Race Coverage

Apple Preview Part II...


APPLE PREVIEW II - As ever, and as promised on Tuesday, we are posting a breakdown of Apple XXXVI's deep field. Well, it's not as deep on the women's side as it has been in years' past, but those who are currently enrolled are past Apple champions.

At least five guys have a legit shot at winning Saturday's duathlon, including a couple of past winners. Does this mean that, weather permitting, Matt Payne's amateur record, his 1:20:45 set in 2015, will be threatened this weekend?

Yes. Heck, DKT's pro record --1:19:57--might not be safe.

Here are the five guys, with mention of a few other challengers, men that can push the leaders to fast time, and maybe even claim a podium spot for themselves:

- TODD BUCKINGHAM, 29, Big Rapids, MI (photo)  - This guy is the real deal, someone with a pro future. He is the reigning Draft Legal Sprint Du National Champ, who also placed 3rd at Standard (non-drafting) Nationals on the same weekend. Todd was the surprise winner at Tri Nationals in the Omaha heat in 2016. And he's a member of Everyman Jack, the elitest of the elite national tri teams....


- WADE CRUSER, 30, Sauk Rapids - Apple's defending champ is a true amateur du star. He crushed his own course record at Cinco du Mayo Long Course recently. A victory would be the milestone 10th of his young multisport career.


- JESSON BAUMGARTNER, 36, Rochester - Dr. B is a former Duathlon World Champion (2013). Like Cruser, he is coming off an impressive CR victory (Falls Du). In his only prior Apple appearance, he placed 2nd behind Patrick Parish, who set an amateur record on that day.


- PATRICK PARISH, 33, Minneapolis  (photo R) - PP is a six-time national champion, four of them at run-bike-run, who has amassed at least 33 wins in his multisport career. He's podiumed at Apple seven times: 2 wins (2012 & 2010), five 2nds (2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013).


- KRIS SPOTH, 30, St. Paul - Kris made his du debut at Oakdale in 2017, placing 2nd in a brisk 1:02:15. He followed that up with a 3rd at Apple. We think he has figured this sport out, and could surprise the others on this list, come Saturday.


The above guys cannot make any mistakes, because the chase pack is formidable. It includes, in alpha order, JOSH BLANKENHEIM, tri/du sophomore JAKE BRAAM, KEVIN O'CONNOR, JACOB OLSEN and TED TREISE. And let's add BROOKS GROSSINGER and NATHAN HOFFMAN to the list, both of whom will start in AG waves. Hoffman is a former Sprint Du National Champion; Brooks was the top male amateur here in 2014.

Tomorrow's post will feature the elite women of Apple 2018. RACE WEBSITE

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