Race Previews

A North Country Gem...

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18th NORTHWOODS TRIATHLON - A north country gem, this year's race will field almost 300 participants, most of whom are chronic recidivists. Our fingers are crossed that the air quality will have improved by August 14. (It should be!)

So, let's make some predictions. 

BROOKS GROSSINGER has this race dialed in. Fifteen starts, 15 wins. Moreover, he is the only male athlete who consistently breaks the 1-hour mark on this scenic .25 - 14 - 5K course. (He missed the mark by just six seconds last year, but splits suggested that the swim course was a bit long.)

Six-time Northwoods runner-up DAVID LEWIS, a Nevis resident who's wife, NANCY, is the event's terrific Race Director, should record his seventh silver next Saturday....

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2021 G-Man Big Lake Preview...

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11th GRANITEMAN-BIG LAKE SPRINT & 6th BIG LAKE OLYMPIC - DAVID THOMPSON, the legendary "DKT," is racing at Big Lake. What that means is that whitchever event he chooses--Olympic or Sprint--we should expect a new course record. We assume that he is leaning toward the Olympic, the CR for which is DAVID HOLDEN's 2:00:52, set in 2016. If true, Big Lake '21 should see it's first sub-2-hour performance. 

And just as we assume DKT will do the Olympic, we suspect that KEVIN O'CONNOR will do the Sprint. This is because he did the Sprint at the Clearwater Graniteman. So in the interest  of continuity, we are picking KO to pick up his second G-Man victory of the season, unless ANDY ZABEL decides to race the shorter event. If Andy goes long, we predict a silver medal performance.

Now, to make these predictions happen, we need to assume that elite athletes like 2020 winner JOSH MORK, and DAVID KOPPEL, who has established himself as the Minnesota man-to-beat in 2021, do not enroll. FYI, we received the list of entrants on July 29, thus there is plenty of time for credentialed athletes to sign-up between then and race morning.

We also predict a podium effort from PETER WIKMAN, who is enjoying a breakout season.

Who will win the women's Olympic and Sprint? Whoever it is, we believe her name was  not on the roster we saw. Last year's Sprint winner JENNA HORNER is at Nationals, as is EMILY GAGE, who has multiple podium finishes here. So, a LUNDQUIST sister-or-two could show up? Or maybe MACY IYER? Or CARYN HERRICK, who's boyfriend (Wikman - They are such a cute couple!) could decide to race. If she does, she would move immediately into the favorite's spot....

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Minnesotans Head For Milwaukee...

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2021 AGE GROUP NATIONALS - Next wekend will mark the fourth time that Milwaukee will host the AG National Championships, and there's a very good reason for the return to The Cream City (Yes, that is Milwaukee's nickname!). Not all host cities have produced awesome Nationals, like say, Columbia, Maryland did in the mid and late 90s. And no host has been awesomer than Milwaukee. Local organizers have truly set a high bar.

We also recall the earlier Milwaukee races because our own tri-superstar HEATHER LENDWAY, won the women's title there TWICE! Great memories, indeed....

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BH #34 Preview....

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BREWHOUSE TRIATHLON PREVIEW - The list of entrants that Matt Evans, who is a total HOOT!, let us look at last week reveals that this year's BH races will have more entrants than in 2019. That is a good thing.

Now, for scheisse and giggles, let's make some predictions....

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Inaugural Gear West Half & Olympic Preview...

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1st GEAR WEST HALF & OLYMPIC - The Liberty Triathlon was a beloved race that was one  of our state's "highlight" events for 14 years, the first sevenof which were staged at Baker Park, the last seven at beautiful Lake Rebecca Park Reserve. Special circumstances forced the cancellation of the race, not lack of interest or support.

From the moment it left the calendar in 2018, various groups have given serious consideration to resurrecting Liberty. Earlier this year, Gear West Bike and Triathlon and some local athletes stepped in to bring this iconic race back, albeit with a new name: Gear West Half and Olympic.

The competitive records at the original races will be hard to match or beat. The Half records were set by MATT PAYNE, aka "The Pain Train," and KORTNEY HAAG. Matt threw down a 4:02:46 in 2014, in inclement weather no less, and Kort rocked  a 4:35:45. The average winning time for men was in the 4:12-15 range, and for women, 4:42-48.

Are there athletes on the current roster who can race at that level? Yes. Kortney, winner of nine half IMs in her career, the last of which was at Chisago in 2019, where she popped a 4:32:52, is registered. For the guys on the current list, JAKE KEEHAN, who is coming off a stellar effort (3rd) at Heart of the Lakes, is certainly capable of a 4:15-or-better. And there will certainly be several other fast men and women that will sign up between now (July 22) and race day. ...

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2021 Chisago Preview...

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15th CHISAGO LAKES HALF & SPRINT PREVIEW - When researching Sunday's race we noted that several of our state's fastest female triathletes will be making their long course debut, so we decided to make that the central focus of our preview.

In 2014, Rookie of the Year runner-up KELLY TROM, who went on to win Chisago in 2015 and record two more podium finishes after that, and goes into this year's race as one of the favorites, made her 70.3 debut at HITS Waconia, where she placed 2nd behind our state's all-time winningest female triathlete, CATHY YNDESTAD. Kelly's time was remarkable: 4:48:09. 

Can any of our long distance rookies match that on Sunday? It is a lot to ask, but it's possible. Breaking 4:50 rarely happens on the first try, and cracking 5-hours is a more reasonable goal. Will all of the women highlighted in this post slip under the magic 300-minute mark? We hope so....

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