Race Previews

Three Decades of Awesomeness....


BREWHOUSE XXXI PREVIEW - The 31st Brewhouse Triathlons, the fifth at its spectacular Island Lake venue, will happen next Sunday, and the question is: Which race will be Epic-er, the Olympic or the Sprint?

Interestingly, the women's field in the Sprint is deeper this year than the group that is currently signed up for the longer race. Still, the Olympic women's race features a pair of true stars who have yet to face each other.

As for the men in both races, according to the registration list we perused, the favorites are clear: JOSH BLANKENHEIM and MIKE WARD. Both are defending champs, and while Blank will be gunning for his 2nd straight Olympic win, Ward has his sights set on his 6th Sprint title. 

Back to the Olympic women.

The clear favorites are BH veteran ELAINE NELSON, winner here in 2014, and DANI VSETECKA, who will be making her Olympic debut on Sunday. 

Can Dani give Elaine a great race? Absolutely. Despite her inexperience at this distance, she is arguably one of the Top 3 amateur female duathletes in the US, and perhaps our country's fastest amateur female 70.3 racer. She's simply a great triathlete, one with a pro future, if she decides to go in that direction. Certainly a fast 32-mile race is something that Vsetecka (pronounced "Sheh-teska") can master on her first attempt.

The Elaine/Vsetecka match-up could produce a course record. (Oops! We've started to wet ourselves. Can't wait to watch this battle unfold.) We also think that TIFFFANY KARI will match her 3rd place effort of 2016, doing so in a PR in the 2:17-2:18 range.

Back to the women's sprint field. Check out this alphabetical list of podium contenders:

- LORI DESCHAMPS, 46, Anchorage, AK - A frequent medalist at Nationals, Lori could crack the Top 3, but it won't be easy.

- BETTINA KEPPERS, 34, Duluth - She's done this race twice, setting a course record last year after placing 3rd in 2015. Bettina has been on fire for the last two years. We predict that she will duke-it-out with Lendway for the W....


- CHRISTEL KIPPENHAN, 52, Bemidji - She's made the overall podium here on two occasions. She's a member of the Minnesota's super-50-plussers sorority, which includes Cheryl Zitur, Julia Weisecker, Jan Guenther, Jody Quesnell and others.

- LISA LENDWAY, 36, St. Paul - Lisa LOVES BH and has been excelling here since 2004. She won the Sprint in 2007 and has finished 2nd in the Olympic race on three occasions. If she's fit, she could set a CR on Sunday.

- TARA MAKINEN, 36, Grand Rapids - Tara loves sprints. Since 2013, she has raced in 14 short course tris, winning six times and only missing the podium twice. She'll be making her Island Lake debut on Sunday.

- JENA OGSTON, 45, Duluth - Jena has won the BH Sprint four times, though not since the event was relocated. She's podiumed at Island Lake twice. We hope she wears her cool straw hat.

We're anxious to watch the BH action next Sunday. If you're looking for a GREAT event to participate in either as a racer, volunteer or spectator, we hope you'll make the trek to Island Lake on Sunday. RACE WEBSITE


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