This year’s Wildflower long course triathlon was one wile ole race. It’s a half Ironman distance (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run) triathlon and billed as one, if not the, toughest half Ironman distance triathlon out there.
This was my second year competing at this race and it was a tough one given the 90 degree temperatures and baking sun. The race was on May 4th at Lake San Antonio and water temperatures were already in the upper 70s, the pros weren’t allowed to even wear wetsuits as it was so warm.
The race started at 8am and us physical challenged athletes headed off with the collegiate wave at 8:10am. I was all set up in transition by 7:30am and ready to go.
It was quite a crowd waiting at the swim start for the off and the setting was just beautiful. I decided to hang at the back of my wave as the siren went off for the start, that way I wasn’t going to get trampled by everyone swimming over the top of me…lesson learnt from previous races.
The 1.2 mile swim took me 48 mins, a minute slower than last year…definitely need to pick up my swim training! The average swim time for men my age was 40 minutes, so I only dropped 8 minutes of the average, not too bad for someone with only one hand.
Out of the water and a quick run up the hill to transition before heading out on the bike. The Wildflower bike course starts of snaking through the camp grounds before the first climb of 300′ out from the lake. This year about half way up we were greeted by a topless lass waving her arms in the air holding a sign and cheering us on, a welcome sight in deed. It was interesting to note that during campfire discussions that night strangely no one could recall what the sign actually said…fancy that.
The 56 mile bike course involves nearly 4,000 feet of climbing with a 1,000 of that coming between mile 40-45, good ole Nasty Grade. Come midday, temperatures were broaching 90 and it was getting pretty toasty climbing up that 1,000 feet. The bike took me 3 hrs 34 mins, beating last years time of 3 hrs 41 mins, although slower than the average of 3 hrs 23 mins for my age group…more work to do there for next year.
After biking 56 miles your legs feel like they have bricks for feet as you head out on the run. This was going to be tough. The Wildflower run course is as much trial running as it is road racing and comes with over 1300′ of climbing. The first 6 miles winds upthrough the hills around the lake and is just hot and dusty. I was having serious issues overheating…it’s never good when you start to get goose bumps because the body can’t cool itself.
At each water stop I started to got hosed down to help bring my temperature down and by mile 6 I was starting to feel better. I probably walked as much as I ran, but I finished the 13.1 miles in 2 hrs 32 mins, a smidgen faster than last year’s 2 hrs 33 mins and only slightly slower than the average for my age group of 2 hrs 27 mins…room for improvement still.
My total time was 7 hrs 8 mins, faster than last years time of 7 hrs 17 mins, but shy of beating the 7 hr mark…next year I will best 7 hrs mark my words! Considering they had to pull 100 people of the bike course because they didn’t make the cut off time and 250 people ended up in the medical tent at the end I think I did just fine.
And I do this all to inspire others by my actions and to raise money for the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF). This year dedicated my race to Zachary Rowe, a young boy who lost his leg nearly a year ago after a tree fell on his tent during a camping trip. I learnt of Zachary’s story through CAF and as I was sweating it out in the heat on that first 6 miles of the run Zachary was very much in my thoughts as to why I was there!
If you’d like to support me and donate you can click the button below, the money I raise goes to help children like Zachary continue to lead even more active lives with the aid of prosthetics and adaptive devices that often aren’t covered by medical insurance.
Help me raise $6000 for the Challenged Athletes Foundation