Race Previews

BH #34 Preview....

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BREWHOUSE TRIATHLON PREVIEW - The list of entrants that Matt Evans, who is a total HOOT!, let us look at last week reveals that this year's BH races will have more entrants than in 2019. That is a good thing.

Now, for scheisse and giggles, let's make some predictions....

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Inaugural Gear West Half & Olympic Preview...

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1st GEAR WEST HALF & OLYMPIC - The Liberty Triathlon was a beloved race that was one  of our state's "highlight" events for 14 years, the first sevenof which were staged at Baker Park, the last seven at beautiful Lake Rebecca Park Reserve. Special circumstances forced the cancellation of the race, not lack of interest or support.

From the moment it left the calendar in 2018, various groups have given serious consideration to resurrecting Liberty. Earlier this year, Gear West Bike and Triathlon and some local athletes stepped in to bring this iconic race back, albeit with a new name: Gear West Half and Olympic.

The competitive records at the original races will be hard to match or beat. The Half records were set by MATT PAYNE, aka "The Pain Train," and KORTNEY HAAG. Matt threw down a 4:02:46 in 2014, in inclement weather no less, and Kort rocked  a 4:35:45. The average winning time for men was in the 4:12-15 range, and for women, 4:42-48.

Are there athletes on the current roster who can race at that level? Yes. Kortney, winner of nine half IMs in her career, the last of which was at Chisago in 2019, where she popped a 4:32:52, is registered. For the guys on the current list, JAKE KEEHAN, who is coming off a stellar effort (3rd) at Heart of the Lakes, is certainly capable of a 4:15-or-better. And there will certainly be several other fast men and women that will sign up between now (July 22) and race day. ...

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2021 Chisago Preview...

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15th CHISAGO LAKES HALF & SPRINT PREVIEW - When researching Sunday's race we noted that several of our state's fastest female triathletes will be making their long course debut, so we decided to make that the central focus of our preview.

In 2014, Rookie of the Year runner-up KELLY TROM, who went on to win Chisago in 2015 and record two more podium finishes after that, and goes into this year's race as one of the favorites, made her 70.3 debut at HITS Waconia, where she placed 2nd behind our state's all-time winningest female triathlete, CATHY YNDESTAD. Kelly's time was remarkable: 4:48:09. 

Can any of our long distance rookies match that on Sunday? It is a lot to ask, but it's possible. Breaking 4:50 rarely happens on the first try, and cracking 5-hours is a more reasonable goal. Will all of the women highlighted in this post slip under the magic 300-minute mark? We hope so....

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HOLT 2021 Preview...

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35th HEART OF THE LAKES TRIATHLON - The 35th edition of this annual classic is happening next Sunday, and once again, promises to be highly competitive event. Below are some predictions and comments based on the early list  of entrants we perused. We do expect other competitive athletes to sign-up.

Long Course:

TED TREISE - Ted hasn't lost to a fellow Minnesotan since procuring his pro license after the 2019 season. He hopes to keep that going at HOLT, but top amateurs DAVID KOPPEL and KYLE SWENSON will make that a difficult task....

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Timberman XXXVI Preview...Updated!

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36th TIMBERMAN TRIATHLON - The 36th edition of Minnesota's "Premier Destination Triathlon" will happen next Saturday at picturesque Sugar Lake Lodge. Once again, both the Sprint and Olympic competitions promise to be exciting and we can not wait until race morning. We're bummed, however, that due to closed borders, the event's loyal Canadian friends will not be in attendance.

Let's make some predictions. 

On paper, 1st place in the men's Olympic race should come down to a battle between past champions JOSH BLANKENHEIM and BROOKS GROSSINGER. These men have taken turns beating each other at Timberman, Brooks prevailing in 2014, Josh in 2016.  Though Brooks' 2021 resume features a win and a 2nd, enough to be named Masters Athlete of the Month in June, while in one appearance, Josh placed 3rd, albeit behind DAVID KOPPEL and former pro DAVID THOMPSON, we are unwilling to pick a winner. We do believe that less than a minute will separate 1st and 2nd place. That has not happened since the current course was established in 2013.

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2021 Graniteman Clearwater Preview...

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GRANITEMAN CLEARWATER PREVIEW - The 12th edition of the event's Sprint race, that is, since it moved to its Clearwater venue, and its younger (6th) Olympic-distance companion is happening on Saturday, and once again, it will be exciting and competitive. The list we perused  had 299 names, though it did not designate whether the athlete will be sprinting or Olympic-ing. So, we'll be guessing.

Time for predictions and comments.

On paper, the clear favorites in the Olympic race are JOSH BLANKENHEIM and KORTNEY HAAG. Blank has 12 career multisport wins and will be making his Clearwater debut on Saturday. What impresses us most about Josh is that he seeks out the most competitive fields, thus his win total is a bit deceiving. He's been Duluth's top male triathlete since the retirement of BRIAN BICH in 2017.

Kortney on the other hand owns a win and a 2nd at Clearwater, and had also won at Big Lake, doing so in record time. A victory for Kort would be the 23rd of her triathlon career...

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