Wildflower long course provided the thrill of victory - Jesse Thomas’s record 5-peat and Liz Lyles’ come-from-behind sprint to dethrone the defending champ - and the agony of defeat -- Heather Jackson falling 200 meters short of a 4-peat.
And, as usual, the 33rd edition of this half Ironman distance classic offered a beautiful course, a big challenge and tons of camaraderie.
All photographs © Timothy Carlson
Derek Garcia crossing the bridge at Mile 36 of the bike leg.
Ready for the swim
Starting the swim into the bright sunlight.
Age group start wave.
Swim start scrum.
Pro men exit the swim.
After the swim, a steep wall starts the 2.2-mile run to the swim-to-bike transition.
Brian Fleischmann rides up Beach Hill,
Heather Jackson chases after Rachel McBride to start the bike leg.
Jordan Rapp makes a pass on Matt Reed early on the bike.
Jesse Thomas passes Brian Fleischmann while riding through vineyards.
Chris Leiferman finished 3rd.
Riding high above Lake Nacimiento
Riding down the speedy descent after Nasty Grade,
Running the trail beside Harris (Dry) Creek. Photo by my moto pilot Joe Aurrichio.
Jesse Thomas exults in his 5-peat.
Liz Lyles passed 3-time defending champ Heather Jackson with 200 meters to go to take the win.
Rachel McBride led much of the way until she blew up 2 miles from the finish and took 3rd.
Heather Jackson gets ice - and later 3 bags of IV fluid - to recover from heat exhaustion.
Pros relax in the welcome shade of the Power Bar tent near the finish line.