Race Coverage

It Doesn't Get Any Better Than This...



TIMBERMAN SPRINT - On paper it appeared that BROOKS GROSSINGER's string of second place finishes in 2022 would come to an end last Saturday. The five-time Timberman champ (4x Olympic, 1x Sprint) had the talent and the muscle memory to chalk up another win, which would be career number-37. Fellow elite master KRIS NISULA from Thunder Bay looked to be his strongest challenger, unless a breakout performance by an underdog stole the thunder....

Brooks raced well, his swim and run splits were strong, as was his finishing time--55:58. But once more he was relegated to runner-up status. 

The Thunder stealer was a young man who came into the race with "solid" credentials. On this day, though, that  guy--ANDREW KERSHAW--threw down an truly "elite" effort, arguably the  first of his tri career.  His swim and run splits were very good. His bike split, however, set him apart from the field. More than a mile-per-hour faster than the next fastest cylclist (Nisula), his lead coming out of T2 was insurmountable. His finish time was 1:01 faster than Brooks', and proved to be the third fastest time ever on this course. Outracing the likes of Grossinger and Nisula (5th), as well as bronze medalist ERIC JOHNSON, who like Kershaw, turned in what appeared to be the best performance of his career, will likely paint a target on his back. 


We suspect that he us up for that challenge.

TARA MAKINEN and BETTINA KEPPERS (photo L) were expected to duke it out for the top spot in the women's Sprint. Makinen, the course record holder, is an eight-time winner, including three Ws on the old route. Keppers is a three-time winner who owns five of the 11-fastest times here. Tara won last year and Bettina, who loves off-road tri racing, was slated to race at Bertram Blast on Sunday.

Advantage Makinen?

No. Keppers appeared to be in the best shape of her competitive life when she went to the starting line. TM laid down a fine performance, a 1:06:24, but Keppers was two minutes faster, her 1:04 proving to be the 5th fastest women's time ever on this course.

Rounding out the Top 3 was CHRISTEL KIPPENHAN, 57, whose fine 1:06:44 was only twenty seconds off Makinen's. It also lowered the AG record she set in 2021 by an elephantine 2:51.

Also rewriting Age Group records were CRAIG PETERSON (60-64M), NANCY KRUEGER (70-74W) and DANIEL KIRK (75-79M).

One-hundred and sixty-nine of Timberman's total 298 participants did the Sprint. Ninety-eight athletes did the Olympic race, which will be covered in our next post, and 31 did the Super Sprint, which was dominated by Kris Nisula's daughters HAYDEN, age-12 (34:24 - Female Course Record) and MADISON, age-14 (35:24).

It needs to be said that the "Timberman Experience" is unlike any other in our state. Most entrants agree that it just doesn't get any better than Timberman. Many insist that it is the highlight of their summer. Special thanks and congratulations go to co-directors AMY and ALAN DETTMER, and their crew for their brilliant work.  RESULTS

Photos by David Kooda

ED. We failed to mention MICHAEL KARAU (pronounced "Carew") when we wrote this article. Our bad! At age 41, Michael, aka "TATTOO BOY," is enjoying a breakout season. His 4th place finish at Timberman Sprint last Saturday was a clear example of that. He and establish elite master KRIS NISULA battled each other throughout the race, taking turns in the lead. In the end, Tattoo boy outran "Kris Nis" en route to a 1:02:03, 25-seconds in front of the Canadian. FYI - These guys befiended each other at the swim start, which is very cool.