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Cal Poly’s Triathlon Team will be competing with some of the best tri-athletes in the world this weekend when Lake San Antonio welcomes the Wildflower Triathlon Friday, May 5 through Sunday, May 7. An immensely popular event among those in its sport, the competition attracts many contestants as well as spectators and volunteers.

Triathlons traditionally involve a swim, bike and run portion. The Wildflower events incorporate all three segments with different lengths in which both individuals and relay teams can participate. The courses available to competitors are: the Long Course, which includes a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride and a 13.1- mile run; the Olympic Course, with a 1.5-kilometer swim, a 40-kilometer bike ride and a 10-kilometer run, and the Mountain Bike Course, which includes a quarter-mile swim, 9.7-mile bike and 2-mile run course for those who wish to ride offroad.

The event also provides an opportunity for college students to compete in their own category in the Olympic distance triathlon and Cal Poly’s Triathlon Team is taking advantage. With 65 members competing, Cal Poly will be well represented. Since winning the club competition in 2003, it has consistently placed in the top three for the last two years.

Although the races do not start until Saturday, festivities will begin the night before with the Pasta Party, held from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Colavita Pasta Pavilion. This is only one of many options for food and beverages, as many vendors will be selling tri-tip, crepes, pasta, coffee, smoothies and other items throughout the weekend.

The event’s volunteer staff is extensive, as many people are needed to help with registration, course marshalling and help at aid stations, transitions or medical tents, as well as at other areas along the course. Event organizers expect at total of 15,000 to 25,000 attendies this weekend.

The typical lodging of choice among Cal Poly spectators, volunteers and athletes alike is to camp along the race course. Although it does cost extra to camp, most participants find that the experience is worth the additional money.

Two-time racer and three-time volunteer and attendee Brian Kurotsuchi said that “race morning is really neat. Everybody gets up at 6 or 7 a.m. and – it’s just a big stream of athletes with their gear.”

He also observed that Saturday is typically the busiest day. “I can’t wait to race on Saturday, since it basically means that the park is at full capacity,” he said. The Long Course and Mountain Bike Course competitions normally draw huge crowds on Saturday.

A triathlon as big as this does not come without major traffic restrictions. According to Tri-California’s Web site, “Lynch Road and Lake San Antonio Drive (in the park) will be closed on Saturday and Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. or until the last bike returns to the transition area – All participants and spectators should plan on arriving before 7:30 a.m. (beware of long lines at the front gate) and staying at the lake until 4 p.m.”

Although arriving and departing may be difficult to do in a timely manner, the Cal Poly Triathlon Team will surely make all the hardship worth the effort as they look to treat spectators and volunteers to an impressive showing this weekend.

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