoods to downtown Boulder and onto the Boulder Creek Trail, winding along the creek and through city parks. The finish line is on Pearl Street located in the heart of downtown Boulder.

IRONMAN 70.3 Boulder also provides athletes with a scenic and challenging course. Participants begin their journey with a 1.2-mile swim in the Boulder Reservoir, followed by a fast and flowing 56-mile single loop bike course through north Boulder County. The two-loop, 13.1-mile run course begins and ends at the Boulder Reservoir.

For more information, please visit www.ironman.com/boulder for the IRONMAN event and www.ironman.com/boulder 70.3 for the IRONMAN 70.3 event. Athlete inquiries may be directed to boulder@ironman.com and boulder70.3@ironman.com. For media inquiries, please email press@ironman.com.

Women for Tri Provides 450 Additional slots for 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships

400 Top performing female athletes based on 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 Age Group Rankings and 50 top performing female athletes from Standard Bank IRONMAN 70.3 Durban provided with additional bonus qualification spots
TAMPA, Fla. (May 7, 2018) – Women For Tri®, a program of the IRONMAN Foundation®, today announced that a total of 450 additional women have earned an invitation to race in the 2018 IRONMAN® 70.3® World Championship taking place in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa on September 1 and 2, 2018. After previously announcing 50 additional slots allocated to the Standard Bank IRONMAN 70.3 Durban race for top finishing female athletes, Women For Tri is providing 400 additional slots for top-ranked female athletes based on their total 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 Age Group Ranking (AGR) points. The additional slots will be utilized by Women For Tri, a program launched by IRONMAN to welcome and empower new female triathletes to be a part of the sport’s continued growth in high-level competition.

“We are excited to welcome top age-group athletes from around the world to this year’s IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in South Africa,” said Kyrsten Sinema, Chair of the Women For Tri Advisory Committee and U.S. Representative from Arizona. “Following in the footsteps of the women who raced in support of Women For Tri last year in Chattanooga, we hope the 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship inspires women around the world to reimagine their potential as triathletes.”

Allocating these 400 additional slots based on IRONMAN 70.3 AGR will create a deeper field of female athletes and maintain the integrity and prestige of an IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship event. The AGR system measures an athlete’s performance in IRONMAN 70.3 races throughout the 2018 qualifying year.

All net proceeds from the registration revenue of the 400 additional slots will go towards supporting Women For Tri’s TriClub grant program. To date, nearly $250,000 has been awarded by this program to TriClubs around the world to support women’s engagement initiatives, including bringing first-timers into the sport. Since its inception in 2015, Women For Tri has seen an 18% increase in female participation in IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 events, totaling more than 66,000 female athletes globally.

The IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship is the pinnacle event in the global IRONMAN 70.3 series. The 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship race will be a two-day event with the professional and age group women racing on Saturday, September 1 and the professional and age-group men racing on Sunday, September 2. Nearly 5,000 athletes will qualify to race in the 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship from among over 100 IRONMAN 70.3 races around the world throughout the 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 qualifying season.

For questions about Women For Tri programming, please contact womenfortri@ironman.com. For media related inquiries, please contact press@ironman.com.

Blind runners form a tight community

DENVER, CO – APRIL 22: Blind runner Amelia Dickerson, right, gets congratulated by her friend and guide Grace Dill, left, after finishing the 5 mile race of the 36th annual Cherry Creek Sneak road race on April 22, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. The race, which heralds spring in Colorado, includes a 10 mile race, a 5 mile run/walk, a 5K race and a kids 1/2 mile fun run. Thousands of people turned out for the annual event as the temperatures were cool but the skies were sunny making for a perfect race day. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)

From the Denver Post

By Danika Worthington

About 15 participants enjoy the social nature of race

Members of the tight-knit group pumped up one another at the starting line.

Shoes were retied last minute as the national anthem played from the speakers. When it finished, the announcer asked blind and visually impaired runners to come forward.

The group made their way up. Crosby, a guide dog for runner Kerry Kuck, stood at the front of the pack. The runners prepared for their starting cue, which was a minute before the rest of the participants tackled the 5-mile route at the annual Cherry Creek Sneak.

“Crosby the dog is going to lead the way,” the announcer barked out to the crowd. Then, the start was signaled. The runners and their guides took off, breaking away down the first stretch.

The Colorado Springs based U.S. Association of Blind Athletes partnered with Achilles Denver, the local chapter of an international organization that gives athletes with disabilities a community of support, and Lending Sight, a Colorado sports club that connects those with good vision with blind or visually impaired runners, to recruit about 15 runners and guides to race Sunday.

For some, the sport is about escaping isolation or exploring freedom. For others, it is a fun form of exercise. Regardless of the motivation, the athletes all expressed a similar theme: Blind runners have a tight community in Denver.

Read the full story

USA Triathlon Collegiate Club and High School National Championships

By Rich Soares
303Triathlon.com

USAT COLLEGIATE CLUB AND HIGH SCHOOL NATIONALS
TUSCALOOSA, AL
APRIL 27-28, 2018

Go to any high school or collegiate contest and you notice the unmistakable energy of youthful athletes and fans. School chants, fight songs and air horns fill the air, while flags, mascots and costumes create a visually vivid landscape. This weekend’s USA Triathlon Collegiate Club and High School Nationals delivered an experience that was exponentially more electric than your typical collegiate competition. A rolling sea of team tents covered 1100 athletes from 109 colleges. Schools from coast to coast brought their school spirit, competitiveness and the best demonstrations of sportsmanship at what is arguably the highest level of competition for High School and Collegiate triathletes.

While they competed fiercely for individual and team standings, athletes gave each other high-fives and hugs at the start and finish lines. They encouraged each other on the course and celebrated in the post-race ice bath pools. For all the competitive grit, sprint finishes, and gut-wrenching efforts, the culture of triathlon was evidenced in encouragement on the course and concern at the medical tent.

Due to heavy rainfall in Tuscaloosa the past two weeks, the Holt Dam spillway gates were opened by local officials to avoid flooding. Heightened volume in the Black Warrior River necessitated that the gates remain open through race weekend, resulting in overly strong currents that were deemed unsafe for swimming. USAT officials announced a course change mid-week. All races will be shifted from a triathlon (swim-bike-run) to a duathlon (run-bike-run) to ensure athlete safety.

Colorado teams had a great showing. At the Olympic distance, CU’s Men’s and Women’s teams came in second to the Naval Academy and UC Berkeley respectively. CSU Women placed 5th and Men 9th. USAFA Women came in 11th and Men’s 12th. Colorado School of Mines Women came in 47th and Men 55th. Combined scores put CU in 2nd, CSU in 7th, USAFA 9th and CSM in 49th.

CU Buffs Roy Madrid and Timothy Winslow finished 2nd and 3rd behind the University of California’s Sean Harrington, who took the Men’s race with a 1:33:58. The Women’s champion was Stephanie Murphy of US Naval Academy and CSU’s Katrina Lems was Colorado’s first Woman in 8th place. In the High School contest, Austin Podhajsky and Jack Deweerdt from Parker, Colorado took 2nd and 3rd respectively behind the Male winner Drew Shellenberger. Cassidy Hickey of Parker, Colorado took 2nd behind the Female winner Gillian Cridge.

 

NINE U.S. ELITE ATHLETES SET TO COMPETE AT ITU WORLD TRIATHLON BERMUDA ON SATURDAY

From USA Triathlon

Kasper earned her first career WTS medal in 2017. Scottie T/ITU Media

Kasper leads American contingent at No. 2 on women’s start list

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Nine U.S. elite athletes are set to compete on Saturday at ITU World Triathlon Bermuda, a first-time ITU World Triathlon Series destination.

The Olympic-distance race covers a 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike and 10-kilometer run. The action begins with a two-lap swim in the calm waters of Hamilton’s harbor. From there, athletes will complete 10 laps of a 4k bike course along the coastline, climbing and descending the infamous “Corkscrew Hill” with each lap. The four-lap run then takes competitors through the spectator-lined streets of downtown Hamilton and into the National Stadium for the finish.

The elite men race first at 12:06 p.m. ET (1:06 p.m. local time), and the elite women follow at 3:06 p.m. ET (4:06 p.m. local time). Both races will be broadcast live online at triathlonlive.tv. Both races will also air on NBC’s Olympic Channel, with coverage starting at 1 p.m. ET.

Six U.S. women will toe the line, led by Kristen Kasper (North Andover, Mass.) at No. 2 on the start list. Kasper has had a strong start to the 2018 season, collecting one gold and one silver in ITU World Cup events in addition to a fourth-place finish at the rainy and technical WTS season opener in Abu Dhabi. Katie Zaferes (Santa Cruz, Calif.) will be on the hunt for medals after crashing out of the Abi Dhabi race in March. Zaferes finished the 2017 WTS season ranked third overall, and has 11 career podiums in the series to date.

Taylor Spivey (Redondo Beach, Calif.), Taylor Knibb (Washington, D.C.), Summer Cook (Thornton, Colo.) and Chelsea Burns (Seattle, Wash.) will also be in the mix. Knibb and Spivey each cracked the WTS podium for the first time last year, earning silver medals in Leeds and Edmonton respectively. Cook was the 2016 ITU World Triathlon Edmonton champion and finished last season ranked ninth in the overall WTS standings. Burns has two ITU World Cup podiums to her name, but is still chasing her first WTS hardware.

The women will face a strong international field, headlined by Bermuda’s own two-time ITU world champion Flora Duffy. Duffy won six of the seven WTS races she started last year, and will be hard to beat as she races on the streets of her hometown. Also on the start list is Rachel Klamer of the Netherlands, who is the current WTS leader after taking the win in Abu Dhabi. Other top contenders on the women’s side include 2017 U23 World Championships silver medalist Melanie Santos of Portugal and Canada’s Joanna Brown, who finished the 2017 WTS season ranked seventh overall.

Visit wts.triathlon.org for a complete women’s start list.

Representing the U.S. in the men’s race are Ben Kanute (Phoenix, Ariz.), Kevin McDowell (Phoenix, Ariz.) and Eli Hemming (Kiowa, Colo). All three athletes had outstanding 2017 seasons, and all three earned USA Triathlon Athlete of the Year recognition (Kanute in the non-drafting category, McDowell in the draft-legal/ITU category and Hemming in the U23 category).

Kanute is coming off a strong 2017, highlighted by a second-place finish at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship and a win at the Island House Triathlon. He opened the 2018 season with a top-20 finish at the WTS season opener in Abu Dhabi, and followed that with a silver-medal performance at the Sarasota-Bradenton CAMTRI North American Championships.

McDowell earned two ITU World Cup medals in 2017, and has shown he is still in good form this year by placing top-10 at two ITU World Cup events in March. Hemming has also raced well to open the season. The 2017 U23 national champion topped the podium at the Clermont CAMTRI Sprint Triathlon American Cup in March, and a week later edged Kanute for the win at the Sarasota-Bradenton CAMTRI North American Championships.

Henri Schoeman of South Africa holds the No. 1 spot on the men’s start list. Schoeman has been unstoppable in 2018, taking the win in Abu Dhabi and earning the Commonwealth Games title a month later. Defending world champion Mario Mola of Spain is in the No. 2 position after placing second to Schoeman in Abu Dhabi. Other top contenders on the men’s start list include 2017 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final winner Vincent Luis and 2017 U23 World Championships silver medalist Dorian Coninx, both of France.

Visit wts.triathlon.org for a complete men’s start list.

ITU World Triathlon Bermuda is the second of nine stops on the circuit this year, including September’s ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Gold Coast, Australia.

From Montana and India, they became friends and training partners in Denver; Sunday they went 1-2 in Cherry Creek Sneak 10-miler

From The Denver Post

DENVER, CO – APRIL 22: Kailas Kokare, left, and Jordan Jones, second from right, congratulate their friend and competitor Seth Garbett, second from left, after Garbett won the 10 mile race of the 36th annual Cherry Creek Sneak road race on April 22, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. Kokare came in second and Jones came in 4th. The race, which heralds spring in Colorado, includes a 10 mile race, a 5 mile run/walk, a 5K race and a kids 1/2 mile fun run. Thousands of people turned out for the annual event as the temperatures were cool but the skies were sunny making for a perfect race day. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)

A pair of unlikely training partners — one from a small town in Montana, the other from a village in India — took the first two places Sunday in the Cherry Creek Sneak 10-miler. How Seth Garbett and Kailas Kokare became friends and roommates is an even more improbable story.

Garbett, who won Sunday in 51 minutes, 55 seconds, ran for Montana State after growing up in Darby, a town of 500 near the Montana-Idaho border by the Continental Divide. Kokare, who was second in 54:14, grew up poor in the hills near Mumbai and lost his right hand when he was a year old after placing it in a fire while his mother was distracted.

They met last summer through a mutual friend. When Kokare needed a place to stay, Garbett and his wife invited him to move in with them.

Read the full article

Tri Club Tuesday – CU Tri Club – Silent Auction and MCTC Results

by Paisley Sheenan

The CU Triathlon Team’s inaugural auction was a great success! It was a fun night with some competitive bidding, a presentation and Q&A by professional triathlete Cam Dye, and a raffle. All of our items were sold and the money we raised will help us with our goal of taking more athletes to our national championship race in April.

We would like to thank everyone who attended, Cam Dye for speaking, all our sponsors and other companies for donating to the auction, and Colorado Multisport for being a phenomenal venue. We are still fundraising for our journey to nationals through our crowdfunding page: c-fund.us/exx. Our campaign will be open until April 27th, and every donation, big or small, helps our team.

The team had a very successful St. Patrick’s Day weekend at the Mountain Collegiate Triathlon Conference Championship race. This was our first race of the spring semester, and we had three men in the top 5 (Timmy Winslow 1st, Roy Madrid 2nd, and Jack Toland 4th), and two women in the top 5 (Paisley Sheehan 3rd, Cassidy Hemp 4th). Timmy also won the individual men’s conference omnium and Paisley came in second place in the individual women’s conference omnium. Both our men’s and women’s team won the race as well as the team conference omnium.

On top of the great results, the Havasu Triathlon is always a fun race for the team. We road trip 14 hours to Arizona, get cozy with seven teammates in a minivan, and always come back to Boulder with lots of adventures and stories. We camp at Crazy Horse Campground and befriend the retired spring breakers who are living in their campers with a lakeside view.

The Havasu Triathlon course is certainly a memorable one. The two standout segments on the bike course are the Neighborhood and the Box. The Neighborhood is a hilly out and back through – you guessed it – a neighborhood, and is a great place to see teammates zoom past. The Box is the most infamous segment of the race with several short but very steep hills. The run course is flat and fast but contains an infamous flight of stairs that are uneven and climb up about two stories to the London Bridge.

This year, a good portion of our men’s team took the theme of “Havastache” to heart, growing mustaches and racing with Pit Viper sunglasses. These guys turned the heads of racers and spectators alike with their unique fashion sense (though the word “fashion” is up for debate). While we are a team who loves to compete and succeed, we are proud of our team spirit and always look to have fun, especially while we are racing.

Now that we are back from Havasu, we are gearing up for Nationals in a month, starting with our annual Spring Break Training Camp. This year we’ll be holding a local camp, completing a vigorous set of workouts designed by our loving coaches to challenge us both mentally and physically. From there, we’ll be settling into race-specific preparation, doing our best to make sure the entire team is ready to take on the competition in Tuscaloosa!

How to Wildflower! Your Complete Guide to this Longstanding, Epic Triathlon

By Alison Freeman

Maybe you’ve signed up for Wildflower (what’s Wildflower? ) and haven’t quite sorted out your logistics for the epic weekend of triathlon, camping, beer, wine, and music. Or maybe you’ve always wanted to sign up for Wildflower, but have been holding back because sorting out the BYO details is just too overwhelming. (Do I have to eat freeze dried camp food for my pre-race dinner? Is there an option besides instant coffee? Where do I shower? No, really. WHERE DO I SHOWER???) No worries, I’ve got all your answers right here.

Jump to: Travel – Shelter & Showers – Food & WaterEverything Else

TRAVEL

Assuming that you’re not driving to the race, Monterey Regional Airport is the closest airport to Lake San Antonio … but doesn’t seem to serve direct flights from Denver. Given that, your best bet is to fly into San Jose Airport, although San Francisco and Oakland are also decent options. You’ll need to rent a car, as the race site is not Uber-able from the airport. Don’t want to deal with flying with your bike and then having to rent an enormous, expensive SUV? ProBike Express, your local bike concierge, will offer bike + bag + tent + anything else you need transport services if there is sufficient interest; TriBike Transport serves the race as well.

Plan for a 2-1/2 to 3 hour drive from the airport down to Lake San Antonio, but make sure to buffer an extra 30-60 minutes to stop for provisions along the way (see “Food & Water” below). Your best bet is to hit up Salinas, which is about halfway from San Jose Airport to Lake San Antonio and serves as a convenient place to stock up on supplies for the weekend. There’s a Costco, a Walmart, a Target, and a Safeway, so between the four you should be able to find pretty much everything you need. There’s also an In-N-Out Burger in Salinas, and if you don’t stop and get a double-double animal style, we’re going to have a serious conversation about your priorities.

If you find yourself 15 minutes south of Salinas and realize you forgot the key ingredient for your famous campfire mac-n-cheese, you can stop at the Safeway in King City, which is about an hour outside of Lake San Antonio. For real this is the last place to find provisions, so check your list twice before driving off.

Finally, you’ll want to plan your trip timing around the road closures within Lake San Antonio Park. All roads in the park are closed on Saturday from 7am-3pm and on Sunday from 8am-3pm. Regardless of what race you’re eyeing, plan to arrive no later than Friday and leave late Sunday afternoon. (Already made travel arrangements that conflict with road closures? You can park at North Shore campground and take a boat shuttle to/from the race site.)

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SHELTER & SHOWERS

There are a myriad of great lodging options available for Wildflower, as long as you’re not dead set on turn down service and a chocolate on your pillow: there are no hotels to be found anywhere near the race site. Here’s what is available:

Camping is available at a number of campgrounds surrounding the Lake. You can lock in advance reservations HERE. Individual spaces are first-come-first-served, so if you’re picky about locations, plan to arrive at the race site on Thursday rather than Friday. Camping is $25/person/night for everyone over 16.

RV parking is available at the campgrounds as well with the same logistics and pricing as tent camping. (The limited number of RV spots with hookups are, unfortunately, sold out.) You can bring your own RV or you can arrange to have one delivered to the campsite if a two-day drive each way doesn’t fit your schedule.

While sadly the super-cool Tinker Tins are sold out for 2018, there is still limited available for the Bell Tents (think: Glamping), at $950 for the full three nights. If you like the idea of camping but want to add a little civility, or just back support, to the weekend, I’d jump on these quickly – more info HERE.

For all of these lodging options, standard campground bathrooms should typically be no more than a few hundred yards away. Some of these will have showers, some won’t, so get the lay of the land ahead of time and strategize shower timing to avoid the crowds.

If you really can’t get past the idea of a private, hot shower, AirBnB and VRBO are great sources for rentals surrounding Lake San Antonio, and there are hotels in nearby Paso Robles, approximately 35 miles from the Lake. If you do stay outside the park, keep those Saturday and Sunday road closure times in mind, and plan to pay the $10/person/day Festival pass rates upon entering the Park.

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FOOD & WATER

This is the area where your advance planning skills really get tested. You do want to think through ALL of your food and drink needs prior to heading to Wildflower for the weekend.

• Water – Yes, you need to bring your own water. Maybe a half gallon per day per person? Maybe even a smidge more to account for race day requirements.

• Race Fueling – Breakfast / pre-race nutrition; Race nutrition; Post-race nutrition. If it’s a powder-based product, make sure you’ll have sufficient water AND sufficient clean water bottles. If it’s real food, see next item …

• Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner – How many days? What do you want to eat? How are you going to cook it? How are you going to store it? If you’re going to cook, you’ll need to bring your own skillet, pots, plates and utensils, and be sure to grab a cooler – styrofoam or the real deal – when you stop for provisions. You can grab ice, firewood, and lighter fluid at the small, very basic, general store onsite.

• Want to restock mid-weekend? In addition to the small, onsite store, Oak Hill Market is roughly 15 minutes outside the park and is about the best general store there is: quality meats, great produce, wine, barbecue supplies, eggs, and a great deli. (There’s also a gas station here – the nearest one I believe – if you are running low!)

• Don’t want to cook over a fire? – Welcome to my world. Thankfully we won’t be left to starve – there will be a wide variety of food trucks at the festival all weekend, and they will mostly be serving healthy/gourmet food rather than traditional carnival food truck fare. Save for your 5am pre-race meal, the food trucks will have you covered. Pro tip: TriCalifornia is exploring a cashless system for festival vendors, including food trucks. Keep an eye out for more info on their website and Facebook page!

• Must. Have. Pasta. – No duh. There’s a pasta party Friday night. Did you really think they’d leave you hanging? Tickets will be available online starting in Mid-March ($12 adults / $6 under 16) and you can buy tickets onsite if that’s more your style ($14 / $8), but only those who buy tickets in advance get a second serving.

• But what about coffee??? – Yup, they thought of that too. Nate Dressel, former pro triathlete, will be there with his new venture, Frontier Coffee. Just be prepared to stand in a long line if your morning routine involves anything incorporating the word “latte.”

And if reading all that just gave you an enormous headache, there are a limited number of $200 VIP packages remaining that cover breakfast, lunch and dinner for the entire weekend. You can add this option to your campground reservation, Bell Tent reservation, or pre-purchased Festival day pass upon checkout through Active.com.

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So then … Travel: Check. Shelter: Check. Showers: Check. Food & Water: Check. …

NOW WHAT?

You’ve sorted through the headache of a race venue where everything – literally, EVERYTHING – is BYO. So now what? TIME TO PARTY!!! Just kidding. Well, not really. Pretty much the whole point of Wildflower is that it’s not just a race, it’s an entire weekend of awesomeness. And to experience all of this awesomeness properly, it’s going to require just a little more advance preparation.

First off, in the weeks leading into the Wildflower Experience weekend, TriCalifornia is going to release the official Wildflower app. (Yup, there’s an app for that.) Given the very limited cell service at Lake San Antonio – no, I would not anticipate any wifi hotspots – you’ll want to download this app before race weekend. Then, while you still have cell service, make sure the maps and shuttle schedules are loaded, and review the race weekend schedule. Within the app you can reserve spots for activities and services – as in: post-race massages and pedicures – and you’ll want to do this before race weekend.

Minus scheduling your massage, you can take advantage of much of the race weekend awesomeness on a more spontaneous basis. Plan for lots of time hanging around the campsite – pack your Eno hammock, or consider grabbing a cheap-o lawn chair at Walmart to enable this activity. But do wander off from your campsite at some point and check out the Festival: bands will be playing throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday, there will be local artisan tents and helicopter tours (only $99 – if I weren’t terrified of helicopters I’d say this sounds like a steal), there’s an art bar where you can paint and drink wine (this is more my speed), and you can rent paddle boards and kayaks anytime outside of race swim windows. And yes, beer and wine will be flowing all weekend long.

As if all that weren’t enough, there is a 5k run at the Redonda Vista campground on Saturday night (think: pre- or post-race shake out run) that ends with an 80’s dance party, sponsored by Clif Bar. Seriously: AN 80’S DANCE PARTY. I mean, I thought I was excited about the Wildflower Experience when I signed up – now I don’t even care about the race. I just want to go to the 80’s dance party.

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HOW DO I SIGN UP?

More info about the races (long and short course tri’s – both on-road and off-road, 10k, 5k, trail run, and SUP races) HERE and registration HERE.

Make a reservation for camping or a Bell Tent HERE.

Check out the full weekend schedule HERE.

Pro Bike Express – Wildflower Triathlon or IRONMAN 70.3 St. George?

Wesley is in a pickle. With all the athletes in the Rocky Mountain Region and so many races around the corner, there are two that fall on the same weekend. The Wildflower Triathlon and IRONMAN 70.3 St. George.

Obviously he can’t transport bikes to both races, so this is where you come in.

Go to the Pro Bike Express website and register for bike transport for your respective event. The race with the most registrations will decide who gets the best bike transport and support. Pretty simple. Spread the word, tell your friends, and make it happen!