As a Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo graduate and an avid triathlete in the
Bay Area, I’m very familiar with the Wildflower Triathlon Festival and
its history of providing epic weekends for triathletes and spectators
alike. I think it was ’92 or ’93 when I “volunteered” at Lake San
Antonio (not that I was irresponsible, just not sure if I was really
helping that much). It’s been years since I’ve been up to the lake and
I’ve been counting the days until I could get up there and check things
out since I took a Marketing Manager job at Tri-California in January.
At the age of 24, I became a bi-lateral amputee. A work-related
accident in which I received a double dose of 13,000 volts changed my
life forever. I awoke from a month-long coma to learn that both my arms
had been amputated in addition to burns on over 40% of my body.
While blessed to be alive, it was frustrating to hear doctors assure
me that I would one day be able to do basic actions like button my shirt
and brush my teeth – things that one learns as a child. I grieved for
the part of Hector that had dreams and goals that involved an active
Derek, now 31, has been cancer-free for nearly four years. The
survivor earned his highest placing as a pro at Wildflower 2015 and
hopes to continue his success in the 2016 competition.
In 2012, just after Derek Garcia had earned his pro card and
completed his first race as an elite training squad, he received a call
no one, and especially an athlete, wants to hear – he had testicular
The devastating cancer diagnosis brought Derek’s infant career to a screeching halt.
“It was incredibly scary,” Derek recounts. “We had two boys at the
time, had just put a huge amount of time, money, and commitment into my
new career as a professional triathlete. Everything was put into
question. My major concern was how I would be able to take care of my
family if things got bad.”
Did you know that prostate cancer will take the lives of nearly 30,000 men this year alone? To help end the second leading cause of cancer death in men, we at Tri-California Events have partnered with ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer for the renowned Wildflower Triathlon in April and for the return of the iconic San Francisco Triathlon at Alcatraz in August. ZERO will be featured as a charity partner for both of these events as a part of their ZERO Endurance program.
Most of us have that one unusually enthusiastic friend who makes bad
ideas sound good. This is the friend who suggests pre-dawn bike rides,
“adding on” to an already long run, or competing in a weekend of
back-to-back triathlons. That friend for me is named Christy and she’s
responsible for imparting a lot of pain that she cunningly packages and
labels as “FUN!” In October of last year, while perusing a list of
upcoming races, she suggested we do the Scott Tinley Triathlon in San
Luis Obispo (SLO), California. The Scott Tinley Triathlon Series offers a
medley of races throughout a three-day weekend and I was game until
Christy added her trademark Fun Factor, “Let’s do two triathlons! The
road tri on Saturday and the off-road tri on Sunday.” No stranger to my
weary looks, she tossed a line to my ego and ensured me that I’d do
well. I took the bait.