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Feeling More Like Me

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By Erin Klegstad

 

Liberty Race Report - When I compare 2017 to this year (so far anyway) – there’s really no comparison. My head was buried deep last year and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t come up for air. Looking back now, after a long restorative offseason and realizing that triathlon isn’t everything – or the only thing that defines me – it probably would have been smart to let it go for a year and come back fresh. But there’s no way I would have admitted that then. Hindsight is always 20/20, right? ...

Hippy Vibes, Buzzes & Moose Statues...

 

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WEEKEND PREVIEWS - There are three great Minnesota multis this weekend, each with its own special charm and challenge. We hope you will participate in one (or two?) of them, as almost all tris and dus, not just here, but everywhere, could use an attendance boost these days....

Couples Weekend...

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MINNEAPOLIS TRIATHLON & HEART OF THE LAKES - Something unprecedented happened last weekend. A triathlete turned in back-to-back Performance of the Year-worthy efforts. It would be almost unimaginable if both performances did not receive POY nominations.

But, who knows what super efforts this athlete will add to her incredible resume before the end of the season.

We're talking about HANNA GRINAKER (photo L). Last Saturday at the Minnespolis Olympic Triathlon she matched the event's 2nd fastest amateur women's time, a 2:08:07. That clocking matched  the one recorded by North Carolina's Alyssa Doehla in her winning effort in 2016. (Doehla got her pro card later in the 2016 season.) It should be noted that wetsuits were allowed in 2016, but not this year.

What made Grinaker's race even more spectacular was the fact that conditions were brutal, and she managed to outrace defending champ GABY BUNTEN, who rocked a brilliant 2:09:12. Bunten, the 2017 Minnesota Female Triathlete of the Year, came into the race with a reputation for being one of the US's premier Olympic-distance amateurs. Her 2018 scorecard coming into the race boasted two major Olympic-distance wins and a 2nd at New York City.

Hanna followed up her Saturday performance with an equally, if not more, spectacular effort at Heart of the Lakes on Sunday, where she placed 6th overall in a time, the likes of which we hadn't seen since 2009, when Cathy Yndestad popped a 1:39:16, a performance that helped her WIN the USAT Athlete of the Year award. Cathy's effort was recorded during HOLT's wetsuit-legal days. Since then, wetsuits have not been allowed for Elite Division athletes. (Beside, the water temp on Sunday was 84-degrees.)...

Steamy North Country Experience...

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TIMBERMAN SPRINT - When TAYLOR LUNDQUIST sped out of T2 she was in 3rd place, forty seconds behind TARA MAKINEN, a four-time winner of Timberman Sprint, and 1:53 in arrears of two-time champ / course record holder BETTINA KEPPERS.

At first, it seemed that if the teen from Osseo could hold her position against the aforementioned veterans, she just might come away with a new junior course record.

But TAYLOR seemed to have something else in mind. She was almost sprinting when she passed the finish line as she headed out on the three mile run. Would she pay for her aggresivenenss? Or would she settle into a pace that would allow her to catch one or both of the leaders?

Taylor was named 2017 Junior of the Year because, after an impressive, though not award-worthy first half of the season (two other juniors outraced her here last year), she cranked up her game and finished the season with three outright women's victories and a half dozen junior course records.

Would Saturday's Timberman Sprint be her turning point this time around?

It sure was. Lundquist not only overtook Makinen, she even managed to charge past Keppers. The result was not only Taylor's 4th career adult multisport win, but a total thrashing of the junior record.

But wait. There's more. Lundquist's final time was 1:02:57, which lowered Keppers' year-old CR by two full minutes! It needs to be noted here that runner-up Keppers turned in a 1:04:32, twenty-five seconds better than her prior best. Makinen also PRed, her 1:05:04 a 28-second improvement on her previous best time, set in 2014.

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