Avia athlete Eneko Llanos arrived in Central California on Tuesday evening in preparation for the 2010 Avia Wildflower Triathlon. Llanos, a professional triathlete from the Basque Country, won both the 2009 Xterra World Championship and finished second to Andy Potts at last year’s Wildflower long course triathlon.
Llanos spent the winter training in Lanzarote, off the coast of Africa, before returning to his home in the Basque Country in April. Wildflower will be the second race of the season for Llanos, who jump started 2010 with a win at the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon in March.
“The unique thing about Wildflower is the run,” Llanos told Competitor.com on Thursday. “There are a lot of hills on the run and you run on trails.”
While Llanos is currently training for Ironman Lanzarote, he did add two or three long trail runs to his schedule in preparation for Wildflower.
His tip for Wildflower age-groupers: “Take it easy on the run. With all those hills, it gets very hard on the legs. The last downhill is tough on the legs, so try to keep your legs fresh.”
Although last year’s champion Andy Potts chose to miss Wildflower and defend his Escape From Alcatraz title this weekend, Llanos has no illusions about the level of competition. “There is always a high level of competition at Wildflower,” he explained. “This is an important race for everybody who is here. Even if people like Andy Potts aren’t here, there are a lot of other very good athletes. It’s going to be a tough, tough race.”
When asked about his fitness, Llanos said: “I’m feeling good. I had a good start to the season in Abu Dhabi. I may not be as fast as last year or the year before, but I’m fit and I’m looking forward to racing.”