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A North Country Gem...

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18th NORTHWOODS TRIATHLON - A north country gem, this year's race will field almost 300 participants, most of whom are chronic recidivists. Our fingers are crossed that the air quality will have improved by August 14. (It should be!)

So, let's make some predictions. 

BROOKS GROSSINGER has this race dialed in. Fifteen starts, 15 wins. Moreover, he is the only male athlete who consistently breaks the 1-hour mark on this scenic .25 - 14 - 5K course. (He missed the mark by just six seconds last year, but splits suggested that the swim course was a bit long.)

Six-time Northwoods runner-up DAVID LEWIS, a Nevis resident who's wife, NANCY, is the event's terrific Race Director, should record his seventh silver next Saturday....

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We Needed the Rain...

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GRANITEMAN BIG LAKE - Minnesota needs rain. Lots of it. If only it had waited until after last Sunday's Big Lake Triathlons, right?

But most triathletes are hardy people. The 274 who went the distance last weekend certainly were.

Lots of cool things happened at this 11-year-old event. Rookie triathlete CAMI ECKHOFF posted her first win, doing so rather handily in the Olympic race. KATIE ODEN (photo)coming off wrist surgery (rollerblade accident) and admittedly undertrained, scored a win in the Sprint race. Cool, huh!

Then there was this new guy. His name is PRESTON YOUNGDAHL. Like Cami, he posted a convincing win, which allowed him to share the Top Step of the Olympic podium. Well, it turns out that he has raced in Minnesota before, albeit back in 2011, when he placed 10th at Lake Minnetonka. He's originally from Deephaven, went to HS at MInnetonka but left the state shortly thereafter. Until recently, he's been living in Boutte, Louisiana, which he is likely to pronounce "Booty Loo-zee-anna." ...

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Nationals Name Dropping....

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USA TRIATHLON AGE GROUP NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS - Though marked by post-pandemic (mid-pandemic?) underrepresention, Minnesotans rocked at Nationals. Lots of Team USA berths were well-earned, and some of our state's athletes were truly competitive, either overall or in their respective age groups.

Minnesota's top performers are listed below. You'll note that three men cracked the 2-hour mark in the  Olympic competition, led by Minnesota's male Rookie of the Year frontrunner HENRY JESSON, who was also our fastest athlete in the Sprint. Two of our state's athletes--JENNA HORNER (20-24 Olympic Women) and TONY SCHILLER (60-64M Olympic and Sprint) were crowned Age Group National Champions.

OLYMPIC NATIONALS - Top 40 Men

20. HENRY JESSON - 1:58:25

21. DAVID KOPPEL - 1:58:29

32. TIM BONTRAGER - 1:59:23

40. KYLE SWENSON - 2:00:59 ...

- Age Group Medalist (Top 3)

2nd 15-19 - KYLE SWENSON - 2:00:59

2nd 35-39 - DAVID KOPPEL - 1:58:29

1st 60-64 - TONY SCHILLER - 2:08:15...

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"I LOVED the venue & the Course"...

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By Jake Keehan

 

GEAR WEST HALF RACE REPORT - Hey MTN, you had mentioned that you wanted to get my GPS splits before I left: Swim, I'd trust the official results. GPS watches can be off with OWS pretty frequently but mine had me at 1:30/100 and 1,760 yds for a 26:29. The 1:22 from the results sounds more like what I was expecting, but I caught myself pulling to the left every time I was breathing right and came off line/went wide more than a few times, so who knows?

Bike course was long, 58.5 miles and I trust the GPS data on that. I believe the official results calculated the pace based on 56 miles, but I had 23.5 MPH for a 2:29:14. 23.5 MPH for 56 miles comes out to 2:22:48 (6:26 faster).

GPS had my run just a tad short, 12.93 miles and 6:20 pace for a 1:22:00 but I'd think the course was accurate and 6:16 pace sounds better. If my math is right the 6:26 from the bike off the total time of 4:20:58 would put me at 4:14:32 for 70.3 (spot on what was predicted in the event preview!). ...

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2021 G-Man Big Lake Preview...

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11th GRANITEMAN-BIG LAKE SPRINT & 6th BIG LAKE OLYMPIC - DAVID THOMPSON, the legendary "DKT," is racing at Big Lake. What that means is that whitchever event he chooses--Olympic or Sprint--we should expect a new course record. We assume that he is leaning toward the Olympic, the CR for which is DAVID HOLDEN's 2:00:52, set in 2016. If true, Big Lake '21 should see it's first sub-2-hour performance. 

And just as we assume DKT will do the Olympic, we suspect that KEVIN O'CONNOR will do the Sprint. This is because he did the Sprint at the Clearwater Graniteman. So in the interest  of continuity, we are picking KO to pick up his second G-Man victory of the season, unless ANDY ZABEL decides to race the shorter event. If Andy goes long, we predict a silver medal performance.

Now, to make these predictions happen, we need to assume that elite athletes like 2020 winner JOSH MORK, and DAVID KOPPEL, who has established himself as the Minnesota man-to-beat in 2021, do not enroll. FYI, we received the list of entrants on July 29, thus there is plenty of time for credentialed athletes to sign-up between then and race morning.

We also predict a podium effort from PETER WIKMAN, who is enjoying a breakout season.

Who will win the women's Olympic and Sprint? Whoever it is, we believe her name was  not on the roster we saw. Last year's Sprint winner JENNA HORNER is at Nationals, as is EMILY GAGE, who has multiple podium finishes here. So, a LUNDQUIST sister-or-two could show up? Or maybe MACY IYER? Or CARYN HERRICK, who's boyfriend (Wikman - They are such a cute couple!) could decide to race. If she does, she would move immediately into the favorite's spot....

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