Entries Tagged as 'Featured Tri-Cal Employees'

Wildflower Racer since 1989

Featured Tri-Cal Employees , Wildflower No Comments »

I completed my first long course Wildflower race in 1989.  The Tri Team Peninsula members weretalking about going down to Lake San Antonio to do the race.  Wildflower was a qualifying race for Kona so some of the top athletes were hoping to qualify for Kona.  This was my first long course triathlon so I did not know what to expect.



Take A Hike: 3 Central Coast Trails to Hike This Fall

Featured Tri-Cal Employees , Training Tips , Wildflower No Comments »

By: Samantha Sales

Currently, over 300,000 people claim the Central Coast to be home, and for many reasons: great weather, friendly people, a brilliant mix of land and water, and thousands of opportunities to stay active and healthy. In Paso Robles, any back-country road can serve as a beautiful hike or challenging bike ride, but these following trails are some of the local favorites.

Long Valley Loop @ Lake San Antonio

Fast Facts

Trail Length: 7.1 miles

Highest Elevation: 1,115 feet

Trail Type: Loop, dirt road

Difficulty: Moderate

Lake San Antonio is home of one of the biggest triathlons in the world – Wildflower: The One and Only. It serves as a magnificent race spot because of the great weather, challenging course, and close amenities. For these reasons, it is also a great place to spend a local weekend getaway. Even if it is just for the day. The drive out to Lake Valley Loop is beautiful and so you’ll want to take a camera if you’ve never been.

Just along the south side of the lake alone there is over 26 miles of hiking and dirt bike trails, not to mention the countless areas you can explore on your own. The area is chock full of gentle deer, countless birds, and beautiful sunsets. If you forgot to bring snacks, water, a bathing suit, or anything else, you can always stop by the marina grocery store located next to the boat drop off.

You can easily make a hiking, or mountain biking, weekend out of this area – a great “stay-cation” for locals! For information on camping, boating, or trails near Lake San Antonio visit http://lakesanantonioresort.com/camping.html

Oak Knoll and Quail’s Roost Trail @ Lake Nacimiento

Fast Facts

Trail Length: 1.5 miles

Highest Gain: 100 feet

Trail Type: Out and Back

Difficulty: Easy

This trail, nestled not too far from Lake San Antonio, also provides breathtaking views of Lake Nacimiento and the Nacimiento Dam. This pleasant leisure trail should only take you about 45 minutes, which is great for the beginner hiker. Not far from the trail is a local grocery store, Oak Hill Market, which serves delicious, fresh made deli sandwiches and specialty products that are great for the barbeque.

On your way to the trail, grab a sandwich from this local grocery store—my personal favorite is the Teeny Bikini—and fill up the car with gas so that you can go a scenic drive after the hike. The trail is located just past the market on your way in, so grab some snacks and enjoy part of the 165-mile shoreline of the area.

Salinas River Parkway @ Larry Moore Park

Fast Facts

Trail Length: 2.2 miles

Highest Gain: 80 feet

Trail Type: Out and Back

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

If you are looking for a trail that can accommodate the whole family, including your dog, this trail is it! With mixed terrain it provides a good amount of sidewalk, dirt, and oak groves and is located in a safe area just off the101 freeway. It includes a short stint through a residential area, where a cul-de-sac serves as the turn around for the trail.

The trail is used year round and is most popular in the early mornings and evenings. The short trail offers beautiful fall colors, birds, and other wildlife, but is conveniently located just a few miles from the City Park.

For more information on these, and other trails, please visit Paso Parks and Trails and Must-Do Hikes for Everyone By Brian Milne.

Why don’t you just jump off the boat?

Alcatraz , Featured Tri-Cal Employees , Training Tips , Video No Comments »

By: Betsy Davis

Women of Alcatraz [Watch]

Adapting to swimming, especially open water swimming can be a challenge. I swam a bit as a kid but nothing prepared me for the return to the pool as an adult, let alone my first open water swim experience. My first real ocean swim was in preparation for the Triathlon at Pacific Grove. I remember the fear involved in swimming in the ocean…the cold, the critters, the kelp. My preparation paid off and I participated in many triathlons, vowing I would never do Alcatraz.

But somehow, I found myself ready to face the Alcatraz challenge. Nothing prepared me for the absolute exhilaration and sense of accomplishment I felt in completing that first Alcatraz swim…..I couldn’t believe it…me a 40 something mother of three little kids! Doing that first Alcatraz swim made me dig very deep, and walk through some strong fears…the good thing is it caused me to really pray and seek God in a way I might not have otherwise. I was really worried about the jump from the boat, but I found that once I was in the water it was game time. No time to freak out, just time to “get her done”. Like childbirth, there’s no going back now!

At the first pre-race swim clinic I went to, the announcer exhorted us to stop mid-swim/mid-bay and take a look at where we were. I am so glad I took his advice…I stopped and looked at the approaching shoreline of the city and thanked God for the courage to step up and work through my fears. I am SO glad I did.

I really feel that open water swimming has made me a complete swimmer…not just one who circles the pool 3 days a week. As hard as it was adapting to the pool and then the open water my first year off swimming, I would not be the athlete I am, learned what I’ve learned, and be the well rounded athlete and person I am thanks to cross training—swimming in particular. Many people (especially runners) dread the idea of having to swim and will only do so if they have to because of injury. They are missing out on so much by not giving the pool, and the ocean a “Tri”.

My Journey to Tri California

Featured Tri-Cal Employees , SF Triathlon at Treasure Island No Comments »

By: Samantha Sales

The San Francisco Triathlon at Treasure Island was the first triathlon I had ever seen. Three years ago my brother, Darrell, announced to the family that he would one day complete an Iron Man, and the Sprint Distance at Treasure Island would be his first test. A year after that I started training for the same triathlon with my sister?in?law, Shawna. Two months before the race I found out I would have to have eye surgery that would require me to be face down for over a month – dreams of completing that race went out the window. I persuaded my doctor to let me “watch” (I actually couldn’t see anything because of the surgery) Shawna compete in the race, and I was forever changed.


When I found out that I couldn’t complete Shawna said to me, “If you have the patience to be face down for a month then I have the will do a triathlon”! My brother coached her along the way and she would update me on her progress. One day, like all of the others, I was lying on my massage table (the only furniture that allows a person to literally sleep face down) when Darrell and Shawna walked into the house with a surprise. When I leaned my head just the right way, and held an object at just the right distance from my face, I could make out what it was, so when Darrell handed me what felt like a shirt, I put it in focus and found that it read “Eye Can Tri for Sami”. They had made several shirts for our family to wear to the race, including Shawna, so that I could cross the finish line, too.

On race day, among other things, I was stoked to be let out into the open air. I had to bring adaptive equipment to the race to keep my face down as much as possible, but my mom and cousin would frequently shout, “HERE SHE COMES” and I would pick my head up and cheer. It was probably in the opposite direction of where she was racing, but hey, I tried! During Shawna’s bike portion of the race one of the announcers noticed a group of us wearing the shirts Darrell and Shawna had made. I couldn’t see the man at all, but through a shaky voice and tearing eyes, I started telling him our story. He found Shawna’s profile, which mentioned the same story, and said we could stand at the finish chute to see her come in! The last minute she was racing the announcer told our story to the race attendees and shouted out when she crossed the finish line so that I knew she was there.




The next moment I was surrounded by the warm arms, and sweaty face, of Shawna. “We did it”, shesaid through sobs. “When I was on the run I wanted to stop, but I kept thinking of your strength and it made me keep going”.

This moment changed my life.



So many times we say we can’t do something, but it’s mostly a mental game. Being face down for a month to be alone with nothing but your thoughts will really test your mental strength—and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. “Watching” Shawna complete her first triathlon was one of the best days of my life. I could hardly see anything,  but that allowed me to enjoy, and feel all the other emotions of race day. What I felt was inspiring and I told myself that one day I would complete a triathlon.

Five months ago I was twiddling my thumbs on Facebook searching for an internship that would complete my degree in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, when I received an invitation to join the Tri California family. I immediately looked on their website to see what races they offered and was frozen with emotion when I read “The San Francisco Triathlon at Treasure Island” on their race series. I thought back to the time when I stood at the finish line and waited for Shawna to complete “our” race. I wanted to be apart of a company that made people
feel the way I felt. To inspire them to do more and to be
more than they think they can be.

Before I left for my interview I dug through my drawer and found my “Eye Can Tri for Sami” shirt and tossed it into my bag. When asked why I wanted to work for this company, I pulled out my shirt, told my story, and fought back tears when I said, “I want to inspire everyday people to try something out of their comfort zone". I walked out of the interview knowing that this was exactly where I was supposed to be.

During the weekend at Treasure Island I experienced what it takes to produce that race and I didn’t mind doing any of it. If our race affects another person like it affected my family, and me it was all worth it. If we encouraged one person to sign up for a 5K or their first triathlon it was worth it. If we motivated Sprint Distance athletes to challenge themselves to an Olympic Distance course it was worth it.

I have no doubts that one day I will be the athlete and I will complete a triathlon, however, for now, I will be the cheerleader. Whether you catch me on swim dock, aid stations, VIP  food tent, or loading barricades, I’ll be there with a good attitude—sometimes annoyingly  happy. And even if it hasn’t been your best race, or if you don’t finish, I’ll still be there  telling you that you did a great job. Because you did! You’re doing something that most  people are scared to do and you inspire people like me everyday.

It’s not just camping, it is building a city

Featured Tri-Cal Employees , Wildflower No Comments »

By: Terry Davis

Each year we get questions on why the camping at Wildflower, is more than the parks department charges for the rest of the year. This is a very good question.


The answer is that we are not providing a campsite, we are providing a city. If you were to go to Lake San Antonio a week or two weeks prior to the Avia Wildflower Triathlons, you would find a completely different place. It is a quiet nature park where animals roam, birds fly and fishing is the main attraction.

Starting about a month out we have to transfer this pristine environment into a bustling city for 30,000 people. The entire park has to be refurbished. Restrooms cleaned, painted and repaired. Then entire water system and sewer system throughout the park must be inspected and made operational after winter conditions. The park trail system and run trails must be groomed and fences mended where needed.

Contracts must be completed for the transportation system to move people from their camping areas to the festival area beginning on Friday and continuing through Sunday afternoon. This includes both land and water transportation. Starting last year we added the boat shuttles from the North Shore area across the lake for day use parking on Saturday and Sunday.

Public safety is another area we have to prepare for. We utilize the park rangers, sheriff officers, and California Highway Patrol throughout the weekend. We also must have ambulance services and an airlift helicopter either onsite or on standby for the event. The local hospitals in King City and Paso Robles are alerted and available if needed. The Avia Wildflower Triathlons has its own MAST type medical team that takes care of athletes during the day and can assist at night if needed. If there were to be a fire the California Forestry, the Bryson Fire Department and other departments would respond.

Beginning on Sunday April 24th prior to the race the park must be staffed 24 hours per day. Staff, volunteers and employees arrive each day with the culmination of more than 2000 event staff members onsite by Friday. All the staff must be housed or camped, fed, entertained and managed throughout the week. The entry gates must be operational 24 hours per day with parks staff, event staff, and volunteers. A communications team sets up a communications center with 60-70 ham radio operators and operates throughout the weekend. Internet, although it is not very affective, is brought in for the event. Over 1200 Cal Poly volunteers alone must be taken care of for the entire three days that they are serving.

As you can see there is more to providing a camp space than meets the eye. I hope this helps you understand what is involved in making the AVIA Wildflower Triathlons the “Woodstock of Triathlons”.

God Bless