The Collegiate Experience at Wildflower

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Xterra SUP

I first competed in Wildflower in 2006 when I was 14 years old. It was my first Olympic distance triathlon, fueled by my training as a competitive swimmer. I guess you could say I had a good coach to give me the details on the course. He was the original Wildflower champion and repeat champion in 1986. Oh, and he is also my dad.

Now this year I will compete along with my UC Berkeley triathlon teammates and some of the best collegiate triathlon teams in the country. Wildflower is so unique; it’s not just a race, it is a festival. The weekend has been a large part of UC Berkeley triathlon’s race season for numerous years. Some of us will race long course, and some will race short course. But the thing we enjoy most is truly experiencing what the sport of triathlon is all about. As a 14-year-old kid at my first Wildflower triathlon, I can remember looking up at my dad and telling him something I noticed, “Everyone seems so happy here.” The atmosphere of triathlon is so special; everyone is truly there because they want to be. The same cannot be said for most other sports, and Wildflower embodies this ideal greatly.

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Memories of Wildflower

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Memories of Wildflower

My friend introduced Wildflower to me in 1991 and it was my first triathlon. Back then you could drive up Friday night and grab a campsite with no reservations or prepay and could park down by the starting point in the morning. I coughed up a bug from earlier in the race and I was hooked! I raced, I finished, I was pooped.

This year is my 20th race and was paid for by Terry Davis (Race Director), thanks Terry. It was always a goal of mine to get to 20.

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WhatSUP with Being On the Water?!?

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Xterra SUP

Many triathletes have seen stand up paddle boards during a race- either from the friendly lifeguard to ensure that we correct the direction we’re going, or used the board as assistance to take a breather. The stand-up paddle board is gaining increased popularity for many as a way of supporting their loved one in the water, or as well as a great way of cross-training and getting out to be on top of the water, instead of in it.

Open water swimming is enjoyed by many, but it is always best to use the buddy system for support just to be safe. A willing swimmer is not always available, but to find someone who might want to enjoy some time in the sun out on top of the water, as well as get a nice workout in the meantime is usually easier!

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The Day I Turned Pro at Wildflower

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Yu Hsiao

Wildflower is the race where I fell in love with triathlon and has been The Holy Grail throughout my journey in the sport. It is the only race that has the terrains of the hilly trails from my home town Cupertino’s Fremont Older Preserve, and an energizer bunny waiting on top of a hill to scream and cheer you on.

It is also the race where I turned professional in 2013, and have won the same age group category three times in a row!

My excitement for Wildflower began when my mentor in triathlon and coach at UCLA, Brady O’Bryan, obtained his professional license in the year 2010 at this very race, where he won the 20-24 age-group and was 2nd overall amateur in the Long Course distance. He has always been someone I’ve admired, and I’ve been chasing him throughout my college years during our grueling training sessions. I was inspired by his performance to one day also get my pro card at Wildflower. I entered the race in 2011, expecting a tough day, and boy was I right. I didn’t feel 100% on that day but I soldiered on throughout the whole thing, despite being blown sideways on the bike by cross winds and getting hammered by all the hills. In the midst of my daze, I thought about all the hard bike rides I did with my friends, and all the hard runs in the trails with my buddies back at home. There was something about the atmosphere, the trails and people by the camp sides cheering you on with cow bells that inspired me. It was one of those rare races where you get in a zone and trance; you’re in so much pain, but you’re enjoying the experience so much that you’re able to keep going. Every step felt like I was about to fall over, but I was able to hold it to the finish line. I finished 6th overall, 2 minutes away from qualifying from my pro card, but I was really proud of myself. Despite how I felt, and the tough course, I was able to suffer and go to a place where I never went before. I was inspired by the whole experience. The best part of the day was the boat ride across the lake with my Dad. It was one of those moments that I would cherish forever. Sitting on a boat, soaking in the sun, I was already planning on doing this epic race again, and what I could do better next year.

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The Woman Behind Wildflower

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Terry and Mom

March 25th is my mother, Ethel Davis’s 95th birthday. She is a wonderful, godly woman and has raised a great family along with many of our friends. I have two brothers and she has been a great mother (she encourages us in everything we do) for all of my life. She lives in King City, CA which is only 40 miles north of Wildflower. Her and my dad (deceased) brought us to Lake Nacimiento when they had the grand opening in 1956 and to Lake San Antonio in 1965. I spent most of my life being around the lakes. As a youth we spent almost every summer water skiing and fishing at the lakes. When I became an adult I taught all my kids to water ski and fish at the lakes with my brother’s families and many, many friends in the area. It was a great life. When I started to work for the Monterey County Parks Department as the marketing and special events coordinator, one of my first tasks was to start a festival at Lake San Antonio to bring people to the lake before the Memorial Day start of the summer season. That was a no brainer for me. So the Wildflower Festival was birthed.

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