Saturday, May 2, 2015

2015 Wildflower Long Course–Robin

May 2, 2015 – Lake San Antonio, Bradley, CA
Swim 1.2M – Bike 56M – Run 13.1 (2.2m + 11m)

5:29:08 (31:56 – 4:35 - 3:05:50 – 1:35 - 1:45:12)




Olympic Distance: FCA TEAMMATES – Clyde Floyd, Dave Fraser, Karen Nickel, Mike Cassidy
Long Course: Dale & Tana Jackson, Derek Garcia, Kathy Winkler, Matt Sheeks, Warren Mine; FCA TEAMMATES - Clyde Floyd, Cory Floyd, Dan Perkins, Reynold Lewke, Troy Soares

I haven’t raced the Long Course since 2007!  I am surprised it’s been that long!  The nice perk this time is that I get to run 2 miles after the swim and then skip the mile long climb at Mile 10 on the run…yeah!  I love the fact that I’ll be nice and toasty on the bike with a run under my belt!  The most awesome part of today is being able to race with Troy on this course…which we haven’t had the chance to do since having kids.  Thanks to our friend and teammate, Karen Nickel, for watching our kiddos!

I wake up and do my quiet time.  Again, awesome to spend time with the Lord before I race!  Troy and I bike down Lynch and set up our bikes.  Then it’s off to the bus where we get a ride to the swim start 2 miles away.  Friend and teammate, Dan Perkins boards the bus with us.  Once there, it’s time to set up and wait.  We see lots of old friends like Dale and Tana Jackson, Reynold Lewke and Warren Mine.  Dale just got a new knee recently and is just swimming today.  He is racing his 28th WF…Troy is racing his 22nd WF and I’m racing my 15th WF. 

I run into Betsy Davis (wife of WF race director Terry Davis) while chatting with my friend Michelle Beare.  I tell Betsy that the Mtn. bike tris is Michelle’s first triathlon.  Betsy takes the time to welcome her and encourage her…so cool!  Betsy’s walk in the Lord inspires and encourages me so much!  I pray that my faith can be as strong and consistent as hers!

We watch the pros come out of the water.  There goes our friend Derek Garica and new friend Matt Sheeks!  Awesome!  Okay, time to line up and get serious!  Troy, Dale, Dan and I pray.  I feel ready to hit the water now!

I’m starting with Women 40-49 years old.  The phenomenal Kathy Winkler and amazing Tana Jackson are in my wave.  I get a quick warm-up at the the back of the wave ahead of us.  The water is not muddy and it’s the perfect temp!  Troy is starting in the next wave.  I hope to beat him in the swim and get a great head start on the bike!

THE SWIM – 1.2 Miles

Okay, time to go!  Julie Moss gets us pumped up and then…Ready, set, go!  I get a good start off the line.  I can see Tana on my left. There is a small pack ahead of me.  I try to catch up but the group splinters.  There is one girl that I can clearly see so I focus on her all the way to the turning point.  By then, another gal has pulled up and moved ahead of me.  I try to draft her but she is all over the place.  I catch her and move closer to my original target.

1035_026187[1]On the home stretch I’m right with my target and I accidently brush her foot a few times…must be so annoying!  I cannot pass but I stick with her to the shore.  I’m done, yeah!  I quickly peel off my wetsuit and start the run up the steep long boat ramp.  I follow another gal off the carpet to where I think my gear is and I’m wrong…oops!  I jump back on the carpet and run farther up. 

RUN #1 – 2.2 MILES

I make a pretty quick transition and finish the ramp.  Phew, I made it!  I pass a gal in my age group and start ramping up the pace.  The run has been a mystery lately.  I haven’t had great workouts at the track and I have been missing my weekly tempo runs so wasn’t sure how I would feel today.  I’m feeling surprisingly great…thank you Lord!

I run strong all the way to the original boat ramp and up to my bike.  I haven’t been passed by any girls yet but have been able to pass some younger gals.  Are there a bunch of girls in my age group ahead of me? 

THE BIKE –56 Miles

1035_012935[1]I make it to the bike and head out.  I’m able to slide my feet into my shoes on my pedals this time since my feet are toasty warm!  I hit the first big hill less than 2 miles in.  Beach hill is tough but the FCA signs that Troy and I put out remind me that Jesus is my helper today!

Finally, I make it to the top and try to get moving!  I want to ride my best time today, 3:05, or faster so I need to average 19.5mph before mile 35 so I can be averaging 18mph at the end…this is based on Troy’s years of riding this course.  He figured out that Nasty Grade at mile 42 knocks your average by 1.5 mph.  Okay, let’s go!

Before I get out on the main road out of the park, I’m passed by a girl in my age group and a 50+ gal.  Wow, they are flying.  I pick it up to keep them in my sights which I’m able to do for a couple of miles.  I feel strong!  My average is increasing but it doesn’t seem like it’s happening fast enough…feels pretty windy out here so that might be the problem.

Now it’s a waiting game to see when Troy will catch me.  I hope to make it out to Lockwood (mile 19) at least…and I do!  Phew!  Okay, now when will I see him?  I feel good but still my average is not ticking up well.  The wind continues to push back!

At Mile 25, I hear Troy!  Yes, I made it farther than expected!  We exchange encouragement and he rides ahead.  He hits a hill and I’m able to catch up.  I tell him “pick it up Soares!  I don’t want to pass you!”. He says, “you can pass me”. I really don’t want to pass him because I know soon enough he will ride off into the distance so why try to pass.  Sure enough we hit the next downhill and he’s off!  I’ll see him at the end.  He’ll finish first and relieve Karen of her babysitting duties…yeah!

My average now is barely 18.6mph and I’m almost to the turn at Mile 34.  The wind really is hampering my ride and I find myself getting discouraged.  The Lord reminds me that others are dealing with the same thing and the times will probably be slower this year.

1035_011205[1]Mile 34 and 18.8…so I’m looking at 17mphish and not 18mph…well, with Christ, anything is possible!! 

The next 10 miles to Nasty Grade are surprisingly fast and I actually improve my average!  Wow, thanks God!  I hit Nasty Grade and it’s pretty nasty!  Just hunker down and survive!  I catch up to Cory Floyd and tell him good job.  Does this hill ever end?!  Well I know it turns and continues up…cruel!

Finally, the top!  I hit the steep and intimidating downhill.  I’m feeling confident and fast until a big gust of wind nearly runs me off the road.  I grab the brakes and slow it down as another gust pushes me…scary!  I finally get going again and finish off the hill pretty well.  My average is about 17.4 as expected.  I’m not discouraged but feeling excited about what the Lord is going to do!

The last 10 miles are amazing!  I’m passing lots of folks and even catch that 50+gal!  Thank you Lord!  As I enter the park, my average is 17.7 and it looks like I’ll be right at 3:05!  I’m pumped and push hard to Lynch.  I try to fly down fast but the wind catches my front wheel again so I brake a bit but am able to finish strong.


I make a good transition and head out.  There is Karen, her kiddos and the girls!  So cool to give them all high 5s!  I hope they got to see Troy too…but he’s probably long gone now! 

The first mile it takes a bit to get my run legs back.  I pass a younger gal but don’t see any more girls.  In fact, I haven’t seen anyone in my age group since the beginning of the bike.  I know that one gal is ahead of me, but are there others?

1035_006613[1]The first 2 miles I average 8:15 pace.  2 girls fly by me like I’m standing still, wow!  I look at their calves and see that they both are relay.  I’m inspired to pick up the pace and give a little chase. 

Mile 3 is 7:43.  Now it’s trail time.  It is hot and dry back here! 

Mile 4 is 8:20.  I reach the aid station and get asked if I want a splash…”yes!!”  In no time, 5 volunteers are splashing me as I run through.  “Thank you!”…awesome!   Time to climb!  Though my legs are tired, I’m still able to run up the hill and pass a few folks. 

I think I’m done…yeah…oh, wait there’s another hill!  I hunker down and run up at a slow but steady pace. I’m watching my heart rate hover around 170.  I make it to the next aid station and I’m already dry…but I again get the royal treatment and have 5 volunteers soak me again…nice!

Mile 5 is 9:50.  Okay, now it’s down the steep hill and through Long Valley (just learned it is called that).  Let’s pick it up! 

Mile 6 is 8:04…yes!  I hit another awesome aid station.  Wow, these volunteers are amazing! 

Mile 7 is 8:20.  I turn into the Redondo camp area where we are camping.  I hit the hill and see Dale cheering ahead.  He tells me Troy is only 2 minutes ahead and I got to go!  I joke that I’m gunning for him…there is no way I’ll see him.  I also thank Dale for the time we got to pray together and he thanks me back. 

Mile 8 is 7:52.  I’m feeling great and thanking Jesus for this amazing race!  Now I hit the trail again and run over to the overflow camping.  It’s a flat open area and I can see for a good stretch.  At that moment, I wonder where Troy is and then I see him!  I am shocked, surprised and excited!  Wow, we could finish together if I can catch him!

Mile 9 is 7:50.  I love that I get to turn left here instead of right!  All I’ve got to do is catch Troy.  I think it should be pretty easy because he’s right there.  Then I realize if he makes it to the last mile before me, he’ll fly away down the hill.  I dig deep to get to him before then!  I’m hoping he won’t look back and so I can surprise him.

Mile 10 is 8:09. I run through the last aid station and am soooo close!  I ask the volunteers “could you tell that gentleman that his wife is catching him?”  and they do.  Troy looks back and is so surprised. 

I finally catch him just before the downhill!  What a thrill!  We push each other down the hill and gush to each other the amazing gift this is! 

We get to the long finish chute and pick it up.  We are going to push hard to the end!  We see Anna and Ariel up ahead waiting to run in.  They must be surprised too!  Anna grabs Troy’s hand and Ariel grabs onto Anna.  We cross the finish line together!  I can hear announcer Sean English cheering us in and sharing about our common bond in Christ…so awesome!  Thank you Jesus for an amazing day!!

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Age Group





DEREK GARCIA LC 4:14:31 PRO 5th 24:30 2:21:40 1:24:44
MATT SHEEKS LC 4:33:27 PRO 19th 29:58 2:36:51 1:21:57
KATHY WINKLER LC 5:20:57 F45-49 1st 28:15 3:00:21 1:46:32


LC 5:24:08 M45-49 7th 31:11 2:57:25 1:48:44



5:29:08 W40-44 2nd 31:56 3:05:50 1:45:12
DAN PERKINS LC 5:35:39 M55-59 3rd 31:40 2:56:15 2:00:16
TANA JACKSON LC 6:04:01 F40-44 3rd 37:31 3:10:44 2:07:36
CORY FLOYD LC 6:47:53 M30-34 62nd 33:59 3:38:57 2:21:33
JON CARTMELL LC 7:10:48 M35-39 50th 35:54 3:46:32 2:36:46
REYNOLD LEWKE LC 7:47:23 M60-64 10th 45:45 3:39:40 3:00:35
WARREN MINE LC 7:48:19 M70-74 1st 50:26 4:11:42 2:32:08
KAREN NICKEL OLY 3:03:56 W35-39 4th 30:36 1:33:56 53:12
CLYDE FLOYD OLY 3:25:11 M55-59 14th 32:21 1:36:02 1:07:13
MIKE CASSIDY OLY 3:56:21 M60-64 9th 36:36 1:43:13 1:19:36
DAVID FRASER OLY 4:52:22 M70-74 4TH 38:33 2:17:10 1:41:00