Race Coverage

Hoots & Shells....


HOOT LAKE TRIATHLON - Fergus Fallsian JOELLEN KOHLMAN-PETRICK did not thave her best race here in 2018, but she avenged that 5th place effort with a victory there yesterday. She was 10 minutes faster this time than last, which is saying something. According to the results, this year's bike course was two miles longer than the route used in 2017 and 2018. (The event returned to the course used in 2016 and earlier.)

Joellen is an intrepid person. Sometimes she stands on her head on her paddleboard. (photo)

Fellow local RHODA CHRISTENSON placed 2nd for her gender, with Cal-Berkeley triathlete (from Salt Lake City) JULIA SHERMAN, 19, taking 3rd. Christenson won this race in 2013 and matched yesterday's 2nd back in 2015.

For the second year in a row, flamboyant South St. Paul resident COREY NYGAARD threw down a silver medal effort. In 2018, it was future pro / Minnesota Rookie of the Year KEEGHAN HURLEY who took top honors. Yesterday, it was former collegiate standout SPENCER SYVERTSON that nailed first place. Spencer has won half of his last eight tri starts....

Artificial T-Rexes & Real Loons...


4th BERTRAM BLAST - Last Friday was Africa hot and Amazon humid. Bathing suit weather.

Temps were 30+ degrees lower on Saturday, and rain fell from the sky. Total sweatshirt weather.

Sunday's weather was perfect.

Bertram Blast happened on soggy, chilly Saturday, but that didn't dampen the spirits of the 100-or-so athletes that did the event. That's because off-road racing is less about results than it is about celebrating the outdoors, and whatever it throws at you. Within reason, that is.

Numbers were down, which bummed out race founder / director BRETT ODEN for a while. Then he recalled that his event shared the weekend with five other multisport races, including the Tri Loppet, our state's largest off-road multisport event. 

Ironically, the weather was much yuckier at Theodore Wirth Park than it was at Bertram Chain of Lakes Park, forcing the cancellation of Tri Loppet.

INGRID MELANDER, who is a wonderful person, as well as a total HOOT!, has been doing off-road tris (and MTB races) for a long time. She once drove to Arkansas (or Missouri?) on a Saturday for a race that was cancelled, then considered driving from there to Colorado for a race on Sunday, which would be a sleepless, nick-of-time type of deal. Because she had to work on Monday (she's an Emergency Room nurse), her boyfriend / traveling partner JASON GIDDINGS talked her down. They drove back to Duluth.

In her cool, stream-of-consciousy way, Ingrid described the 2019 Bertram Blast Triathlon: 

Great race...rain, last minute course change, a wee bit o lightening during set-up, tyrannosaurs in the lake....but it’s triathlon in Minnesota. The loons were even calling as we arrived and surveyed the beach and the weather.

Warm water, sandy beach start, and mountain bikes lined up in transition....

Juniors Shine at Heart of the Lakes Sprint...


HEART OF THE LAKES SHORT COURSE - Wow! What a great race. Four teens, two boys and two girls, cracked the overall Top 7! The two fastest of those talented young athletes, KYLE SWENSON, 17, and ISABELLA BUENTING, 16 (photo), completely rocked, and one of them (Buenting) demolished the 34-year-old race's junior record.

Buenting became only the second teen to win her gender's competition  outright.

Not only that, only two women--2018 National Champion GABY BUNTEN and CATHERINE LEE--have gone faster here. Lee's 48:44, which she posted back in 2003, was only nine seconds better than Bella's time.

Gaby's 45:41, a clocking befitting her National Champion talent, was turned in last year.

Buenting's margin of victory was 3:15 over runner-up /fellow elite junior MACY IYER, 15, who was nominated for Junior of the Year in 2018.

Third was earned by exiled Minnesotan MIKAELA ALGREN, who now lives in Coors country (Golden, Colorado). Mikaela finished 11th here in 2018. Her 2019 time--53:50--was 5:04 better than a year ago.(FYI - A Gustavus grad is currently doing research at Colorado School of Mines, Algren finished 4th last month at the TriBella Women's Triathlon in the Aurora, a Denver suburb.)

Buenting's 2019 in-state resume features her HOLT win, 3rds at Lake Minnetonka and Minneapolis Sprint, and a 4th at Buffalo Sprint. Three of those efforts yielded AG records....

Revealing Stuff...


34th HEART OF THE LAKES TRIATHLON - Our state's oldest events, that is, those that have been around since the formative years of the sport, and have survived the recent, and unfortunately protracted, enrollment slump, are our best events. *

We're talking about the Apple Duathlon, Timberman, Brewhouse and Heart of the Lakes.

Apple is arguably our country's premier run, bike, run. Timberman and Brewhouse are true "destination" races.

And Heart of the Lakes, in our opinion, is the event with the biggest heart.

When they arrive at the venue, participants immediately feel a special sense of "friendliness" in the air.

Small-town pride and genuine human warmth is palpable. 

HOLT is not only soul-nourishing, it is also one of our region's most competitive events, and this year's race was not only exciting, it was extremely revealing.


Yup. It revealed, for instance, that PATRICK PARISH is clearly the 2019 Triathlete of the Year male frontrunner. And we are not only talking about the Minnesota TOY honor. He's as formidable as any elite amateur man in the US right now, and we'd be disappointed if USAT overlooked him when determing their Athletes of the Year nominees....

North Country Twofer...Moose Lake & Buzz Ryan...


BUZZ RYAN SPRINT - The 7th edition of this Island Lake race saw 110 athletes cross its finish line this morning (Sunday), starting with TODD STRUCKMAN, last year's runner-up.

2018's bronze medalist NATHAN WAECH took the silver this time around, nipping 3rd placer ANDREW BROADMORE by 13 seconds.

In the women's competition, ELAINE NELSON collected her sixth consecutive win here, and 19th W of her ten-year-old tri career.

Newly-minted master TARA MAKINEN made the most of her Buzz debut with a fine 2nd place finish, which came a week after her fast 3rd place effort at Timberman Sprint.

JENA OGSTON took the final women's podium spot, after placing 4th here in 2018 and 2017.

We thinks it's very cool that 61%  of the finishers (67 women, 43 men) were women.

 RESULTS   ....

"Hormone Brain" and "Sticking it Out"...


By Hanna Grinaker (thfitspace.com)


You know that emoji with the person doing the face palm? That's me personified right now. I promised myself I wouldn't write a book, and well, that's exactly what I did. Grab a cup of coffee, or maybe have a couple of meals prepared, this could take you well into lunch. 

A note about race recaps: I've always felt that they are hard to read. It's like watching your favorite Netflix series from episode one after they have just released the whole season. I am cool with watching one or two episodes to get a feel for what's going on, and then I kinda want to blow through the next 10 to get the actual POINT! Do you sense I have a wee bit of impatience? I swear this is an actual gift in many circumstances.  

Anywho, with race recaps, I find myself reading faster or skipping over paragraphs to get to the punch line. "I don't care that you dropped a water bottle on the bike or had cramping at mile 38. HOW DID YOU ACTUALLY DO?!?  ...

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