By: Terry Davis
Each year we get questions on why the camping at Wildflower, is more than the parks department charges for the rest of the year. This is a very good question.
The answer is that we are not providing a campsite, we are providing a city. If you were to go to Lake San Antonio a week or two weeks prior to the Avia Wildflower Triathlons, you would find a completely different place. It is a quiet nature park where animals roam, birds fly and fishing is the main attraction.
Starting about a month out we have to transfer this pristine environment into a bustling city for 30,000 people. The entire park has to be refurbished. Restrooms cleaned, painted and repaired. Then entire water system and sewer system throughout the park must be inspected and made operational after winter conditions. The park trail system and run trails must be groomed and fences mended where needed.
Contracts must be completed for the transportation system to move people from their camping areas to the festival area beginning on Friday and continuing through Sunday afternoon. This includes both land and water transportation. Starting last year we added the boat shuttles from the North Shore area across the lake for day use parking on Saturday and Sunday.
Public safety is another area we have to prepare for. We utilize the park rangers, sheriff officers, and California Highway Patrol throughout the weekend. We also must have ambulance services and an airlift helicopter either onsite or on standby for the event. The local hospitals in King City and Paso Robles are alerted and available if needed. The Avia Wildflower Triathlons has its own MAST type medical team that takes care of athletes during the day and can assist at night if needed. If there were to be a fire the California Forestry, the Bryson Fire Department and other departments would respond.
Beginning on Sunday April 24th prior to the race the park must be staffed 24 hours per day. Staff, volunteers and employees arrive each day with the culmination of more than 2000 event staff members onsite by Friday. All the staff must be housed or camped, fed, entertained and managed throughout the week. The entry gates must be operational 24 hours per day with parks staff, event staff, and volunteers. A communications team sets up a communications center with 60-70 ham radio operators and operates throughout the weekend. Internet, although it is not very affective, is brought in for the event. Over 1200 Cal Poly volunteers alone must be taken care of for the entire three days that they are serving.
As you can see there is more to providing a camp space than meets the eye. I hope this helps you understand what is involved in making the AVIA Wildflower Triathlons the “Woodstock of Triathlons”.