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


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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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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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

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


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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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.


Event to take place on December 5th at New World Stages in New York City with proceeds supporting The IRONMAN Foundation Community Fund

TAMPA, Fla. (Nov. 28, 2017) — On Tuesday, December 5, 2017, IRONMAN and The IRONMAN Foundation will host an “Evening of Champions and Inspiration” at the IRONMAN® World Championship Broadcast Premiere presented by UnitedHealthcare, taking place at New World Stages in New York City. Sharing the hosting duties for the evening’s affair will be “The Voice of IRONMAN” and this year’s IRONMAN Foundation Ambassador Team Captain, Mike Reilly along with veteran national sports broadcaster and multiple IRONMAN® 70.3® finisher Shannon Spake, as they introduce guests to the magic of the 2017 IRONMAN World Championship, which took place on October 14 in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i.

The red-carpet gala will feature a premiere screening of the annual NBC broadcast that captures the fierce competition and compelling storylines of the 2017 IRONMAN World Championship and a moderated Q&A panel from athletes featured in the show. Event attendees will get a first look at the broadcast special before it airs on NBC, December 9th from 2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. ET (check local listings for time and channel).

The event will also include food and cocktails and a meet-and-greet with inspirational age-group athletes as well as current and former professional athletes. 2017 IRONMAN World Champion Patrick Lange will be joined by top American finishers Heather Jackson, Andy Potts, Liz Lyles and Ben Hoffman and IRONMAN Foundation Ambassador athlete Tim O’Donnell. Special guests will include original 1978 IRONMAN finisher Dave Orlowski as well as renowned sports commentator and long-time narrator of the NBC Show, Al Trautwig.

“We are excited to return to New York City to screen the IRONMAN World Championship NBC special ahead of its premiere on December 9th. Every year this broadcast special gives viewers an extraordinary view into a truly amazing event and this year’s IRONMAN World Championship is no exception,” said Christopher Stadler, Chief Marketing Officer for IRONMAN. “We are honored to work with The IRONMAN Foundation as we continue to grow this red-carpet event and silent auction to a larger audience than we have ever had before.”

The IRONMAN Foundation, the charitable arm of the IRONMAN organization, has provided more than $50 million in support since inception. Proceeds from the evening will benefit The IRONMAN Foundation’s Community Fund, which provides grant funding to nonprofit organizations in race communities where IRONMAN events are held.

In addition to the funds raised from the event’s ticket sales, The IRONMAN Foundation will hold a silent auction with a variety of unique items including this year’s IRONMAN World Championship finish line tapes, Hawaiian Ukuleles autographed by Professional IRONMAN athletes, and tickets to a Broadway Musical, just to name a few. Online bidding will begin on Wednesday, Nov. 29 and is open to event attendees and the general public by visiting the following link – IRONMAN Foundation Silent Auction.

There will also be an opportunity to bid during the live auction at the premiere on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to race at the 2018 IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i as well as the 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa.

“The IRONMAN Foundation is honored to benefit from this event, which exemplifies excellence and inspiration in the sport of triathlon. Funds raised will allow us to continue to leave a tangible impact in the communities where IRONMAN events are held across the world,” said David Deschenes, Executive Director of The IRONMAN Foundation.

For more information and to purchase tickets to the event, please visit For more information on IRONMAN and The IRONMAN Foundation, please visit and For media related inquiries, please contact

IRONMAN World Championships Broadcast Premier Viewing Party in NYC!

Having Kona withdrawals? Here’s a very good reason to book a trip…a trip to the Big Apple!

The Broadcast Premiere Viewing Party of the 2017 IRONMAN World Championship will be taking place on December 5th in New York City. Besides a front row seat at the finish line in Kona, this party is slated to be the Best Night in Triathlon.

The evening will begin with a welcome reception mix & mingle with professional athletes, featured inspirational athletes, and an opportunity to take a piece of IRONMAN World Championship history home with you via a silent auction. There will even be an opportunity to bid on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to race in the 2018 IRONMAN World Championship and 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship during the live auction!

Following the reception, you will experience all the action of the 2017 IRONMAN World Championship NBC broadcast before it airs nationwide. The evening concludes with a Q&A session discussing all the behind-the-scenes details with a panel of IRONMAN Professional Athletes and IRONMAN Hall of Fame members.

Celebrity guests to include 3-time IRONMAN World Champion Mirinda Carfrae, IRONMAN U.S. Champion Timothy O’Donnell, and of course The “Voice” of IRONMAN Mike Reilly.

Tickets are on sale now with proceeds benefitting the IRONMAN Foundation Community Fund. Click here to purchase tickets.

Nicole DeBoom Back in the Saddle at The Peak – Review of Triathlon Rules & Regs

Check out this video! The Former Pro (Nicole DeBoom) & The Real Life Rockstar (Jen Szabo) review Triathlon rules & regs as Nicole prepares to do the Boulder Peak Tri 13 years after the last time she did it. Special guest appearance by The Current Pro aka Big Sexy (Chris McDonald).

Rueter-Hess Reservoir hosting swim race in July

By Joe Rubino, The Denver Post

For years, slow-filling Rueter-Hess Reservoir has tantalized endurance athletes living in the metro area. With a maximum capacity of 75,000 acre-feet of water east of Interstate 25 in Douglas County, the possibilities for swimming or triathlons there were enough to drive the average Ironman crazy in the otherwise dry portion of the Front Range.

“For probably the past five years I have been fielding calls from area residents suggesting we host a triathlon there,” professional race organizer Lance Panigutti said. “I think everyone in the community was really just looking at it saying, ‘OK, what’s it going to look like?’ It’s huge.”

In July, Panigutti and 150 athletes will finally get the up-close look they’ve been waiting for when his Without Limits Productions hosts the Parker Open Water Swim. The event, set for 7 a.m. July 29, will be the first time a sanctioned swim race is allowed at Rueter-Hess. Paniguitti organized a successful cyclocross race on a piece of property just north of the reservoir this fall, establishing a relationship with Rueter-Hess owner, the Parker Water and Sanitation District.

“It’s definitely been a long time coming,” Panigutti said. “It’s going to be a simple swim event. We’re marketing it as breaking the ribbon so to speak of being the first people to swim there legally.”

There will be two race options: a 1.2-mile loop and a 2.4-mile loop. Panigutti said he expects everyone to be done and out of the water by 9:30 a.m. and anticipates very little impact to the rest of the reservoir property.

Tickets went on sale to the general public Wednesday, March 15. Some slots are reserved for members of the Altitude Multisport Club. The collective of amateur endurance athletes from the south metro area has been aching for nearby events since an Arapahoe County road use rule change caused the cancellation of several triathlons at Aurora Reservoir last year. . .

Read the full story


303Triathlon Rueter-Hess Reservoir OWS story here

303 Calendar event details here

Vixxen Racing offers ‘Find Your Feisty’ Series

Vixxen Racing is the premier name of Colorado women’s amateur triathlon racing.  They are a community of “elite development” women working together to push limits beyond what is achievable as individuals. They strive to serve as role models in the sport by bringing women together through training, athlete development programs and access to peer-to peer mentoring and support.

The Vixxens aim to create and foster an environment where women are not afraid of competition, but embrace and grow from it.

On Thursday June 22, Vixxen Racing will be offering a beginning OWS clinic.  This clinic is open to any novice or inexperienced open water swimmer.


Liz West will lead this clinic that will cover:

  • Approaching your first wave start-where do you seed yourself, setting yourself up for success
  • Equipment-different wetsuits and goggles-pros and cons
  • Beach Starts versus Deep Water Starts
  • Sighting
  • What to do when things don’t go as planned

This clinic will happen in conjunction with the June 22nd Stroke n’ Stride race at the Boulder Reservoir.

Check out all the event details and registration here 

Additional Find Your Feisty series events, look here

Oklahoma City to Host USAT Ultra-Distance Champs

Dec 14, 2016

First-Ever USA Triathlon Ultra-Distance Nationals Moved To Oklahoma City

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon today announced that Oklahoma City has been selected as the new host city for the first-ever USA Triathlon Ultra-Distance National Championships, set for Sept. 16, 2017, at Lake Hefner. The race will take place in conjunction with the Redman Triathlon, home of the 2016 ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championships.

Originally announced as being held in Sandusky, Ohio, USA Triathlon was forced to move the event due to unforeseen circumstances related to permitting.

The 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run course (140.6 miles) features a multi-loop swim parallel to the shore. The bike course is fast with rolling hills, followed by a closed, flat run course. Athletes will have the opportunity to race for national titles against the top ultra-distance triathletes in the country.

“It is certainly a special honor to host the USA Triathlon Ultra-Distance National Championships in its first staging. We’ll do our best to make sure each athlete walks away having had a great experience, worthy of this honor and designation,” said Dave Wood, Redman Triathlon Race Director. “Oklahoma City is rapidly become a destination city, and we’re ready to show the world that we are on the rise.”

In addition to hosting the ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championships in 2016, the Redman Triathlon has also previously hosted the USA Triathlon Long Course Triathlon and Club National Championships. The 2017 event is part of the FullOn Tri Series, a group of independent ultra-distance races.

For more information and to register, visit For the full national championship lineup, visit

Race Preview for the Harvest Moon Long Course Triathlon

H moonBy Kirsten McCay-Smith
As I am writing this, there are only 18 spots left in the 17th running of the Harvest Moon Long Course Triathlon. Without Limits (the company putting on the race) is also offering a duathlon and aquabike. The race will take place on Sunday, September 18th this year and due to the ban on all triathlons taking place at Aurora Res, the race has moved to the Boulder Reservoir for 2016.
I have done the Harvest Moon Triathlon 5 times over the 16 years it has been around, and it’s always an adventure. September in Colorado is beautiful, yet unpredictable and I have been witness to ice on the lake race morning, crazy winds, and temps varying 60 degrees throughout the day! But whatever the weather, the Harvest Moon is one of my faves. It’s a low key, affordable, and fun race that is great for both beginner and competitive athletes.
The duathlon and aquabike options are great for those who want to go long, but only like 2 of the 3 sports in the triathlon.
Plus…with a slip-n-slide at the finish and great post-race food, it’s a fun event for the whole family.
Here is a rundown of the course…
SWIM: The swim is in the Boulder Res which has cooled down quite a bit since last month and will be wetsuit legal. The temps at the res are in the mid-60s right now. The 1.2 mile swim is a one lap, clock-wise swim around a rectangle shaped course. Orange buoys will mark the straight line, with lime green buoys marking the corner turns at the far end of the reservoir. This will be a wave start swim to help those who are new to triathlon or a little nervous for the swim. The aquabike will start in its own wave.
BIKE: This 56 mile bike course will be FAST!! If you have ever raced in Boulder, you have already ridden on all these roads. If not, basically the course is two loops: a slight incline for the first 5 miles, rollers the next 5, fast downhill the next 10, rollers the next 8, and then repeat.
RUN: The run course is 2 loops on dirt roads around the res. The course is mainly rollers with some climbing in the first half of the loop, which means the last half has some downhill. YAY!
DUATHLON: The duathlon course starts with an out and back 5K and then follows the same 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile course as the triathlon.
AQUABIKE: The aquabike follows the same swim and bike course as the triathlon.
I am very excited for the new course. I think it will be fun and fast. Without Limits ALWAYS puts on great races. I hope to see you all there!!