Hoots & Shells....


HOOT LAKE TRIATHLON - Fergus Fallsian JOELLEN KOHLMAN-PETRICK did not thave her best race here in 2018, but she avenged that 5th place effort with a victory there yesterday. She was 10 minutes faster this time than last, which is saying something. According to the results, this year's bike course was two miles longer than the route used in 2017 and 2018. (The event returned to the course used in 2016 and earlier.)

Joellen is an intrepid person. Sometimes she stands on her head on her paddleboard. (photo)

Fellow local RHODA CHRISTENSON placed 2nd for her gender, with Cal-Berkeley triathlete (from Salt Lake City) JULIA SHERMAN, 19, taking 3rd. Christenson won this race in 2013 and matched yesterday's 2nd back in 2015.

For the second year in a row, flamboyant South St. Paul resident COREY NYGAARD threw down a silver medal effort. In 2018, it was future pro / Minnesota Rookie of the Year KEEGHAN HURLEY who took top honors. Yesterday, it was former collegiate standout SPENCER SYVERTSON that nailed first place. Spencer has won half of his last eight tri starts....

From Turtlekid to Kona...


ED. Here's a cool story about Josh Mork that appeared in the Monticello Times:


by Jessie Meyen



Josh Mork has always had a passion for swimming. He started at a young age and never grew out of it, rather he perfected the sport and added on two other sports.

For many years Josh thought completing an Ironman triathlon was an unimaginable feat. He couldn’t comprehend running a full marathon after swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112 miles, but in the spring of 2018 he decided it was a now or never to attempt this bucket list milestone and so he registered for the Ironman in Madison, Wisconsin that would take place four months later.

After months of diligent training and preparation he placed among the top finishers and qualified for the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii....

Late Registrants & Usual Suspects...


14th CHISAGO LAKES HALF IRON - Historically, late registrants have podiumed at this awesome event. In 2018, for instance, Aussie star MATT HUTCHINSON, a totally cool guy with a great accent, disrupted our predictions. We picked SEAN COOLEY, WADE CRUSER and JOE ADRIAENS to take the overall medals. But Matt popped in and took the gold, throwing down a sweet 4:06:45.

Thus Sean, Joe and Wade, respectively, grabbed the next three places.

In 2017, KORTNEY HAAG, who had won more halves than any other Minnesota woman, was our pick to up her total. Then, with race day near, Colorado's MOLLY SMITH, who had been tearing up the national long distance scene, enrolled. A great runner, she overtook Haag in the later stages of the final leg and pushed on to win in 4:35:40.

We could drop names of talented podium-worthy late sign-ups, like JON BALABUCK (Canada), TIM HOLA (Colorado), ERIC ENGEL (Wisconsin), pro THOMAS GERLACH (Wisconsin), JEN FOLEY (Iowa), JACKIE ARENDT (HERING), MARNIE WALTH (North Dakota) etc., and you'd understand our reluctance to predict a Top 3.

And we believe that in the absence of the "usual supects," i.e. SEAN COOLEY and JOE ADRIAENS, who are racing elsewhere this weekend, this year's men's Top 3 will include one or two guys that were not on the list we saw...

Artificial T-Rexes & Real Loons...


4th BERTRAM BLAST - Last Friday was Africa hot and Amazon humid. Bathing suit weather.

Temps were 30+ degrees lower on Saturday, and rain fell from the sky. Total sweatshirt weather.

Sunday's weather was perfect.

Bertram Blast happened on soggy, chilly Saturday, but that didn't dampen the spirits of the 100-or-so athletes that did the event. That's because off-road racing is less about results than it is about celebrating the outdoors, and whatever it throws at you. Within reason, that is.

Numbers were down, which bummed out race founder / director BRETT ODEN for a while. Then he recalled that his event shared the weekend with five other multisport races, including the Tri Loppet, our state's largest off-road multisport event. 

Ironically, the weather was much yuckier at Theodore Wirth Park than it was at Bertram Chain of Lakes Park, forcing the cancellation of Tri Loppet.

INGRID MELANDER, who is a wonderful person, as well as a total HOOT!, has been doing off-road tris (and MTB races) for a long time. She once drove to Arkansas (or Missouri?) on a Saturday for a race that was cancelled, then considered driving from there to Colorado for a race on Sunday, which would be a sleepless, nick-of-time type of deal. Because she had to work on Monday (she's an Emergency Room nurse), her boyfriend / traveling partner JASON GIDDINGS talked her down. They drove back to Duluth.

In her cool, stream-of-consciousy way, Ingrid described the 2019 Bertram Blast Triathlon: 

Great race...rain, last minute course change, a wee bit o lightening during set-up, tyrannosaurs in the lake....but it’s triathlon in Minnesota. The loons were even calling as we arrived and surveyed the beach and the weather.

Warm water, sandy beach start, and mountain bikes lined up in transition....

Juniors Shine at Heart of the Lakes Sprint...


HEART OF THE LAKES SHORT COURSE - Wow! What a great race. Four teens, two boys and two girls, cracked the overall Top 7! The two fastest of those talented young athletes, KYLE SWENSON, 17, and ISABELLA BUENTING, 16 (photo), completely rocked, and one of them (Buenting) demolished the 34-year-old race's junior record.

Buenting became only the second teen to win her gender's competition  outright.

Not only that, only two women--2018 National Champion GABY BUNTEN and CATHERINE LEE--have gone faster here. Lee's 48:44, which she posted back in 2003, was only nine seconds better than Bella's time.

Gaby's 45:41, a clocking befitting her National Champion talent, was turned in last year.

Buenting's margin of victory was 3:15 over runner-up /fellow elite junior MACY IYER, 15, who was nominated for Junior of the Year in 2018.

Third was earned by exiled Minnesotan MIKAELA ALGREN, who now lives in Coors country (Golden, Colorado). Mikaela finished 11th here in 2018. Her 2019 time--53:50--was 5:04 better than a year ago.(FYI - A Gustavus grad is currently doing research at Colorado School of Mines, Algren finished 4th last month at the TriBella Women's Triathlon in the Aurora, a Denver suburb.)

Buenting's 2019 in-state resume features her HOLT win, 3rds at Lake Minnetonka and Minneapolis Sprint, and a 4th at Buffalo Sprint. Three of those efforts yielded AG records....

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