Race Previews

Another Superior Experience...

duluth-park.gifSUPERIOR MAN III - The MTN Guys are giddy with excitement about next Sunday's Superior Man races. A companion event, the "41.5" has been added and we love its bike-heavy distances: .5 mile swim - 35.4 mile bike - 5.6 mile run. The format is reminiscent of the short-lived, yet awesome, TriStar event that used to be associated with the Maple Grove Triathlon.

Before we make some predictions about the half IM, which was named "Triathletes Choice Race of the Year" in 2013, we will say that our picks to win the "41.5", based on last week's list of entrants, are YWCA Women's Tri director Nicole Cueno and Kiwi transplant David Phillips.

A decorated distance runner, Cueno is a parttime triathlete who tends to win or place highly every time she shows up, which is rarely more than once a year. In 2014, however, she has already raced twice, winning on both occasions with fast times....

A win on Sunday could result in her being discussed for a spot on 2014 Team Minnesota. (Her chances of actually earning a berth would improve significantly if she were to race at least four times this season. Keep racing, Nicole.)

As for Phillips, he's won four races since becoming a multisporter in 2012. His most recent victory was two weekends ago at Green Lake Sprint. The 41.5 will be his longest race to date, but since he came to triathlon from a cycling background, we think the distances will suit him well.

sean-superior-man.gifThe half will feature its best field yet and we are confident that both overall course records will fall hard. To date, only one woman, Dr. Ann Sudoh, who is a totally cool person in addition to being a world class physician, has broken 5-hours (4:56:08) on the SM route. This is not because the courses are inordinately challenging. It's most likely because of the extremely hot and humid conditions that previaled in 2012 and 2013.

A more accommodating climate is expected this weekend, but even if it turns gruesome, we think that Suzie Fox will break 4:50, perhaps by 10-or-more minutes. Her current PR is 4:42:31, set in a victorious effort at Pigman in 2012. We think she's fit enough to go even faster than that.

Besides, she is motivated by a condition known as "Total-Pissed-Off-Ness." A mechanical issue forced her to DNF at Chisago, where she was rocking socks when the problem reared its ugly problem-head. She can't wait to avenge that experience.

More than that, her 2014 "A" race is Ironman Wisconsin, and she's looking for the kind of encouraging effort at Superior Man that will boost her confidence as she pursues a PR at 140.6. Her current best is 10:38:09 (IMOO '12). Simply matching that time next month would be unacceptable.

We believe that the men's CR (4:24:06) could be lowered by as much as ten minutes next Sunday. Two-time SM champ Sean Cooley (photo L), who is coming off a PR - 4:09:05 at Chisago, will have to contend with long distance virgin Marcus Stromberg, a guy with awesome credentials and the potential to break 4:20 on his maiden 70.3 voyage. We're picking The Cool One to repeat, but Marcus is gonna have him rding and running scared.

We think that Superior, Wisconsin's Paul Rockwood will round out the men's half IM podium. He won this year's Duluth Half and set at personal best 4:23:34 at Chisago. He's a young guy (26), and young guys tend make big, dramatic improvements, not small, incremental ones.

We think you you can still enroll in Superior Man '14. For info and registration, link HERE.


+2 #1 Ryan 2014-08-20 03:06
Expect faster bike times this year. The worst five miles of pavement from the first two years is pristine new asphalt. Expect quick times on the ride back from Two Harbors.

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