Wildflower – 4/27/2014

Author – Emily Crow

Well, I’m hooked.  Wildflower is awesome.  I see why people return year after year to do this event. I remember reading about this race when I first started doing tri’s living in Missouri.  It sounded so intriguing with the pros, challenging route, camping, festival atmosphere and “streakers”.

We got an RV last year so I told my husband we are signing up for Wildflower this year.  I have never been able to fit it in the schedule because it lands on the same weekend as our usual diabetes charity ride in Napa.  When reg opened I signed us up with camping and blocked our schedule.  He was doing the half and I signed up for the Olympic.  Training went pretty well except for a tibia stress fracture that derailed the running over the holidays. After that, it was pretty smooth sailing.  I focused on the hills and trails, knowing this is not an easy course.

We arrived early on Wed and scored a shady camp site.  We chatted with our neighbors and learned they were honoring their son Trevor who was hospitalized with his second round of chemo for leukemia.  More campers showed up behind us and forgot their tent.  You learn we’re all in this together.  We’re sharing stories, donating money, giving out blankets, food, ice, and wood.  There are no tv’s and minimal cell service, so you’re stuck…talking.

On to the race.  This year was different.  There is no lake.  We swam 2 miles down the reservoir.  Not bad if you don’t mind swimming in a thick shot of espresso.  My wave was dead last (10:30am); the last shuttle to go to the swim start was 8am so needless to say I had some prep time.  This logistically was a little challenging with the diabetes but packing an extra glucometer and insulin pen made it doable.  The swim went well, then we ran 2.2 miles to get to the transition, the bike was quite nice (not has hard as I thought it might be) and the run sucked–one major hill that was very painful.  (Still Auburn I would say is much harder).  The best was the finish chute.  The longest I’ve ever run and it had GRANDSTANDS.  I actually thought to myself—“what would Betsy do?”–probably some triple lindy or flip.  I chose to go for a throw back to my cheerleading days…SPIRIT FINGERS! It may have cost me 3 seconds but the people standing and cheering was well worth it.

All in all I really had a great race.  I felt good, my blood sugar was stable, and I finished with a little steam left.  My time goal was 3:30 and I got 3:17, 16th in my age group.

The best was waiting and watching our neighbor finish.  She’s the younger sister of Trevor.  He’s waiting for a bone marrow transplant and after some nightly discussions you can tell she feels defeated that she’s not a match.  Her husband brings Trevor up on face time.  He meets her in the finishing chute and runs to the finish line with her brother watching.  Yes…this beat my spirit fingers and any triple flip.  This is why I race.  This is why I tri.  When I think it sucks to deal with blood sugar issues and how bad it hurts to climb Diablo, I will think of Trevor and his family.

Keep racing and I encourage everyone on the team to do one charity event a year, no matter what your story or passion is, it’s worth asking and raising money.

Also, for Trevor, go get on the bone marrow list.  You can save a life.

Thanks for helping me train and race, you can see it goes beyond swimming, cycling, and running. ~~~

Emily Crow