Race Previews

A Slice of Apple Pie...


38th SARTELL APPLE DUATHLON PREVIEW I - About two weeks ago, Evin, who incidentaly is a HOOT!, was kind enough to send us an early signup listing for Saturday's Apple Du. Almost 250 athletes had already enrolled, so it looks like there will be a great turnout for the 2021 Minnesota Multisport Season Opener. We'd love to see 350-400 attendees. Fingers crossed.

Today, we are discussing the credentials of some of the men on the early list, starting with those who will be racing at the front of the pack. Know that it is likely that other elite amateurs, guys like PATRICK PARISH and course record holder RYAN GUILIANO (IL), will sign up between now and race day, if they haven't already done so.

TED TREISE, 27 - The sophomore pro placed 5th at Apple in 2018. His time was 1:26:09, which was almost five minutes behind the winner. Is he capable of making that up on Saturday? We think he is. Named Minnesota Triathlete of the Year in 2020, he has raced more that any of his elite in-state peers over the last year, including twice already in 2021. His rust has been knocked off and he should collect another win. ...


KRIS SPOTH, 33 (top photo) - The former collegiate star (ISU) has podiumed twice at Apple. His PR on the Sartell course is basically identical to Treise's. He has not raced since Nationals in 2019, nevertheles, we predict another Top 3, likely a 2nd or 3rd. 

ANDY ZABEL, 42 - Andy enjoyed a breakout season in 2019, winning four races and setting a 70.3 PR in a podium finish at Chisago. He also cracked the Top 5 at Apple. Is he ready to challenge Ted and Kris? Maybe, but he would have to throw down a performance like the one he turned at Hopkins in 2019.If so, he can podium on Saturday, but that would entail that he outrace KEVIN O'CONNOR, now 49, who has raced at a national class level for the last three decades. Should be a good battle between Andy and Kevin.

Let's talk about some of the projected frontrunners in the men's AG competitions.

NOAH BILLINGS, 15 (photo below)- The Junior CR at Apple was set in 2015 by NICK KLONNE, one of the most talented male teens ever to come our of Minnesota. His time was 1:30:52. The closest anyone junior has come to that mark was ANDREW NOVAK'S 1:32:54 in 2018. So, while we think that Noah can win his AG, we think he is two years away from challenging Klonne's standard. We believe that Noah is a special athlete, though history shows that junior course records are typically set by 18 or 19-year-olds. We're hoping that Billings can buck that trend.


ANDY ZABEL, 43 - As with the junior boys CR, we are not expecting Andy to better PETER SKORSETH's ridiculous 1:23:56, which was established way back in 2005. That was a World Class performance for the former track and cross country star at Marquette University. Still, we think Andy will win his AG and set a personal best in the process.

KEVIN O'CONNOR, 49 - Can KO better is own 45-49 record (1:27:38)? We'd like to thnk so. It would entail that he has been training his ass off, while staying healthy, in the months leading up tot he race. Yes, we expect him to win his division by a sizable margin. 

TIM BROWN, 63 - Tim was amazing last season, a slam-duck Grand Master of the Year, so yes we pick him to win his AG on Saturday. However, KEITH WOODWARD's 1:36:09 record will be a tough nut to crack. Tim crushed it at Fall Classic Du last year, placing an insane 3rd overall, so it's possible that the Vermonter's long-standing (2013) record could fall this weekend. 

LUKE HARNED, 68 - Like Woodward, another out-of-stater - Wisconsin's decorated KERRY MAYER--owns the 65-69 course best (1:38:51 - 2013). We do think that Luke will collect his 4th consecutive AG victory at Apple, but suspect that Mayer's stout record will stand.

NEXT POST - We will disect Apple women's field.

2021Chsago Square