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....

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Records Tumble at Buzz...

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8th Buzz Ryan Sprint Triathlon - ELAINE NELSON, Duluth's premier female triathlete for the last decade, won the women's title at the Buzz Ryan Sprint Triathlon for the seventh time in as many starts. Her career tri / du resume now boast 21 victories. Her margin of victory on Sunday over runner-up / lapsed triathlete LISA FILZEN was just over three minutes. Before her 6th place  finish a week ago at Timberman Olympic, Lisa hadn't raced in a  tri since the 2017 version of this event and thus had to be ecstatic with her 57:59 clocking, which was more than ten minutes faster than her  last effort here. We're anxious to see her future results.

Third place for the women went to three-time Master of the Year nominee CHRISTEL KIPPENHAN, 56, who placed 4th overall the previous weeken at Timberman Sprint. Her time there was an  age group record. We believe her 58:10 at Buzz is also an AG record....

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Back to Normal Feels Good...

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By Mitchell Clayton

TIMBERMAN - “Minnesota’s premier destination triathlon” did not disappoint the 25 super sprint-distance, 134 sprint-distance, and 75 international-distance triathletes challenging themselves at the 36th Timberman Triathlon this past Saturday. Nestled among towering pines and situated on the picturesque shore of “Sugar” Lake, it’s almost as if Sugar Lake Lodge was designed with hosting a triathlon in mind. After a year’s hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, race morning felt… normal. Temperatures in the Northland were in the mid-60’s and skies were clear as athletes set up their transition spot while chatting with friendly volunteers and race buddies that haven’t been seen in over a year.

The swim course took racers on a rectangular route, with the international course nearly stretching across “Sugar” Lake. Instead of a mass start, competitors lined up on the shore and started every 5 seconds in a self-seeded time trial format. After crossing the timing mat, the start of the course is sandy and shallow, allowing athletes to run a good distance in shin-deep water before diving into the crystal clear lake. Flat waters made it easy to spot turn buoys and to keep up the pace while heading out, over, and back to shore....

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The Usual Suspects and Kyle...

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TIMBERMAN SPRINT COVERAGE - What you see is not always what you get, especially when time trial starts are in place. This is not to suggest that TT starts are a bad thing. On the contrary. They spread out the field while simulaneously getting all of the athletes into the water faster than when wave starts are employed....

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Flip-Flop Finishes & Unrecognized Spouses...

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36th TIMBERMAN COVERAGE - The battle between the men's co-favorites in yesterday's Olympic race did not disappoint. In fact, what transpired was the most exciting finish in the history of the current course, which has been in place since 2013. Spectators watched and cheered as 2019 champion JOSH BLANKENHEIM charged down the final hill with four-time T-man winner BROOKS GROSSINGER in hot pursuit. Both men were sprinting. Josh crossed first; Brooks finishing about three seconds later. It was the event's closest finish ever. Previously, 1:06 was the narrowest margin between winner and 2nd place. In that 2016 battle, WADE CRUSER prevailed over Blankenheim.

So, Blank won, right? No. A time trial start system was utilized this year, and Josh launched approximately seven seconds ahead of Brooks, thus, in the end Grossinger claimed a four second win over the new daddy, who left the venue shortly after catching his breath so he could hurry home to his lovely wife Larissa and their beautiful 11-day-old daughter Finley Sue.

A similar battle unfolded between the women who would place 2nd and 3rd in the Olympic competition. Four-time Timberman runner-up ANDREA MYERS, a four-time Master of the Year nominee, appeared to claim another silver medal, finishing perhaps 10-seconds ahead of lapsed triathlete TIFFANY KARI  (photo). But once again, the time trial start resulted in the flip-flopping of the results. In the end, Kari, bronze medalist here in 2017 and 2014, took 2nd, 48-seconds ahead of Myers....

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Heat, Ice Cream and Redemption...

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By Mike Hushagen

Ironman Coeur d'Alene Race Recap: This was my 3rd Ironman and Jessica Ann Shaw's 4th.  It's a beautifully scenic but difficult course with long climbs on the 2 loop bike route.  As race day neared the forecast kept getting hotter and hotter, eventually settling on full sun and 101 degrees! 

 The race start got moved up to 5:00 am for the Pros and 5:30 for the rest of us.  We got a short night of sleep and headed down to the lake in the dark with our trusty race sherpa Mark.

 The Swim (2.4 miles):  The water was a perfect 70 degrees and Jessica and I seeded ourselves together in line for the rolling start.  Before we knew it our buzzer went off and the race was on!  We entered the water side by side but soon lost each other in a sea of people and waves.  I found a person to draft off of and spent the whole first lap on his feet.  I did my own thing on the second lap and felt great the whole time at a nice relaxed pace.  As I exited the water and ran up to my bike I found that Jessica was already gone!  Yes, she kicked my butt on that swim by 5 minutes.  Now my goal was to catch her!

The Bike (112 miles):  I was feeling great so I pushed the pace right from the start and started passing people.  I didn't catch Jessica until around mile 6 and we rode together for about a mile to the first turnaround.  I was in front of her and as I finished the turn I heard "Oh s@&t!" And turned my head just in time to see her crash! ...

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