Last weekend I took a little time away from our Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley bicycle tours and travelled down to the California Central Coast. This region is home to the Monterey Peninsula, Cannery Row, the award- winning wineries of the Carmel and Salinas Valleys, the fairways of championship golf courses and the thrilling curves of the Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca. It is also home to Lake San Antonio where the “Woodstock of Triathlon” – the AVIA Wildflower Triathlons – take place every Spring. This year the event celebrates its 29th year of swimming, cycling, and running and a weekend full of family fun.
Over a four day period the hills around Lake San Antonio are blanketed with nearly 30,000 guests camping for the weekend. This represents almost 7,000 race participants and a numerous army of family and friends that come out to support the participants. The events include a Long Course Half-Ironman distance triathlon, an Olympic distance triathlon, and a Sprint distance Mountain Bike triathlon. All of the events offer an individual category, a relay category, and a physically challenged category as well. The Olympic distance triathlon features a Collegiate Championship. The event also includes a family festival with music, food and fun for all.
I have participated in this event for 4 years now and each time walk away inspired by the beauty of the region, the prowess of the elite athletes, and the courage of my friends from The Challenged Athlete Foundation who compete in these same events despite their physical challenges. For all the athletes, battling hills, wind and heat are key to surviving the day in pursuit of an athletic challenge.
I am already looking forward to joining in the fun next year to celebrate the 30 year anniversary of this event. In the meanwhile, we have a wonderful 2011 season of wine country bike tours to host in California and Oregon. Pedal on!