Race Previews

2022 HoRT Preview...UPDATED....

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HOPKINS ROYAL TRIATHLON - According to inherently untrustworthy long-range weather reports, racing conditions for next Saturday's Hopkins Royal Triathlon will be awesome. Morning temps in the 60s beneath a blue sunny sky with light winds. The kind of day that feels good on your skin.

The HoRT (Doobie's preferred abbreviation) is not promoted as a highly competitive event; instead as one that favors newbies and weekend warriors. Still, the race is just too dang good to not entice some top athletes, and the overall and Age Group records certainly reflect that. Despite that, the event palpably celebrates the recreational triathlete.

In that MTN focuses on competition, our job here is to talk about the fast folks. 

Let's get to it, starting with the women.

Last year's top three ladies--CATHERINE LEE, ANDREA MYERS and BETTE ROWLEY (photo)--are back. In '21, Lee was only eight seconds faster than Myers, and 57-seconds ahead of Rowley. Will that order repeat? It certainly could. We like the way Lee raced at Door County, which suggested that she should be a bit faster this year, weather permitting. ...

Winner of two of the three races she's done thus far this season, Rowley is deinitely in top form, and she is coming off a victory last weekend--Myers was 2nd--at 4Women on a nearly identical course. 

And let's not forget that Myers had won here in 2017 and had placed 2nd on three other occasions. We will not count her out. 

So, will these three women duke-it-out for the podium spots? Yes, but not all three. Why? HEATHER LENDWAY was able  to get into the race  just as the registration door was closing. 

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Lendway is a two-time US National amateur champion. She also won the overall women's amateur title at the Edmonton World Championships in 2014, after which she entered the professional ranks, coming away with the US Pro Rookie of the Year award in 2015. Injuries and a paucity of Olympic distance non-drafting prize money events curtailed her tri career in 2017. She returned  to racing last year as an amateur and all four of her results thus far have been Performance of the Year quality, especially last weekend's brilliant 2:01:30 at Maple Grove Olympic.

So, yes, HL is the favorite to win and  rewrite Becky Youngberg's 2018 course record (1:07:25). 

The men's race is almost as easy to call. 2018 HoRT champ ANDY ZABEL, 42, is the clear favorite. He's undefeated this season and is the current frontrunner for 2022 Male Master of the Year. 

We see BRETT LOVAAS, winner here in 2021, 2017 and 2016, as the silver medalist, though KURT YOUNGDAHL, last year's runner-up, will compete for that spot if he is on the start list. (We won't receive the final entrants list until after this posts.)

We expect SCOTT MYERS to be in the medal picture, too. We'll also keep an eye on RYAN SALINE, KEVIN GREIMEL and ERIC ROESNER, each of whom have Top 5 potential.

The race promises to be fun, exciting and "Race of the Year" nomination-worthy, as always. Yes, it has filled, but we still encourage you to come out  to Shady Oak Park in Minnetonka on Saturday. You can spectate or lend a hand as a volunteer. 

ED. MTN just received the finel entrant list and it signigicantly adjusts our prognostications. The addition of MICHAEL WEISSENBORN means that Zabel is no longer the clear favorite. Current women's course record holder BECKY YOUNGBERG has also enrolled. Next the women's 55-59 record will becseriously challenged by AMY WOOLSEY and South Dakotan TERESA VAN HYFTE, who set the 50-54W record back in 2019. We expect to see a record there.

The race has gotten more competitive and fast times are to be expected.

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