Race Previews

Beware of Fast Teenagers...UPDATED...

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GRANITEMAN CLEARWATER SPRINT - The original Graniteman Triathlon happened in 2004 in Rockville, a bucolic berg southwest of St. Cloud. JOHN SHELP and SARAH FOLEY were the winners that year.

The race soon outgrew its venue, and organizers wanted a site that was closer to the Twin Cities. So, after just six years in Rockville, the event was moved to Warner Lake near Clearwater. 2019 marks the 16th anniversary of the event, and 10th anniversary of it at its current venue.

According to the race website, the event features the following:

It offers both sprint and olympic distances and features a unique point to point sprint distance swim, a beautiful bike ride through rolling country roads, and finishes with an out & back run that includes both paved and natural surfaces.  There is also a park for the kids, live music, great food, fantastic race swag, great awards, and awesome door prizes!

In other words, Graniteman Clearwater is awesome.

It's fun for us to make some predictions, which we do to stimulate interest and conversation, so, according to the registration list we saw last week, let's do some name-dropping....

It's For Everybody!

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GEAR WEST XXVI - For much of it's first quarter century, especially after the millennial turn, the Gear West Duathlon was recognized as one of America's most competitive run-bike-runs. That reputation served the event well until 2012ish, when multisport attendance stared to tumble. In 2018, the GWD left the calendar as had approximately half of our state's races over the last half-dozen years.

Thanks in part to positive signs concerning event enrollment, e.g. encouraging tournouts in 2019 were enjoyed by Buffalo, Trinona and Lake Minnetonka, and to a change of marketing focus, the Gear West Du has returned, it's 26th edition slated for thei Sunday, June 23.

It's very possible that focusing on "competition" has caused some race attendances to decline. It seems that a growing percentage of multisport newcomers are "recreational," in it for fun, fitness and the social benefits. Competitive races can be intimidating to this constituency; some may even conclude that they are not as welcome as those motivated by speed and placement....

Lake Minnetonka Predictions...

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15th Edition LAKE MINNETONKA TRIATHLON - Few races have as loyal a following as this one. An outstanding venue and copious amenities are hallmarks of this annual classic, as is camradery and great competition....

Gaby, Becky, Rachel, Paige, Jordan, Dan....

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MADISON 70.3 - We were hoping to post a TRINONA preview today, but we haven't seen an entrant list yet. Hopefully, we'll preview that annual classic in the near future. And because, with the unfortunate cancellation of the Walker Tri, Trinona is the only multi staged on Minnesota soil next weekend, we strongly encourage everyone who hasn't enrolled yet, to do so at their earliest opportunity.

We were perusing the AG registration list for Madison 70.3 on June 9. Unsurprisingly, lots of Minnesotans are enrolled, and we are anxious to see how all of them fare. We expect many of them to rock their AGs.

Let's drop some names.

DANI FISCHER - Formerly from Rochester, Dani has resided in Indianapolis for the last few years but we still follow her career closely. We love her to pieces, and she will always be an honorary Minnesotan. Well, her racing creds speak for themselves. She a former 70.3 National champion with a PR of 4:23. Dani was a close 2nd (to Dani Vsetecka) in 2017, and 3rd here last year. She is our pick to win the women's overall title.

BECKY YOUNGBERG - In 2018 and 2017, weather at Mad 70.3 had truly sucked, thus the various records are soft. Former pro Jessica Jacobs owns the women's masters mark, a 4:56:50.Weather permitting, Becky should take that record down hard. In her last 70.3 (Chisago '18), she placed 2nd in an MR - 4:37:04. Matching that on Madison's challenging course is unrealistic, but breaking 4:50 is possible if she's hitting on all cylinders. ...

New Bri Turns 14 on Sunday...

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NEW BRI XIV - The 14th annual NEW BRI TRI is happening on Sunday at beautiful Long Lake Park. Here is how the event is billed on its webpage: 

This early season triathlon features a stunning course within the metro area, easily accessible from Minneapolis/St Paul and its suburbs. A barbecue follows the race making this the first triathlon party of the season. This race is the first in a three race triathlon series....

Buffalo Olympic Stuff...

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14th BUFFALO OLYMPIC PREVIEW - Historically, this race has been one of our state's most competitive, and 2019 will be one of the most competitive yet, especially on the women's side. On the list we saw last week, four of Minnesota's national-class talents had enrolled. In alpha order, they are:

HANNA GRINAKER - Winner of nine races in 18 starts, and having only missed the podium on one occasion (4th at Superiorman in 2016), Hanna comes into the race as the clear favorite. She is arguably the most talented female amateur multisportswoman in the US right now. She raced at Buffalo in 2016, her rookie season, and finished 2nd in a jaw-dropping 2:10:58. It was only her second race, the first coming just the day before in a victorious effort at New Bri.

KORTNEY HAAG - Kort has 20 career victories, including her course record win at Buffalo Olympic in 2016. She had also podiumed here on three other occasions.

CHRISTINA ROBERTS (photo L) - Christina has won 22 tris in her career, and she has podiumed at Buffalo Olympic three times.

BECKY YOUNGBERG - At 44, Becky is faster than ever, which is saying a lot. The former Minnesota Triathlete of the Year won five races in 2018. Her only Buffalo apearance was in 2007, where she won the sprint course women's title. Youngberg has 43 career multisport victories....

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