Race Coverage

Encouraging Signage...


TURTLEMAN NOTES - Regional triathlon attendance has been in decline for at least a decade. And the pandemic has exascerbated that in a big way. Unlike, runners, swimmers and cylists, Triathletes depend on racing for their identity, thus "uncertainly" can, and has, shifted many to a single sport emphasis. The migration from triathlon to cycling in all its forms, for instance, can best be described as "torrential," not a trickle. Still, high-ticket races like Nationals and Ironman-branded events are keeping the sport alive in a global sense, but they are contributing to the shrinkage of local and regional races. 

It's easy to get a bit depressed about this stuff, but there are some signs that our regional scene may be rebounding, albeit slowly. And we need to remember that we are responsible for either resuscitating our sport locally, or pulling the plug. We can resuscitate by racing locally and enthusiastically. Instead of doing one local race a year, we can do two or three. And we can encourage potential newbies to give tri a try, or encourage vets to add another local race to their schedules.

Studying last Saturday's Turtleman results, we were heartened to see that 300 athletes finished the event, especially since last year's finisher total was 213. Eighty-seven additional line-crossers is a significant upward bump (31%). Very encouraging, especially if what we are seeing is an actual trend....

Turleman also showcased the return of elite-level endurance athlete--triathlete, runner, nordic skier etc.--NICOLE CUENO. After a six-year absence she not only raced, she won the Olympic race bigly, her 2:11 clearly demonstrating that she's still got "It." We've missed you, Nicole. Welcome back.

Though only 19, the men's Sprint winner BRENNAN JENSEN is also a triumphant returnee. His last tri--Lake Marion--was back in 2017 when he was 14. He finished 17th in that event. Well, he's back, and he's vastly improved. Let's hope his T-Man success keeps him in the game.


Another Turtleman highlight was provided by emerging star VANESSA NAGEL, who finished 2nd overall / 1st woman behind Jensen in the Sprint. She posted the fastest bike split of the day, gender notwithstanding. In three starts in 2022, Nagel has two wins and a 3rd and will be a part of a crowded class of "Most  Improved" nominees alongside rising stars ELENA HENGEL and CAMI ECKHOFF, just to name two.

Finishing 2nd behind Vanessa in the women's Sprint was 2021 Junior of the Year nominee GRACE BUSCH, 19 (top photo), who appears destined for another nomination. Busch won the T-Man Sprint last year.

Claiming the final podium step in the women's Sprint was reigning Manitou Sprint champ BRIDGET TETMEYER (photo R), whose first tri effort, based on our research, produced a 10th at Chisago Sprint in 2021. It's is possible that former St. Benny's harrier is eligible for 2022 Rookie of the Year consideration.

As for the men's Olympic competition, we will be  posting a race report by T-Man O runner-up MICHAEL WEISSENBORN, who is a great writer in addition to being a total HOOT, in the coming days. Stay tuned for that.  TURTLEMAN SPRINT RESULTS