Race Coverage

Barkin' With the Big Dogs....

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LAKE WACONIA TRIATHLON - The three-hundred-plus athetes that showed-up last Sunday at picturesque Lake Waconia Regional Park came with their fingers crossed, either literally, or metaphorically. Morning weather reports weren't encouraging, and most feared that lightning would either abbreviate the event, as it had done at Liberty two weeks prior, or cancel it completely, as it had at Lake Minnetonka eight days ago.

The sky had morphed from blue to grey as race time approached, and there was mist in the atmosphere. But no lightning.

The race started on time, and everyone got in-and-out of the lake, onto their bikes and into the the beautiful hinterlands that encirlce Lake Waconia. It was raining now, but not heavily. The sky remained quiet. No thunder, that harbinger of yuckiness and stoppage.

In fact, the weather was actually quite accommodating, for the athletes, at least. It never rained hard enough for the roads to get greasy. It was gentle enough to keep athletes cool and comfortable, which ultimately led to fast times.

That JOSH MORK completed the bike course first clearly showed that he is ready to bark with the Big Dogs in our region. Most had expected to see MATT PAYNE, who they would later learn had crashed, or two-time LWT winner PATRICK PARISH, or WADE CRUSER, to be the leaders out of T2.

Mork had been running for nearly a minute when Wade and 47-year-old masters course record holder KEVIN O'CONNOR hit the pavement. Then came Parish. All three of Josh's pursuees brought formidable running creds to the table. Was Josh in way over his head? Or could he hold off some, or all, of these talented guys?  ...

 

Spectators at the run exit started to make moneyless bets. Most believed that Parish, former collegiate runner at Duke, would be the first to come down the final hill.

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They were right. As Parish got close to the turn for home, Mork and O'Connor came into view. Then Cruser, who was pushing hard to bridge the gap. It was Mork who had an extra gear, and in the end, he put two seconds into O'Connor, who put an additional two into Cruser. It was exciting as heck to watch, and the times were very fast:

1. PARISH - 1:22:28, 2. MORK - 1:23:22, 3. O'CONNOR - 1:23:24, 4. CRUSER - 1:23:26.

What this demonstrated to the MTN Guys is that Mork is the current frontrunner for the 2018 Most Improved award, and a spot on Team Minnesota. But this can change, as the season is young. But we'd be very surprised if Josh wasn't a nominee at season's end.

And there are several other guys on the MI radar right now, and a trio of them claimed three of the next for spots at LW, starting with TED TREISE (pronounced "Try-see), a top fiver at Apple who was coming off a 6th place amateur finish at Eagleman 70.3 in a PR- 4:15.

Then came UMD's GARRETT WELSCH, last year's junior champ here, and winner at New Bri on June 3. In 8th place was DAVID KOPPEL, who had been near the front  of all three races he'd done thus far in 2018.

Four age group course records were set at LW last Sunday, three by women. The one men's CR was rewritten by DARYL STEVENS' 75-79 2:06:14, which improved on the old mark set in 2010 by LOU HARRIS, by 11:34. Daryl is the founder of the Apple Duathlon, and former member of a state championship high school basketball team. He is also one of the coolest guys we know. 

Tomorrow we will post coverage of the women's race. RESULTS

Top Photo - Josh Mork at Graniteman Big Lake last August.

Page 2 Photo - Daryl Stevens thinking deep thoughts.

Comments   

0 #3 Josh Mork 2018-06-27 19:13
During these surges I caught some brief bouts of adrenaline rush that would erase all pain and discomfort but then as the adrenaline faded the pain would come back even more intense. As we made that final turn down the shoot I glanced back to see who else was approaching and saw Wade gunning and feared I would go from 2nd to 4th in the last few feet so I gave it one last surge to magically hold the position. For me that was an epic battle and only made possible by the competition. Lastly, as much as I would like to believe Kevin that this particular performance has ‘permanently increased my running prowess’ I’m not quite ready to live up to that standard so I’ll stick to my game plan of attacking the swim/bike and hanging on for dear life on the run.
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0 #2 Josh Mork 2018-06-27 19:12
First time commenter but long time reader…. Kevin/Jerry - Thanks for the very kind words. I feel very humbled to be part of the conversation whether it’s being referred to as a ‘wild card’ or ‘barking with the big dogs’. Also, I enjoyed hearing your perspectives on how the race unfolded. Going into the race I would have never guessed I’d be battling for second place on the homestretch against a slew of great athletes. But as the race progressed it appeared I may have a slim shot. When I heard Kevin’s size 14+ feet come charging up from behind me with a 1/3 mile to go I believed the inevitable would happen, that Kevin and maybe a couple more guys would go blazing by me in the closing stretch. As Kevin neared closer I decided to try and match his pace for just 10 feet to see what it felt like to run at that speed. Then I tried for another 10 feet. For me this was a suicide pace but I just kept telling myself I can run another 10 feet.
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0 #1 Kevin Oconnor 2018-06-26 18:12
Hats off to Josh. I caught him with 1/3 mile left. I had already made up 1:24 on Josh in 3 1/2 miles. As we finished last downhill I planned on blowing by and finishing second overall for the umpteenth time. Josh had other plans. He surged, then I did, then he did again, then I did again. He had no intentions to letting me cross in front of him. I had the same thought regarding him. In the end he finished two feet in front of me. And his surging kept both of us just 2 seconds in front of Wade! I am afraid Josh now has a new, higher, standard for his run speed and has permanently increased his running prowess. We are all in trouble. Congrats Josh!
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