Race Previews

Will CY Be There? ...UPDATED AGAIN...

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GRANITEMAN CLEARWATER OLYMPIC - Though the Graniteman Clearwater event will be 10-years old on Saturday, its Olympic-plus distance event has only been a part of the progam since 2015.

We use the terminology "Olympic-plus" because the bike portion is longer than 40K. How much? About 6K, or about 3.8 miles.

Here in the upper Midwest, triathletes love lots of bike miles. One is not going to find many sprint races in Minnesota with only 20K (12.4) bike routes. They're more apt to a find a 20-mile course, as in the case of Heart of the Lakes, or a 22-mile route, as at Chisago.

As a result, of course, athletes who typically post, say, a 3-hour time at Brewhouse or Minneapolis, will probably need another dozen minutes to go the distance at G-Man. So you know, the course records belong to established elites, BENNETT ISABELLA (2:09:31 in 2015) and KORTNEY HAAG (2:24:40 in 2017), but more typical winning times are in the 2:14 range for men, and 2:30 range for women.

Who do we think will lead the way on Saturday?  ...

 

Based on the list we saw last week, we're picking ANDY ZABEL to take the men's title. He won here in 2017 in 2:17:55, but he has gone to a new level since then. In fact, his outstanding 4th place finishes against stellar fields at Apple and Lake Minnetonka this season have landed him squarely on the 2019 Most Improved radar. We're convinced that he's ready to pop a 2:12 on Saturday, and that will be hard to beat.

Unless, some Team Minnesota guys decide to sign up, that is, guys like WADE CRUSER, or MATT PAYNE, or KEVIN O'CONNOR, or 2018 champ JOSH MORK. Or even PATRICK PARISH, whose racing appetite this season is off the charts--He's raced the last five weekends, recording three wins and two 2nds--Andy should collect his 8th career multisport victory.

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As for the women, we heard through the grapevine that CATHY YNDESTAD, the winningest / most decorated Minnesota multisportswoman ever (approximately 75 career wins), is seriously considering taking at run at Haag's record. If she shows up, we think she'll drop the CR by 2-3 minutes into the 2:21 range.

If she doesn't attend, our choice to win is ANDREA MYERS, who has won five races in the last two-and-a-half seasons. She's raced often and well thus far in 2019. Against strong fields she's posted a 2nd at Gear West, and 4ths at Apple, Buffalo OLympic and Lake Minnetonka. Weather permitting, she should pop a sub-2:30.

AG Predictions: Who should finish atop these divisions:

45-49W - LORI DESCHAMPS (photo R)

45-49M - KEVIN O'CONNOR

50-54W - AMY WOOLSEY

50-54M - RANDY PETERSON

60-64W - LAURIE PAYTON

65-69M - LUKE HARNED

70-74M - THOMAS ROHMAN

 

UPDATE! - The new registration list we saw includes five-time Minnesota Master of the Year KEVIN O'CONNOR, and women's course record holder KORTNEY HAAG. This changes things dramatically. Kevin is our new men's favorite, and Kort is our pick to defend the women's title, unless CATHY YNDESTAD decides to race. If so, Kort will give CY a hulluva race. And we expect Kevin to pull Andy Z to a very fast time.

UPDATE II - Graniteman Cleatwre just keeps getting competitiver and competitiver. In the Sprint, new sign-ups include SARA RONDORF, last year's Olympic runner-up, and very likely podium finisher on Saturday, and DANIEL KIRK, 72, who will be taking on fellow GMOY nominee, THOMAS ROHMAN. the winner should set an AG record.

And the Olympic got much tougher as CATHY YNDESTAD has, indeed, registered. Fast new Olympic guys include DAVE KOPPEL, THAD INGERSOLL, JOHN SHELP and JASON CRISP.

UPDATE III - We just heard from 2018 Clearwater Olympic champ JOSH MORK. His wife has given him permission to return to defend his G-Man title. Josh is coming off an impressive 2nd-place performance at Lake Minnetonka.

 

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