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
As triathletes, we pride ourselves on coordinating all aspects of our
kit, from shoes and visors to handlebar tape and water bottles. Jesse
Thomas has his signature aviators, and whether you are a FOP or BOP
athlete, we each have our own “style”. Sunglasses are an integral
accessory to any kit, but aside from looking stylish, they are extremely
important to your safety and performance in races. Less than an inch
behind the lenses are two of the most important organs in our body that
allow us to navigate the course from start to finish. Protecting your
eyes and utilizing the correct eye wear can give you an edge on your
competitors, if you understand how to incorporate lens technology in
with your racing and training.
It’s funny to think it was only 2 years ago. Most of you are probably
sick of the story (if so, skip the next paragraph), if not, here’s a
A bright eyed, bushy haired first year pro out of Eugene drives the
ManVan with his buddy Matt last minute down to the historic Wildflower
Triathlon. The kid doesn’t have a clue. He uses a borrowed bike (his
broke 4 days prior), a borrowed helmet (also Matt’s), a hand me down
race kit & of course, $8 drug store aviators. But, he lines up, has
the race of his life, and while the announcers literally don’t know his
name, crosses the finish line to win.
As you probably already know, the wildly popular Wildflower triathlon festival kicks off in just 2 weeks – on May 3-5, 2013.
And a special feature new to this year is Wildflower Squared (WF2) – the ultimate, slightly insane challenge of completing the Long Distance triathlon (1.2 m Swim, 56 m Bike, 13.1 m Run ) followed by the Olympic distance triathlon (1.5k Swim, 40k Bike, 10k Run) on Sunday, May 5.
If I told you that someone was willingly, and regularly, inflicting pain
upon him or herself, you would likely think that person was crazy. You
might be surprised if I told you that this voluntary self-subjugation to
pain is a well-established and commonly practiced behavior that is
highly regarded by most societies in the world. In fact, I am nearly
certain that you have also engaged in this practice. I’m talking about
racing in sports.