Race Previews

Timberman Sprint - Preview...

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TIMBERMAN SPRINT PREVIEW - We're counting the days until we make our annual trek to Sugar Lake for the Timberman, which will celebrate it's 34th anniversary on July 14. 

Timberman is Minnesota's premier destination triathlon, contested at one of the most picturesque resorts in the Midwest. From the standpoint of physical beauty, it rivals any tri venue in the country.

Timberman also has an awesome bar and grill with a wonderful deck that overlooks its transition area, which is perfect for post race celebrations. How cool is that!

As we said, we can't wait to, as Tina Fey would say, "go to there."

We plan to post two previews, starting with today's words about T-Man's Sprint race. For grins, let's make some predictions....

Perham Records in Jeopardy....

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15th PERHAM TRIATHLON - Known as the Average Jo Triathlon for it's first fourteen editions, this event has been renamed for its host community. It is now the Perham Tri.

If you've never been to Perham, we suggest you check it out. It is a very pleasant town with a population of about 3500.

Deepest Men's Field of the Season?

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LAKE WACONIA XXIX PREVIEW II - Which Minnesota race will draw the deepest men's field of the 2018 season? We'd be surprised if it wasn't Lake Waconia.

Typically, a regional elite male will come into a race targeting a spot in the Top 5, or against especially tough fields, the Top 10. At Sunday's LWT, though, there will be several guys who win races and consistently reach podiums that will not crack the Top 10. Exciting stuff.

So, who are the guys who will battle  for the top spots? 

Here are some of them, in alpha order:

JOE ADRIAENS - Runner-up for the Most Improved award last year, we think that he is ready to take his place among the best in our region.

NATHAN ANSBAUGH - After flatting at Liberty, then having Lake Minnetonka called in mid-race, LW's defending champion is itching for a big performance. Another win? It's possible, but certainly a podium.

JOSH BLANKENHEIM - Duluth's numero uno, Josh has podiumed at LW three times.

JAKE BRAAM - Runner-up for the Rookie of the Year award in 2017, he is especially hungry right now. We think he'll have to run some guys down, which he is very capable of doing, in order to land in the Top 10.

SEAN COOLEY (photo L) - He won here in 2016 in course record time. The 2017 Minnesota Triathlete of the Year is certainly one of the favorites to win on Sunday.

WADE CRUSER - Cruser has been Top 3 on Team MInnesota the last two years. He's making his LW debut.

BROOKS GROSSINGER - A two-time podium finisher here.

JOSH MORK - Josh is a wild card. Like Joe Adrieans, he appears to be ready to take his place among the elites in our region....

2018 Lake Waconia Stuff...

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LAKE WACONIA TRIATHLON - The 29th edition of this annual classic will happen next Sunday, and while it has long been one of our state's most competitive triathlons, it is also one of the most fun. This means that recreational multisporters need not be intimidated. Those who have never done this event should come and see what all the fuss is about. They'll be glad they did....

Lake Minnetonka Tri - Predictions...& Updates...

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LAKE MINNETONKA PREVIEW - The 15th edition of the LMT will happen on Saturday, June 16. This event has everything: outstanding venue, great amenities, welcoming vibe. It is also one of the few races anywhere that continues to draw its target numbers. 

Last week, race director ROSS ROGNEY and timer BRAD PICKLE shared the to-date registration list with MTN. A quick perusal got us very excited, making us thankful that we were wearing adult diapers. It also made us very anxious to make some predictions.

So, without further ado...

Let's start with the 60-64M AG. TONY SCHILLER, who won this race outright when he was 50, is now 60. He owns the 50-54M and 55-59M records, and we predict that he will rewrite the 60-64M course best, which currently belongs to national class AGer BEN EWERS. Ben's time was a very fast 1:14:27, set back in 2009. We suspect that Tony was not happy with his 1:13:43 at the age of 59 last year. He'd gone almost four minutes faster than that the year before. If the weather cooperates, we think TS will pop a 1:10 - 1:11 next weekend.

We are also anxious to see how a pair of talented teens fare against each other. We're talking about ISABELLA BUENTING, 15, and MACY IYER, 14. Bella won the junior title here last year, and is coming off a very impressive 3rd place overall finish at New Bri. Iyer is off to a rip-roaring start this season, winning the Cinco Du Mayo Sprint outright, and crushing the junior CR in the process, and placing 4th overall at Oakdale Du.

Based on the last head-to-head between these girls (Trinona Sprint '17), wherein Iyer placed 2nd overall, and Buenting 4th, we are giving the edge to Iyer. Epic battle. We also believe that the winner will break 1:20....

Epic Head-to-Heads on Tap at Liberty Half...

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LIBERTY HALF IM XIV - We are very excited about this year's Liberty Half, in large part because 2016 Ms. Everything, HANNA GRINAKER, is returning to serious racing after an abbreviated 2017 season. Her aptitude at all tri distances is stratospheric. She's capable of rocking sub-2:10s--she has two actual 2:10s on her scorecard already!--in Olympic races, and 4:30s, perhaps high 4-:20s, at 70.3.

Of her eleven previous multisport races, three have been halves. Her first such effort was here at Liberty, where she finished 2nd in 4:47 despite having ridden long. Her second half produced a 4th place finish against a stellar cast of veteran long course elites. Her time was 4:41. Her other 70.3 was at Madison last year, where in ghastly weather, she placed 3rd in 4:46 behind former pro / Ironman Wisconsin record-setter DANI FISCHER, and Rochester's brilliant DANI VSETECKA, whose victory earned her the Performance of the Year award.

Can Hanna win Liberty's women's title on Saturday? Sure, but she'll have to outperform our state's all-time winningest female 70.3 racer: KORTNEY HAAG. Kort has won this race twice, and owns the women's CR, a brisk 4:35:45....

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