As soon as my race season ended last year with another, but most
memorable, IRONMAN Arizona finish, I thought to myself, what's next?
It's always - rest, recover and then TRAIN FOR WILDFLOWER! It's one of
those races you can't just show up to "have fun" or have a "catered
training day." Are those types of races out there? Sure, but Wildflower
isn't that race and that’s what makes it perfect for people like us,
triathletes. It's the bucket list race of all bucket list races. It's
one of those you have to start frantically training for WAY too soon in
the season because you don't want to suffer. Suffer you will, but the
race, the race experience, the venue and the people will make it all
Just like many of you, I’ve been asked this question many times! So why
do you race? Is it to raise funds or awareness for a cause, do you want
to lose weight or get in shape? Are you that “type A” personality, hyper
competitive person, or just thought you would check off your bucket
list and got hooked? I can count most of those as reasons I race, but
one of the biggest, long lasting reasons is family!
I heard numerous stories about triathlons as I was growing up. Stories of the places my dad traveled to, the people he met, the races he lost, and the races he won. However, his Wildflower story was one of the few that left a lasting impression on me. Maybe it was his tone of voice, or that hidden smile behind his words, or the fact that my dad, Dean Harper, won the inaugural Wildflower race. Whatever it was, I knew someday I would have to see for myself what this race was all about.
My first Wildflower was 30 years after my dad's. That Sunday morning on May 5th, 2013, I raced my heart out for myself and for my team (Cal Triathlon--GO BEARS!), but mostly for my dad. When things got tough going up Lynch Hill or battling the headwinds on the bike, I looked down at the words I write on my hand before every triathlon, our father-daughter mantra, "Power Through." It's something we established back in 2008 when I was competing in my first collegiate swim meet and my dad was competing at the Ironman World Championships in Kona. Those two simple words brought us together despite being thousands of miles apart.
My experience at Wildflower exceeded all my expectations. I will never forget my dad getting to start my swim wave with the blow horn, seeing him for a brief moment on the bike course, and being there for him when he crossed the finish line. I will never forget getting to start the swim next to triathlon legend Michellie Jones, battling the winds and hills on the bike, and smiling at every aid station on the run from the amazing support of all the volunteers. I will never forget the multiple "Go Bears" I got from competitors riding up Lynch Hill as I sprinted down on my way to the finish. It's these little moments of amazing support that makes me already excited to return next year to Wildflower to race my heart out yet again. While in the end I didn't get to break the finishers tape like my dad did at his first Wildflower race, I know that when I tell my kids about my experience I will have that same hidden smile behind my words as my dad did when he told me his.
Shelley Harper, Cal Triathlon
What if it where possible to gain 20-30 watts on the bike for a very small investment? Say in the range of $200-$300. I’m sure most of you would agree this is a no brainer investment. In an era were $8k bikes, $3k wheels and $400 helmets are common place, a $250 bike fit SHOULD be a no brainer. Especially if a proven gain of 25 watts waits for you on the other end. Here is my story.
I took up racing triathlon about 3 years ago after many years of racing mountain bikes. At the beginning of my triathlon racing I was met with some bike problems. I am fortunate enough to have power on both my road bike and my tri bike and because of this I was able to see some disturbing power discrepancies between the two.
There are moments in our lives that change the course of the rest of our lives. These moments can be big or small; ceremoniously celebrated with a large group of people, or silently witnessed alone; they can be moments that you saw coming ahead of time, or moments that surprised you; you may recognize that these moments are about to change your life, or they might do so without your awareness: moments such as the day you first set eyes on your future life partner; your wedding day; the day your child is born; a time when you were in need and someone was kind (or unkind) to you; a conversation with a friend; a look from a stranger that penetrates you deep inside, a moment in a book that impacted you… No matter what these moments look like, somehow your life is irreversibly changed by them. I had one of these moments this year. This moment happened about 7 months ago during a long distance triathlon race in California.