This weekend, thousands of people showed up to participate in in the nationally-acclaimed Wildflower competition. Even some of their families joined them. Not only were the racers there, but so were volunteers from Cal Poly.
There were three different tracks that triathletes could choose from. The longest track was the long course, which was a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike and a 13.1-mile run. In most cases, a single person ran, but a team could sign up for a relay, according to the Wildflower Web site.
There were aid stations along the course so the athletes could get something to drink or a quick bite of fruit or a Powerbar. Cal Poly volunteers ran the aid stations and stayed the whole race to support the participants.
“The energy of the racers rubbed off on all of us volunteers and made us feel good about being there,” said Ryan McCombs, a senior accounting major. “They made it worthwhile to wake up at 4:30 in the morning to help volunteer.”
A different track was the mountain bike triathlon. According to the Web site, it is meant for beginners or novice athletes. It consists of a .25-mile swim, a 10-mile bike and a two-mile run. The age groups for this race ranged from 8 and under to 70 and older, according to the site.
The track that college students competed in the most was the Olympic Distance Triathlon. This was meant for amateurs and relay teams. It consisted of a 1.5K swim, a 40K bike and a 10K run. Colleges could sign up as teams and have a collective time. The Cal Poly team, according to the Web site, consisted of Chris Turkovich, Evan Rudd, Anthony Yount, Melissa Barrett, Ashley Erickson and Tamara Presser. Their collective time was 14 hours, 24 minutes, and 17 seconds, which was a better time than UCLA, Cal State Long Beach and others. All three males finished in the top 10 of males in the collegiate competition and all three females did the same.
According to weather.com, the weather on Saturday hit 76 degrees and on Sunday 84 degrees. On Saturday, the Long Course and Mountain Bike triathlons took place and the Olympic distance triathlon took place on Sunday.
“The weather was amazing,” McCombs said. “It wasn’t too cold or hot during the race and it made the weekend even better because it’s the first long stretch of good weather Poly students have seen in awhile.”
Turnout was high for all races. For the long course, 49 professionals and 1,755 amateurs finished. In the Olympic distance triathlon, 2,584 participants finished the race and 724 racers finished the mountain bike triathlon, according to the Web site.
The volunteers enjoyed their time helping, McCombs said.
“Everyone was just happy to be there helping out and hanging out with their friends,” McCombs said.