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Wildflower 2018 preview

Three time and six time winners, Heather Jackson and Jesse Thomas headline the race weekend



Wildflower is being held this weekend, in Bradley, CA on the shores of Lake Antonio. Packed with of live entertainment, wine tasting and fun for the whole family, Wildflower is quite the experience! Known not just for its festival atmosphere, it’s race course is a doozy! It has been dubbed as “The Woodstock of Triathlon”, even earning the title as the “Elites Favourite Race.”

Wildflower offers multiple triathlon distances, including a Long Course (May 5th), Olympic (May 6th), Sprint (May 6th), and off-road Sprint (May 5th) race. The weekend also includes a 5k/10k race, as well as a stand up paddle-board and yoga session.

However, the main event of the weekend is the Long Course triathlon. The race starts in Lake Antonio, which can be choppy or flat depending on the winds. This time of the year, the water temperature typical hovers around 65-68F (18-20C). The 1.2-mile swim is followed up with a 56-mile bike through the rolling fields of wildflowers. But, its not all sunshine and roses (or wildflowers). The course will put a sting in your legs with the rolling terrain and the “Nasty Grind” at mile 40. With lactic acid steeping into the legs, the race finishes off with a 13.1-mile run along the lake, creeks and through the back country of Long Valley.

Much of the Olympic and Sprint triathlon is on a similar route as the Long Course race, just obviously shorter. No slouch though, the Olympic is known as being one of the most challenging in the world. The sprint race offers a nice introduction for beginners and a reasonable challenge for seasoned triathletes looking to go fast.

In the men’s professional field, Jesse Thomas headlines the race weekend. Way back in 2011, Jesse jumped onto the triathlon scene with his surprise win at Wildflower. Now a six time champion, Jesse is a favourite and will be eyeing a return to the top step of the podium after the race was cancelled last year due to droughts in Central California. Jesse will be challenged this year by names like, Sean Daugherty, Jesse Vondracek, and Robbie Wade, all who placed in the top 20 last year.Β  As well on the start list is Ben Hoffman. However, following his Cape Epic experience with Sebastian Kienle, and a gutsy finish at Ironman South Africa his participation and fitness is questionable.

On the women’s side, Heather Jackson a three time winner of the race will be eyeing her fourth title this coming weekend. She will be challenged by names like Jennifer Spieldenner, Carrie Lester and Robin Pomeroy. All of whom have had either solid results at Wildflower or started the season strong with some early season races.

Daniel Clarke, a TMC contributor and professional triathlete, will be taking on the event this coming weekend. He will be looking to improve upon his first race of the season at Ironman 70.3 Oceanside. Click here to see what Clarke has been up to and what he is looking to improve upon heading into Wildflower 2018.