Race Previews

Minnesota's "Resort Triathlon"...

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TIMBERMAN PREVIEW - Minnesota's original "Destination Triathlon," Timberman can also be called our state's "Resort Triathlon." For thirty-seven years athletes have booked lodging at Ruttger's Sugar Lake Lodge expecting and receiving a  true "racecation" experience. Few entrants pop in just for the race. Most stay for the full weekend or longer, availing themselves of the resort's amenities and the area's breathtaking beauty....

This said, our preview will read like previews past as long-time recidivists, with a few exceptions, will be favored to set the pace in both the Olympic and Sprint events. Let's start with the Sprint.

Overall Men's Favorites - BROOKS GROSSINGER and KRIS NISULA.

Brook's has won the Olympic race four times, and the Sprint on one occasion. He owns both course records (the current courses have been place since 2013). Thunder Bay's Nisula has podiumed twice in the Olympic race, and will be making his T-Man Sprint debut on Satuday. If he races like he did at Brewhouse Sprint in 2019, where he outraced perennial winner Mike Ward for the victory, he will give Grossinger a good race. Still, history favors Brooks.

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Overall Women's Favorites - BETTINA KEPPERS and TARA MAKINEN.

These women have nine Timberman Sprint wins between them, six by Grand Rapids' Makinen, three by Duluth's Keppers. Advantage Makinen? Not necessarily. Bettina owns four of the eight fastest women's times in the history of this course, including the race record. Makinen won last year by 26-seconds over Keppers. This race is too close to call.

ALSO - Random AG pics: 00-19W - MORGAN BELL, 50-54W - JENA OGSTON, 55-59W - CHRISTEL KIPPENHAN, 60-64M - CRAIG PETERSON, 65-69M - LUKE HARNED, 70+M - DANIEL KIRK

Olympic Women's Favorite - HEATHER LENDWAY

Despite adding significant bike mileage, the former amateur national and wolrd champ won last year's race in 2:08:55, which placed her 4th overall and was 13+ minutes better than the next fastest woman. HL should blow away the women's CR on Saturday. Her closest rival? Absent this year is perennial podium finisher Andrea Myers, who is racing in Maine next weekend, but DIANE HANKEE, winner of more than 40 multisport events in her career, will be making her Timberman debut. She is our runner-up pick. it is our belief that 2021 Most Improved nominee LISA FILZEN (photo below) will finish in the bronze medal position.

Olympic Men's Favorites - JOSH BLANKENHEIM and HENRY JESSON.lfilzen.png

Experience favors Blankenheim, who owns three of the Top 5 men's times on this course He wom this race in 2019 and also has three runner-up finishes. It would seem that muscle memory gives him a distinct advanatge over Jesson, last year's clear choice for Rookie of the Year. Still, Jesson outperformed all Minnesota athletes at both Sprint and Olympic nationals in 2021. Should be a close race. We give Blank a slight edge.

ALSO - Random AG Pics - 45-49M - DAVID LEWIS, 45-49W - DIANE HANKEE, 50-54M - MIKE JOHNSON, 55-59W - AMY WOOLSEY, 55-59M - Newly engaged ROD RAYMOND, 60-64M - TIM BROWN, 60-64W - JAN GUENTHER, 65-69W - PAM STEVENS (with a good push from BETH HASSLER), 70-74M - RICK ROVANG, SD.

 

We will receive an updated list of entrants later in the week, which will likely force us to amend our picks. If we need to update our predictions, we will do that  on MTN's Facebook page.

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