Race Coverage

"Determined to Have Some Fun"....


CHISAGO LAKES SPRINT - DIANE HANKEE has been on a racing rampage lately. Two weekends ago, she podiumed at Bertram Blast (3rd despite running long) and Heart of the Lakes (2nd). She raced twice last weekend as well, and didn't simply claim podium spots, she won both races. Her Saturday win was at Shell Lake. On Sunday, she topped a great women's field at Chisago Sprint. In both races, she relied on her fleetness afoot to overtake the ladies who beat her to T2.

Elite Masters women have never been so plentiful in Minnesota. BECKY YOUNGBERG, 44, has won three major events this year and rewritten six Masters records. CATHY YNDESTAD, 40, set course records at Graniteman and Minneapolis. KORTNEY HAAG, 40, set a PR in a winning effort at Chisage Half IM. SARA RONDORF, 41, has won two of the three races she's done this season. ANDREA MYERS, 42, and CHERYL ZITUR, 54, are also racing at  a national level. 

And Hankee, 42, has has won half of the six races she's done thus far in 2019, and the other three results are a pair of 2nds and a 3rd.

Minnesota's Masters women are rocking like never before.

But wait, there's another woman who deserved to be mentioned here....

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You Could Almost Hear the Clicking....


CHISAGO LAKES TRIATHLON - Climate Change is real! And some days the change is realer than others. 

Last Sunday's Chisago Lakes Half IM and Sprint was greeted with perfect racing conditions, the kind that whisper in an athlete's ear. The kind that say "things will click today, and your game will be taken to the next level." 

And you could almost hear the clicking. Many athletes rocked harder than ever before, and it was wonderful to witness this happen....

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Another Big Win For Hanna!


HANNA GRINAKER collected her 12th career multisport victory yesterday at IIRONMAN CANADA 70.3 against an Alpsian backdrop in picturesque Whistler, British Columbia. The 2016 and 2018 Minnesota Triathlete of the Year turned in solid splits throughout, arriving at the finish line in 4:38:36.

Significantly, her time was only 17:24 behind the winning male, DYLAN GLEESON of North Vancouver, BC. (Gleeson was the amateur champion at Ironman Arizona last fall.) A more typical 70.3 time differential between elite amateur men and elite amateur women is in the 25-minute range.

Finshing 2nd behind Hanna at Whistler was talented Aussie MONIQUE DE ABREU, whose running reminds us of Ruth Brennan Morrey's.  De Abreu, whose 2019 season is highlighted by her win at Port Macquarie (AUS) 70.3, and a 2nd at Geelong (AUS) 70.3, finished in 4:39:32.

Grinaker has won three of the four triathlons she's entered this season.


ALSO: JORDON ROBY and JAKE BRAAM enjoyed successful IM debuts yesterday at IRONMAN CANADA. For Roby, whose initial IM attempt was in 2014 at swim-cancelled Ironman Florida, placed 13th at Whistler in 9:39:20. Braam, a Rookie of the Year nominee in 2017, posted a 9:51:07, which placed in 28th overall....

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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....

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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....

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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....

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