I've found that people are afraid to ask me about the race - they're scared I'll break down and cry (shocking, I know) or be too embarrassed to talk about it. But I'm not. I'm proud of the weekend and all that I experienced. So here goes:
This year I took advantage of an airline credit I earned by volunteering and booked a flight to SF a day earlier than the group. My co-worker Karen was my coordinator and had to travel out early to set up the campsite for the team. I offered to help. Well, really I used that as an excuse to travel on Thursday so as not to arrive Friday afternoon and feel the panicked rush of traveling for 8 hours, setting up camp, retrieving my bike and getting up the next morning at the crack of dawn to attempt 70.3 hilly miles. I was very glad I did.
Karen and I had a lovely drive down to Lake San Antonio in the rental Mercedes SUV (thanks free upgrade) with stops to eat yummy Mexican food, load up on supplies and drink some Starbucks on the cheap (compared to NYC!) The weather was stunning and continued to be so for the entire weekend. Sunny, clear and not the least bit hot. In fact, our first night and day might even be considered a little bit cold! Gloves were in order as the night went on and there is at least one picture of me floating around in which I look like a giant blue marshmallow because I have so many layers on under my sweatshirt.
First order of business - pick a campsite for 30+ tents. This did not prove to be an easy task. Many TNT chapters had already arrived and I was disappointed to see that last year's NYC Chapter spot was already taken. With not a flat inch to be found we staked out a lovely spot near the TNT Pasta Party Tent. Amenities: 2 fire pits w/grills, 3 picnic benches (until another chapter stole one,) nearby bathrooms and shower truck and ample parking. The SF Chapter nearly kicked us out but finders/keepers ruled. We set to work bringing the tents from the tent box and laying out Team NYC's tent village. We had 21 tents to set up and only a few hours of daylight left. Imagine two city girls trying to set up that many tents. Especially considering most of the tents were missing one part or another. Karen was impressed by my knowledge of the term "fly" and kindly put up with my bossy tent assembly guidance. Not more than 7 0r 8 tents in our hands were frozen and the sky was dark. We set up my solo tent and packed it in for the night. The team was expected around 3:30 or 4pm on Friday so we were safe to finish up the next morning. As long as we woke up early enough to fend off earlier arriving chapters and defend our space we were good to go. Day 1 of Wildflower - quiet, cool, beautiful.