With a hill fondly dubbed Nasty Grade Hill, it's a sure bet that the
Wildflower long course race has a challenging bike course laid out for
you! But don't let that intimidate--we're here to help with a few tips
and tricks to make your 56-mile tour of the hills more comfortable.
Any time you ar prepping for a challening bike course, one thing you
want to do is take a drive of it the day or two before hand so that you
can put to memory what's in store. The above named hill, for instance,
comes late in the race. Better to know when to expect it than go in
So now that you know what to expect from the Wildflower bike course, it's time to set your sights on prepping for the run course. As with the bike course, the run course isn't flat and fast, but it's also something you can work to master and maybe even surprise yourself with great results.
Brandon Del Campo is a former pro and current top age grouper who knows the Wildflower course like the back of his hand. His advice? Get ready for the hills! "The run course is very hilly with one super steep climb around mile 5 and then a long uphill at the 10 mile 'U-turn,'" he says. "You will also find a demanding one mile downhill at the end. That last mile is a total quad buster."
With the release of the Agility and Instinct strapless hand paddles, it is clear that FINIS has found some
advantages in producing paddles without the traditional elastic straps. Coaches and swimmers who have not
had the experience of swimming with these training aids will ask us what the benefits of using this type of
paddle are. Following the old adage of "if there is one question, there are bound to be more people with the
same one", we hope to provide a few examples as to why swimmers will benefit from using these paddles.
So why strapless? Doing without the straps reduces the opportunity for one to swim with incorrect form. If
there are errors in hand entry, positioning, a low elbow, or any general loss of contact with the water against
the palm, the paddle will become dislodged and provide instant feedback to the user. We call this method of
training remaining "palm positive", which essentially means continuously pulling water throughout the entire
After kicking off my professional triathlon career way back in 1991, I ceased to call
triathlon my career at the end of 2013...However, Wildflower still has a magnetic pull on
me and I decided that I needed to come back here one last time.
Back in the day, the Wildflower festival was considered in the industry as the unofficial
long course World Champs and the start of the Northern hemisphere triathlon season,
it was the time when everyone came out of hibernation for the first major professional
race for the year.
For years I had heard of this legendary race, but being based in Australia I was focused
on events down under and it wasn’t until 2000 that I finally got myself together to have
a crack at this iconic race.
While Wildflower is an incredible event, you'd be remiss if you came to the Paso Robles area and only raced then returned home. There's a whole lot of exploring and fun to be had when you're in this area, so make sure to add in a few extra days to take it all in.
Let's start with the race site: Lake San Antonio provides plenty of recreational activities for you and your family/friends. Did you know there are 26 miles of trails around the lake itself? They're open for hiking, mountain biking or trail running, whatever your pleasure. There's also horseback riding in the area, and of course, the recreational activities afforded by a lake.
And then there's the surrounding wine country, a perfect way to top off a great weekend of racing. The Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance is some 500 members strong, all working together to ensure that you get the most out of your local wine tasting experience. The group puts on educational events, publishes a wine tasting map, and has a comprehensive listing of local restaurants, accommodations and wineries to help guide you.
Perhaps the best way to get a taste of the local wine scene, however, is to start at the Wildflower Festival itself, where 15 degrees C wine will set up shop for tastings by the glass or bottle. The owners, Doug and Ali Carscaden, have been racing Wildflower for 13 years now and have been combining their love of wine and and the festival this way for four years now. Be sure to stop by and say hello to them in their on-site wine lounge.