Sunday, May 6, 2018

Wildflower Olympic–Troy - 2018


May 6th  – Lake San Antonio, Bradley, CA


Swim 1.5K – Bike 40K  – Run 10K


2:38:52 (26:07 – 2:55 – 1:22:57 – 1:37 – 45:14)




Long Course

Teammates: Clyde Floyd, Reynold Lewke, Robin Soares

Friends: Dave Leroy, Elise Winter

Olympic Course

Teammates: Caryn Galeckas, Dana Haldeman, Suzanne Hartley,
Friends: Sydney Lewis, Gary Chan

On-Road Sprint

Teammates: Anna Soares;

Friends: Chase Visser, Josh Cagney

Wildflower is Back!

It’s great being back at Wildflower with transition again perched above the crystal blue water of Lake San Antonio!

For the last 3 years there were cattle and deer grazing where we used to swim.  And last year it was cancelled all together.

Robin did the Long Course yesterday and it was completely an answer to prayer.  God allowed her injured foot to hold up and she ran the whole course.  Thank you, Lord!  Today is my race and I’m concerned with a sore achilles, minimal training, and new bike frame which I’ve only ridden for 8 miles.  But I’m also concerned for Anna doing her first Wildflower race, the On-road Sprint.

Anna & I both ride down to transition.  It’s a beautiful sunny day.  We set up our spots and Anna practices bike mounts & dismounts while keeping her shoes clipped in.  This will be the first time she tries this technique.

We go to the Wildflower Church Service.  We really appreciate Terry Davis putting this together each year.  It’s worth every minute focusing on God before final preparations for our race.  This also happens to be where Robin & I were “introduced” 16 years ago.

I watch Anna start her race and then I finish my prep.  Fortunately I’m able to see her whole race before I have to jog down to my wave start!  Please read Anna’s story but I’ll say it went smooth and was quite surprising.

I pray with my FCA Endurance TeamMates, Caryn Galeckas & Suzanne Hartley and Clyde Floyd (who raced yesterday).  I do a lot of arm swings trying to losen up.  My swimming isn’t strong right now but I will do my best.  Julie Moss is announcing like usual and calls out many names including mine and mentions FCA’s ministry role here which is nice.  The water is warm. I start a few rows back, to the right (as the 1st buoy requies a left veer).


180506_wildflower_olympic_troy_swimGo! Start is ok.  Soon I try to find a draft but fail.  I’m on my own but having a great time.  The water is so nice and the buoys easy to sight.  I check in with God periodically to see what I should be doing.  I feel Him reminding me to keep an eye out for a draft.  Soon a guy goes by and I jump on.  Strange that someone better than me was behind me and now giving me a draft.  I have to keep adjusting to stay behind him, but by the turn I’m getting better at seeing his bubbles.

Good turn, but while heading back I lose my draft.  Now I just have to push on my own.  Thank you, Lord, for letting me pace well and give this last bit all I’ve got.  The final 200 yds is tough but I give a good solid effort.  Despite the dizziness and exhaustion, I stand up well and tear my suit off fast.  12th place. Terrific!

Now for the long run up the ramp while carrying my suit.  I’m winded quickly, but very happy with how things are going and thankful for the cheers and just loving knowing that the Lord is with me.


180506_wildflower_olympic_troy_bikeTransition goes well (4th fastest) and now I’m in 9th.  I’m running out fast on bare feet, which hurts but ignoring it.  There’s a group mounting at the line so I keep running through and try leaping onto my bike 10 yds ahead of them.  Snap!  I’m straddling my bike and looking down at my seat and broken clamp pieces on the ground.  The seat post clamp broke.  I can’t figure a way to put it back together.  The surprising thought of having to drop-out gets more and more real until I finally surrender to it being reality.  Then a bystander says, “jump the fence and get tech support”.  I move toward him and in doing so cause a woman to fall off her bike.  I feel really bad and apologize.  Forgetting the fence, I get on my bike and pedal standing up until I can exit the course.  I ask a couple vendors and finally just ask to borrow someone’s seat.  The K-Man Triathlon Shop tent quickly swaps seats and I’m graciously off and back into the race!  I’m now in 31st place, about 1/2 way back in my age.

Surprisingly the seat position and height is not too bad.  I don’t have my seat bag so I couldn’t adjust anything if I wanted to.  I’m just going to go as hard as I can with what I got.  While climbing I start getting upset that a used seat post had been used to outfit my new frame.  But I have to let that go.  The Lord has allowed my race to continue and the bike is performing great.  And I feel like I’m performing great.

180506_wildflower_olympic_troy_bike2I’m out of biking shape and did not expect to be going fast.  But here I am, in the aerobars, with the wind flowing through my helmet… I’m having a blast!  It’s be almost a year since I raced and it’s so much fun.  I’m passing a lot of people since i was in the last wave and had a 6 min mechanical.

Another guy and I go past each other a number of times.  I don’t know my place but I imagine that i’m moving back up in the ranks.  Thank you, Lord, for making the bike so much fun, compared to the discomfort I was anticipating. 

Entering the park I read he FCA Endurance verses placed on signs along the road.  Jesus is the reason I can enjoy this so much because my many sins have been forgiven.  With a big smile I pass the final spectators before flying down Lynch Hill to transition.  I’m now in 9th place again!  After the mechanical, God gave me a 4th-fastest bike split.. I’m so thankful.


T2 was ok, 7th fastest, still in 9th.  Now for the really hard part.  Legs are stiff, sun is hot, training is lacking, but who knows, everything has been better than expected so far! 

I see my wonderful family cheering for me and they are a great motivator.  Anna just ran 3mi of this course really fast and I need to give my best as well.  I drink water and get splashed every chance I can.  The volunteers are so great.  Every cheer is appreciated.  I see Sydney Lewis  from WeTri and we encourage each other.  I see a guy hurting and say a quick prayer for him.  On the hot paved hills I read the FCA signs for the run and try to appreciate every bit of truth on them.  I encourage others I pass. 

180506_wildflower_olympic_troy_runThank you, Lord, I’m running well!  Onto the dirt portion of the course.. memories of yesterday as I used this section to watch Robin and friends race.  As I told them yesterday, I remember that the end of the run is really at the top because the last mile is downhill.  I eat my Hammer Gels, get a lot of water, and a final splash before the tough hill to the top.  Ouch! 

I’m trusting that using all my strength now will still get me the final mile.  At the top.  Ugh!  But sure enough, as I start rolling down, the strength comes back.

If I push the descent, I could break 2:40!  Flying down.  My legs are spinning.  it’s a little scary.  Just stay in control but don’t hold back.

I even catch a guy ahead of me before the bottom.  With exhiliration, despite exhaustion. I run down the finish chute so thankful to God to let this race go much better than expected!  Maintained 9th place with an 8th-fastest run split…and broke 2:40!  A blessing!


Wildflower On-Sprint–Anna - 2018


May 6th – Lake San Antonio, Bradley, CA


Swim .25M – Bike 12.4M – Run 5K


1:27:05 (9:14 – 2:26 – 51:42 – 1:27 – 22:15)




Long Course

Teammates: Clyde Floyd, Reynold Lewke, Robin Soares;

Friends: Dave Leroy, Elise Winter

Olympic Course

Teammates: Caryn Galeckas, Dana Haldeman, Suzanne Hartley, Troy Soares, Sydney Lewis

On-Road Sprint

Friends: Chase Visser, Josh Cagney

180506_wildflower_onroad_sprint_anna_swimWhen setting up, I was excited to do my first wildflower sprint race. There was a girl I had met yesterday, who I prayed for last night, who is also doing the sprint. Her name is Jazmin. I was hoping to see her before the race start. Yesterday I got new bike shoes because it was a half-off sale. And my biking shoes wouldn’t let me do the trick where you keep your bike shoes on the bike and put them on while you’re biking. My dad also got me new shoes laces so on the run I could slip my shoes on. Normally you wouldn’t change much before a race, but we did.

As I walk down to the swim start I am nervous and excited. Dad told me to do it for fun and for God. I see Jazmin at the swim and we both know that God’s got our backs. I warm up in the water and get ready.

SWIM: They say go, and I am off. I jump in and start swimming. All of the girls seam to leave me behind as they swim ahead. I keep swimming and try to stay with one girl. I swim around the buoy and try to catch up as I swam to shore. I try to pass different people on the way back to shore. I swim in and do my best kick off of my wetsuit. I pry it off my ankles and run up the hill to transition. It is hard but wakes me up from the swim. I run into transition put on my helmet and glasses and grab my bike. When I get to the jump on part, I jump on my bike and almost fall off because my shoes (that were connected to the bike but not to my feet) hit the ground. I then bike away from transition and while biking I slip on my shoes.

180506_wildflower_onroad_sprint_anna_bikeBIKE: I start biking up the big hill. It doesn’t seem that hard, thanks to God. I pass a lot of people on the hill. I hear noise behind me and see that a girl just crashed. I’m pretty sure some people had asked if she was okay because she stood up to got back on her bike. I cheer people on as I pass them. I get to the top and feel good. I start to bike into the country. I try to go fast to catch some of the girls that passed me in the swim. When I going downhill, I get in my highest gear and try my best to get up the next hill.

When I hit mile 4, my toes start to feel cold because my bike shoes don’t have a tongue. It was helpful for sliding my feet in, but it lets air come through. I keep biking even though my toes are cold. At mile 5, I start to look for Jazmin who was in front of me. I am hoping I would be not too far. After a while I see her and say good job. I then see a brick building up ahead which I had seen on the way here. I know I am close to the turn around. Then I see the turn around! I am careful not to fall or knock anyone over when I turn around. Jazmin is still far ahead and looking strong, but I try to go faster.

180506_wildflower_onroad_sprint_anna_bike_2On the way back, I say good job to people in my age group or others going out. I see the FCA signs which remind me who I am racing for. I praise the Lord on my bike as I get closer and closer to the big downhill to transition. I enter the camping area and bike to the hill. On the way down the hill, I try to stretch my legs out, so they could be ready for the run. A few people pass me on the way down because I am not sprinting down the hill to avoid falling off my bike. As I get to the flat, I start to slip my feet out of my bike shoes. I come to a stop in front of transition and jump off my bike. When my feet hit the ground not only did the ground hurt a but my feet were still numb. As I run though transition, my feet hurt as I run. I don’t slow down though. I put my bike up, slip on my run shoes and I am off!

180506_wildflower_onroad_sprint_anna_runRUN: The numbness starts to go away as I run out of transition. I run up some steps and onto a road. I start to feel good as I run. It is like the bike, an out and back course. The road goes up and down and isn’t too hilly. I see a girl up ahead and pass her while cheering her on. I keep running hoping to catch some more people. I am getting close to the turnaround. I see Jazmin coming back and l tell her good job. I keep running and then see the turn around and another girl in my age group. She looks like see is struggling. I tell her good job and make the turn to go back.

On the way back, I see the first girl I had passed and told her good job. I run and tell more people good job and some of them say good job back. I can hear the announcer as I get closer. I come out of the trees and make sharp turn into the finish chute. I sprint in. There are two older girls that I pass sprinting in. I praise the Lord and told Jazmin good job. I cheer the other girls in. I came out 10th in the swim and had the fastest transition and moved to 7th place. My bike moved me into 4th place and I had the 4th fastest transition which kept me in 4th place. Praise the Lord I had the fastest run and moved up to 2nd place behind Jazmin. Praise the Lord for He is good his love endures forever.


Saturday, May 5, 2018

Wildflower Long Course 2018–Robin


May 5th – Lake San Antonio, Bradley, CA


Swim 1.2M – Bike 56M – Run 13.1


5:47:37 (35:29 – 3:30 - 3:12:26 – 2:21 - 1:53:50)




Long Course

Teammates: Clyde Floyd, Reynold Lewke;

Friends: Dave Leroy, Elise Winter

Olympic Course

Teammates: Caryn Galeckas, Dana Haldeman, Suzanne Hartley, Troy Soares, Sydney Lewis

On-Road Sprint

Teammates: Anna Soares;

Friends: Chase Visser, Josh Cagney

So great to be back at Wildflower after it was cancelled last year!  Most thankful to be serving at our FCA booth at the Expo alongside great teammates Caryn Galeckas, Clyde Floyd, David & Cheryl Kurtze, Mike Cassidy & Suzanne Hartley. 

I’m not sure how the day will go.  There are some things going against me…a strained arch that might make me walk on the run, and some lack of sleep and training from taking care of another family member.  One thing is for sure, it’s up to God and I know, no matter what, He’ll give me a day to remember!  I spend time in Acts 9 and 10 before the race.  In Ch. 9, it reminds me that I am to testify that Jesus was appointed by God to come and die for all mankind so that we can receive forgiveness of sins and have eternal life.  I hope to be a witness of Jesus and show others the love He gave to me.

I line up with the 40-49 ladies.  I meet a very nice gal, Melissa.  We chat about the day ahead.  I find Elise Winter.  She’s doing her first half Iron race here at Wildflower.  That is a hard task, but I am confident that she will have no problem today.  Elise’s husband, Greg, takes our picture.  I give her a hug and tell her she’ll do great!

180506_wildflower_long_course_robin_swimI pray with Troy and the girls.  Now I’m ready to go!

Our wave gets a chance to warm-up just after the wave before us goes off.  The water feels great!  Despite not enjoying the early training days at the pool, I really love the swim portion of these tris!  Looking forward to racing!


Ready, set, go!  I start on the far left front.  About 2 minutes in, the field suddenly becomes really tight as we all try to swim left to the first buoy.  I have to stop a few times to move across to the right to avoid being squeezed between swimmers.  Once I get past the first buoy, it gets much better and I can settle in.  I feel a bit out of shape in the water, but it sure still feels nice to be out here!  I cannot find someone to draft off of.  I just keep my line.

It seems like a long while until we turn to head back.  I find a girl in my wave.  I work hard to catch up to her.  I get a nice draft behind her but she soon drifts off.  I’d rather just keep swimming straight than try to stay with her.  She’ll be back!

Sure enough she comes back and I follow her through a crowd of swimmers in the last stretch.  She’s pulling away but I try to keep her near.  Home stretch, go!

Finally, I make it to the boat ramp and pull over to get my wetsuit off.  It’s a bit slow going but finally get it off.  As I run up the boat ramp, I’m distracted by my Garmin. Something is wrong so I try to reset it as I run.  As I make it to the top, I realize I just missed out on friends that could’ve been cheering for me.  Bummer. Ok, people first, technology second!  [In 6th place].


180506_wildflower_long_course_robin_bike2My transition is good but as I mount my bike, I struggle to get my feet in my bike shoes which are already on the bike.  I stop and actually pull off each shoe and put them on.  [I’m now in 5th place]. Finally, I’m off and heading out.  We bike through the finish line right past our FCA booth.  I wave and smile at everyone.

Beach Hill is tough going but bit by bit I get to the top.  I always get a little nervous biking up steep hills with other riders around me…afraid I cannot react in time if someone swerves.

At Mile 5, I’m at 13.8 mph average.  Pretty slow but I’m still excited for what’s ahead.  Anything can happen out here.  I see some of the FCA signs with scripture and encouragement that Troy and Cheryl Kurtze put out.  Love it and hope many others do, too!

I’m getting some momentum now and my average is creeping up ever so slowly.

At Mile 10, I’m at 15.8 mph average.  I cannot remember my past speeds on this course but I do remember Troy’s advice from many years ago…push the downhills and push less on the uphills.  That will come into play more after mile 20.

I start to feel my arms burning a bit and I realize I did a horrible job applying sunscreen.  I didn’t do my shoulders in the morning and was saving that for later.  This is a long day and I’ll need to find some sunscreen somehow.  I’ll try an Aid Station down the road.

At Miles 15, I’m now at 16.9.  Alright, it’s coming up.  I remember another Troyisim, whatever your average is on the bike going into Nasty Grade, you will loose 1 full mph.  Well, let’s see how far I can get the average up!

At Mile 20, I’m now at 17.0.   I finally see an Aid Station and decide to stop and ask for sunscreen.  It’s going to mean I’ll loose some speed but I think in the end it will be worth it!  A volunteer says yes and I ask her to help me put some on my shoulders.  I get plenty to cover the rest of me as some surely came off from the swim.  As I take off, I see that my average is 16.9!  Not bad!  Thank you Lord!

This is were the rollers begin and my downhill push also kicks in.  (B1)

180506_wildflower_long_course_robin_bikeAt Mile 25, I’m now at 17.1.  I catch up to Heather who is camping next to us.  She looks strong and we go back and forth a bit.

At Mile 30, I’m at 17.9!  Wow, thank you Lord!  This is a total gift.  I had no real expectation to be really racing today and here I am feeling like I’m racing!

The turn towards Nasty Grade is coming.  I remember that part being slower in the past.  That is probably where the mph starts to go down.

Mile 35, I’m at 18.4.  It would be great to have 17.4 at the end! 

To my surprise I actually maintain my average to Mile 40!  Wow, great!

Nasty Grade begins.  Here we go!  I’m expecting to feel wiped out going up due to my lack of bike miles this season.  I’m pleasantly surprised that I feel great.  Thank you Lord!  This is clearly from Him.

At Mile 45, I’m at 17.6 and finally over the hump and flying down the BIG descent.  It is so steep and it’s hard not to be scared.  I start singing worship songs and asking for His help.  I try to relax and brake minimally.  My flesh says '”be careful!”, “what if your front fork breaks or your front tire goes flat”, “look out!”.  I try to remain calm and trust.  It goes well and I make it down fast and safely.  Thank you Lord!

The next several mile are like a false flat.  I often stuggle here mentally.  Today, I feel great physically and mentally.  Lord, you are awesome!

At Mile 50, I’m holding 17.4.  Nice!

Last turn and I head back in the park.  On the last big climb back to the park entrance, there are more FCA signs.  Lord, may folks really think about you as they fly or suffer up this hill!

Soon, I’m turning onto Lynch Hill and making the 1 mile descent.  The runners on Lynch are most likely pros.  Must be nice to be done!

As I head towards transition, I see 17.4 mph!  Thank yoiu God!  Amazing!  I get the dismount right and am able to pull my feet out of my shoes. Yeah!

Time to run!  [11th fastest bike split, I’m in 7th place now.]


180506_wildflower_long_course_robin_runMy transistion is slow but I get moving!  As I exit T2, I see Troy.  I give him a high five.  We’ll see how this goes!  Will the arch hold up?  [Still in 7th place.]

At Mile 1 I’m averaging 8:35.  I can feel the arch but it’s a little tender.  If it keeps up like this, I can run the entire way! 

At Mile 2 I’m averaging 8:35.  Arch is the same!  Thanks God! Things are looking good!  I’m starting to calculate paces in my mind.  If I can run a 9 min average pace, I can break 2 hours.  I am hoping for that but know that whatever I do today is God’s will…even a 2 hour plus run.

I hit the first hill and see 2 FCA signs.  The scripture encourages and comforts me. 

I turn off the road and onto the trail.  It’s hot and dry! 

At Mile 3 I’m averaging 8:25.  Wow, the arch is doing great and I feel great too!  Thank you Lord!  I encourage a gal that’s in the 50-54 year age group and tell her she’s doing great staying ahead of the competition.  She says she’s doing what she can and that she has a knee replacement surgery coming up.  I ask when…2 weeks. I tell her I’ll pray for her and I do as I continue on. 

A half mile later I come up on a girl that is walking and crying.  I stop and put my arm around her and say a prayer for her.  She is encouraged and I thank God for that!  I ask her name…Naomi.  I tell her she can do it!

At Mile 4 I’m averaging 8:29.  That’s about to change dramatically in the next 1.5 miles…lots of climbing!!  If it’s God’s will, I would love to see the arch hold up and be able to run every hill. 

At Mile 5, I’m averageing 8:53.  Oh boy, 9 minute pace might be hard to get but all I can do is keep pushing!  These hills are really tough, but I’m not walking.  Thank you Lord!!

I notice a girl in blue in my age group ahead.  She’s running strong on the flats but I’m catching her on the uphills.  Every time I catch up though, she takes off.  I’m just going to stay steady.

Here comes the top!  I tell a guy next to me that this is the reward.  He agrees but says “it actually will hurt running down”…so true!!  Down we go!  I try not to break and swing my arms wide to keep myself upright.  Yeah, it doesn’t feel great going down but it’s a short, steep descent that is over quickly.

I actually catch up to the girl in blue and run with her for a bit.  I tell her she’s running strong.

At Mile 6 I’m averaging 8:55.  I’ve got to try to pick up the pace now to get the average back down before the last big climb from Mile 10 to 11.  The girl in blue asks me what the rest of the course is like.  I explain all that she can expect.  She soon takes off.

At Mile 7, I’m averaging 8:53.  I see our friend Dave Leroy ahead.  I catch up to him as we hit the Redondo campground climb.  I tell him good job. 

I’m soon running by my campsite and I see Caryn and Suzanne cheering for me.  I wave and tell them the arch is good.  I am so grateful to be able to say that. 

At Mile 8, I’m averaging 8:50.  I’m gaining back some speed!  Down another dusty trail to the overflow parking.  It’s pretty quiet with few runners in sight.  I see a yellow shirt in the distance and realize it’s Troy!  Wow, he ran all the way up from the finish line area to see me.  I stop to hug him and tell him I love him.  I’m so happy to tell him that the arch is holding up and I’m actually racing!  He tells me Elise is 5 minutes ahead. There’s no way I’ll catch her but maybe I’ll get a glimpse!  “Mile 10 to 11 is your favorite!”  Ok, down the long hill and then push it up!  Got to get excited because sounds hard right now.

180506_wildflower_long_course_robin_run2As I decend, I see Elise coming back up.  We wave to each other and I tell her good job.  A guy comes alongside me and tells me he was just praying before he saw my jersey.  “It’s a sign from God” he says.  I tell him great job as he goes by and remind him that it is an 12 mile race…”the last mile is downhill!” 

I make the turn and start heading up.  I feel great!  I look for the FCA signs for encouragement.  I think of Jesus at each one.  I’m encouraging all kinds of folks that they just need to make it to mile 12. 

At Mile 11 I’m averaging 8:50 still!  Wow, that’s all you Lord! The toughest part of  the hill is done but I still have “one more” mile to go! 

I see a guy up ahead whose legs are obviously seizing up.  I stop and pray for him.  He gives me such a mean look.  I just smile and keep going…sometimes it’s not received well…I pray for his heart to soften.  Mile 12 is just ahead! 

Up and over!  I’m averaging 8:50 still!  I fly down Lynch as fast as my tired legs can go.  I’m just thanking God for a great run. I’m definitely going to break 2 hours and I’m thrilled.  This could have been a long walk today.  This is a reward and gift and I’m going to give Him the glory.

I see the finish chute now.  Time to push.  One last dig.  I see the girls waiting to for me. I give them high fives as I go by.  [5:47:37 and 4th in my age.  1:53:50 and 3rd fastest for the run].  I cross the finish line and look up to Him. Thank you Jesus!!180506_wildflower_long_course_robin_finish