Race Previews

Apple Preview Part III...

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APPLE PREVIEW III - When this was written, only two women were registered in the Elite division. But they are two of our region's very best, national class talents certainly.

We're talking about SUZIE FOX and ELAINE NELSON, both of whom are past Apple champions. This head-to-head promises to be epic.

Here's some comparative stats: 

 

SUZIE FOX, 32, Chaska

 

Career wins (since 2009) - 41

Career Du Wins - 9

Apple Podiums -  2 x 1st (2013, 2011), 2 x 2nd (2015, 2012), 2 x 3rd (2016, 2014)

Best Apple Time -  1:33:40 (2012) - #7 all-time amateur (since 2004)

 

ELAINE NELSON, 38, Duluth

 

Career wins (sine 2011): 16 (28 starts)

Career Du wins: - 2 (Apple 2015, Gear West 2014)

Duathlon Podiums - 2 x 1st, 1st 2nd (Gear West 2017), 1 x 3rd (Gear West 2015)

Best Apple Time - 1:34:06 (2015) - #9 all-time amateur (since 2014) ...

Granite Apples...

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36th APPLE DUATHLON PREVIEW -  The Apple Du, turning 36 on May 26, is our state's oldest ongoing multisport event, and is widelly recognized as arguably the most competitive non-National-Championship run-bike-run in the US. We sometimes worry that this reputation may scare away potential entrants, especially those who have a recreational relationship with the sport, and those competitive athletes who are not in peak form this early in the season. These folks need to know that Apple is for everyone. It is first and foremost a celebration of healthy lifestyles, and the high quality of life we enjoy as Minnesotan tri-and-du-athletes.

Sure, MTN likes to focus much of its editorial on the competitive aspects of the sport, and we will be posting such a preview in the coming days. Today, though, we are focusing on this year's age group (AG) event. Because we enjoy progosticating, we are going to share our picks to win the non-open-class (Open Class = 20-39) AGs next Saturday in Sartell. These picks are based on the May 17 registration list on Apple's website. We fully expect an influx of talented age groupers since then, which will adjust the selections. For instance, if Derek Hager were to register late, as he did in 2017, he would be our new pick to win the 55-59M division....

Becky's Return!

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OAKDALE DUATHLON PREVIEW - There's much about the Oakdale Du that excites us. We love it's venue, which appears to have been designed with run-bike-run in mind. And the race has always been exciting and super competitive.

Next, we checked the event website, and learned this:

New this year, we have added a barbecue following the race. Join us for turkey dogs and burgers and catch up with all your racing friends who were holed up for this long and cold winter while enjoying the DJ efforts of Kyle Fulton. We have also given you the option to opt out of the medal and shirt and save some cash. Those opting for the shirts and medals will receive a long sleeve technical shirt and a finisher medal. Everyone is eligible for age group awards.

Exciting stuff, right? ...

Scheel and Woolsey Picked to Prevail Again....

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CHAIN OF LAKES RACE PREVIEW – Since the millennial turn, North Dakotans have fared well in Minnesota multisport races. Starting with Bismarck's Melanie Carvell, her state's original tri pioneer, then progressing to Marlina Walth, also from the state capitol, these women have made Team MInnesota on several occasions. Marnie, in fact, has placed as high as second, doing so in 2005.

Minnesota's 2014 Rookie of the Year, Nick Nygaard, grew up in Wahpeton before relocating to Duluth.

And, of course, there's Sean Cooley, who moved from Grand Forks to St. Paul a few years back. He won the Triathlete of the Year title in 2017, but he wasn't the first North Dakotan to do that. Fargo's Rob Gilles won that, and several other, awards in 2001.

So, is there another talented ND athlete on the horizon, someone destined for recognition in our state, and perhaps even a spot on Team Minnesota?

We think so. His name is Branden Scheel. He is twenty-two and a resident of Fargo. Last year he raced admirably at several Minnesota triathlons, as well as at Racine 70.3, where he won his AG.

Here are some of his 2017 results:

1st @ Chain of Lakes

1st @ Perham Triathlon

2nd @ Young Life Olympic

4th @ Hoot Lake

9th @ Buffalo Olympic

Branden is also an outstanding road racer, as his 2nd at Fargo Half and 3rd at Dick Beardsley in 2017 clearly attest....

Five Good Reasons to do Cinco!

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RACE PREVIEW - Every Minnesota multisport event has a lot of good reasons why you should sign-up. Some have more of those good reasons than others. The CINCO DU MAYO Long and Short course duathlons, which will celebrate its eleventh anniversary next Saturday, is one of those "more good reasons" events. 

Let's list a few of those reasons:

- SCENERY - Staged at Square Lake Park, the environs could not be more scenic.

- COURSES - Yes, they are challenging, but multisporters are challenge-seekers, right? And you won't find prettier courses anywhere in the upper Midwest.

- VIBE - Sure, some serious folks will be there, but first and foremost, Cinco is an event for the recreational athlete, an excuse to celebrate healthy living and embrace our beautiful state and our outstanding quality of life here...

Falls X Predictions...

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RACE PREVIEW - Yesterday we posted about the du newbies that are currently enrolled in next Saturday's FALLS DUATHLON. Today, we will talk about those we expect to be the frontrunners, both elite and in some of the AGs.

Our predictions here are based on the assumption that no other elite, or AG challengers, will register between the time we perused the entry list (last Friday) and race day. History tells, however, us that several competitive athletes will be later registrants. We'd be surprised if a few elites, like 2013 women's winner Jenn Scudiero, or Suzie Fox, or defending champ Jesson Baugartner, or Brian Sames and Jacob Olsen didn't make the trip to Cannon Falls next Saturday. Likewise, we think that AG stars like Andy Clark (50-54M) and Tracy Serreyn (50-54W) might decide to show up.

Still, this prediction stuff is fun to do, and those we talk about here will probably perform well on Saturday.

Our pick to win for the men is KEVIN O'CONNOR, who for two decades had been recognized as one of our country's premier open class tri and du-athletes, then became an equally respected and decorated master.

KO, 46, was victorious at Falls in 2016, doing so in Masters Record time. He had also race here last year, placing 3rd behind former World Du champion Jesson Baumgartner and two-time Most Imprved nominee Jordan Roby.

At this point in time, we think that Kevin's stiffest competitive will come from SCOTT MYERS and PETER SOMERS, who like his dad, is a Cheesehead (photo below) ...

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