Race Coverage

Breakouts Galore at HOLT!

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35th Heart of the Lakes Long Course Coverage - We love to witness breakout performances, and there were several of those last weekend. MAGGIE SWANSON's long distance debut at Door County Half Ironman produced a 4th place overall women's finish in a terrific 4:47:38 was one. She faced some very fast women there and beat most of them. All of her splits were admirable.

Then there was CARYN HERRICK's breakout effort last Sunday at Heart of the Lakes. On paper, several more experiened and credentialed women were expected to finish in front of her. It seemed that a 4th place finish behind three-time HOLT champ CHRISTINA ROBERTS, one-time winner and three-time runner-up DIANE HANKEE, and KORTNEY HAAG, winner of twenty-three tris in her stellar career, would be a best case scenario. Besides, she had already finished behind those women in earlier 2021 races.

Roberts felt great when she exited the lake well ahead of her competition. No surprise there. On the bike, though, her legs didn't feel strong but she managed to hold her lead all the way to T2. On the run, though. her legs died. They couldn't give her what she needed to keep Kort and Caryn in her rearview....

Kortney overtook her first, but Caryn, who was two minutes back entering T2, was flying. After passing Roberts, she knew that she would better her 3rd place finish here in 2019, and that her time would be significantly faster.

Could she catch Kortney, though? That question wasn't answered until there was about a quarter mile to go. Many were surprised when she came over the final hill by the pavilion. She was alone, and couldn't be caught. The greatest performance of her young career was unfolding, and it was a joy to behold. Thoroughly spent, she crossed the finish line in 1:44:47, six minutes and five seconds faster than her rookie effort here in 2019.

Turning around, she saw Haag stride into view. Kortney's final time was 1:45:15.

Dead-legged, yet able to fight off the other elite challengers, including Hankee, ANDREA MYERS and teen talent NATASHA SORTLAND, Roberts grabbed the final podium step.

A truly exciting race! 

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Herrick posted this succinct comment on Facebook:

Pulled off a first overall at Heart of the Lakes Tri. Ugh, so great to race among a ton of talented athletes I’ve looked up to these past two years!

Only one male triathlete, pro DAVID THOMPSON, had managed to crack the 1:30 mark at Heart of the Lakes after 2009, when event organizers outlawed wetsuits for elite wave participants. The year was 2013, and DKT's time was 1:29:19.

This year, all particpants were allowed to wear neoprene, and despite the heat and rising humidity, the HOLT crowd was treated to another sub-1:30. This time, it was sophomore pro TED TREISE who made it happen. Keeping the hammer down from horn to mat, Ted rocked a 1:29:12, leaving his elite amateurs pursuers several minutes in arrears. 

Ted had this to say about his great performance: 

What a weekend! First overall at the Heart of the Lakes Triathlon.

I’m proud of this race and excited how the team around me and I can learn from past experiences and see the progression through time. Marginal gains in actions baby!
Thanks again for all the cheers and my crazy family, also smoke show wife @dani.treise, for making the trek to the race. They know what this triathlon thing is now. 

Was it a breakout effort for Treise? We think so. He had much to prove, especially to himself. His time was fast, and his margin of victory over the competition demonstrated his pro viability.

So, HOLT '21 had it's pro winner. Who was the amateur champion, and was his performance a breakout? That guy was amateur pre-race favorite DAVID KOPPEL, who is now undefeated in his last four starts. He had this to say about his fine 1:31:37:

Today (Sunday) I raced the Heart of The Lakes Triathlon in Annandale, MN at the venue where I did my first ever triathlon back in 2015. In that race, I finished 42nd in 1:52, and I loved every minute of it.

In today’s race I had much bigger expectations and was racing against a really deeply competitive field for a race that only had about 300 total racers (ED: 413 finishers actually).. Local pro, Ted Treise, was the clear favorite, but the rest was a toss-up and I knew if I could break 1:31, I’d be close to the front.

About the bike and run, he added:

I knew I had likely ridden a bit hard, but I was right where I wanted to be. Josh Mork re-passed me in transition and then I made the final pass about 1/4 mile into the run. So, only Ted ahead of me but I wasn’t quite sure if there was anyone else. Hot, humid, and no wind, but I went out in 5:28. No sign of anyone in front until about mile 2 when I saw Ted waaaaay out in front. I estimated he was 2:00 ahead and that was about right. I ended up in no man’s land with no one near me in front and two guys about 60-70 seconds back, and I hope that’s why my last two miles were soft. I finished 2:25 back from a really well-rounded race by Ted. So I finished second overall, and first overall amateur. I’m happy with an amateur win, but easy to find places to improve. Huge thank you to @kelsiekoppel for hauling the kids around this morning while I raced!

Then there was what quite likely was a breakout performance by third-placing JAKE KEEHAN. His multisport resume isn't long, nor did it portend a podium against the field that had been assembled for HOLT '21. Was a Top 5 possible when, in addition to Teise and Koppel, there was JOSH MORK, JOSH BLANKENHEIM, KYLE SWENSON, BROOKS GROSSINGER, KEVIN O'CONNOR, guys with credentials and HOLT experience up the wazoo, in the field? And was 1:32 possible at your first-ever Heart of the Lakes?

A former college runner, Keehan smoked his competition in the third phase, overtaking the afforemention guys and landing the final podium step in a very impressive 1:32:33. Like Treise's 1:29, and Herrick's breakout performance, it was a pleasant surprise to see Jake pass the pavilion with not enough real estate between him and pursuer Blankenheim to make up the difference. Good stuff.

Two Age Group records were rewritten on Sunday. Neither was surprising. KYLE SWENSON, 19, who placed 6th overall sliced 26 seconds from JASON LIEBSCH's long-standing (2003!) junior record, and nine-time HOLT winner JAN GUENTHER, 62, set her fifth divisional record here by lowering the 60-64W mark from 2:02:02 (2013) to 1:58:25. Jan has done three multisport races this eason, placing 10th overall and setting records in each them.

MTN's HOLT Sprint coverage will post on Facebook.  RESULTS

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