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.
Trail Racing 101
When you’re racing on trails, there’s a real feeling about battling against terrain and the environment, versus battling against each other. So there’s a mutual support in that endeavor. It’s still a race, and we’re all out there trying to do the best we can. But, on trails, I think there’s just a sense of being out there in nature—there is a happiness about it. There’s a fulfilling feeling about it that’s less neurotic than some of the races on roads, where time and pace and all of those details are a big deal. You can’t really measure yourself at a certain minute-per-mile pace, and even power meters on a bike are somewhat obsolete when it comes to off-road racing. There’s a bit of creativity involved out on the trails and with that comes a very relaxed nature and you really have to go with the flow, even though you still might be running hard.
The open water swim can be the scariest part of the triathlon, especially if you’re not Michael Phelps, and are more inexperienced. The open water can be just as mentally and physically tough for the top swimmers as it is for the beginner. Stepping up to the waters edge, seeing the dark water where there is no wall 25 yards ahead and overcoming the fear of the open water is both mental and physical.
There is a common feeling that most people feel when they see the water. Panic and fear, are two feelings that no one wants to feel right before a race. The shotgun goes off and you run with the rest of the triathletes into the water. Your heart is racing and you find it difficult to catch a breath. People claim that they feel as if the wetsuit went down two sizes, and is pushing against their chest making it impossible for them to breathe. These can be all very common feelings and something to think about if you have never done an open water swim before. The good news though is that this can also all be avoided! Here are some tips to defeat that panic attack on race day morning:
Wildflower stands as both the official kick off to every West Coast tri season and as one of the greatest weekends of triathlon. The Central California festival has been shining as a beacon in early May and as a driver for many long winter training miles. Saturday offers both the Long Course (LC) with one of the hillier bike and run profiles in the sport, and the Mountain Bike Sprint (MTB); a solid hour of red-line effort. Sunday concludes the weekend with another hilly race this time at the Olympic distance. Over the years athletes have raced the "easy double": MTB on Saturday and Oly on Sunday and some have done the "hard double": LC on Saturday and Oly on Sunday. After a day of racing in 2009 former pro triathlete, Michael Collins and I must have been in a deep delirium of fatigue when we pontificated on doing all three races in the same weekend the next year.
There were really only two tough aspects to this goal: logistics and fitness. Let's take the latter first. There are many different kinds of fitness: mental toughness, strength, explosiveness, etc. Doing "the triple" was going to rely on two primary areas: muscle endurance and aerobic endurance. Specificity is one of the principals of training and while sprint distances like the super short MTB event requires a very intense effort, one that is at and above threshold, the length of long course races stand in contrast to that placing more demand on the aerobic system. There was no doubt that some speed for the MTB event was going to have to be ignored in order to develop the go-all-day aspects of a 56 mile bike and 13mi run. Specificity also requires that much of the training was going to steer me off the flats and into the hills for not just greater strength but the repetitions of strength resulting in muscle endurance.
Besides dance until 9th grade, I did zero sports growing up.
I stumbled upon triathlon in 2009 after my friend and co-worker Kelly
and I decided that we should build up our beanpole arms, and swimming
seemed like the logical answer. Since we knew how to ride a bike, had
run a few miles and were soon to be expert swimmers, we registered for
the Wildflower Olympic Course.
January 2010, we enrolled in a swimming 101 class at the Campbell
community pool and joined their Waves Triathlon Team. I distinctly
remember folks in too much Lycra talking about their “watts”, “cadence”
and “threshold” and having zero context for the conversations.
After eighty early morning workouts, it was race day! I was so
nervous, I slept in my triathlon suit—one less thing to do in the
morning (a tradition I’ve kept :).