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Minnesota's Original "Destination Triathlon"...

T1-Timber.gifTIMBERMAN PREVIEW - Many of Minnesota's coolest multisport races are staged in rural or semi-rural areas, places that don't have enough athletes to justify staging a race. These locales, e.g. Green Lake in Spicer, Leech Lake in Walker, Lake Bemidji and Pokegema Lake, lure athletes from elsewhere, especially the state's urban areas because they are "Destination" races. Travelers are happy to book hotel rooms and eat in restaurants because the total experience is so much more than an athletic challenge. Words like "aesthetic" and "recreational" and "getaway" and "vacation" apply.

Saturday's Timberman, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary, is Minnesota's original "Destination Triathlon." Billed as our state's "Premier" DT, it is the model for all such events that have followed. (Moreover, the event is proudly produced by an entirely volunteer staff.)

T-Man has earned its reputation and richly deserves its iconic status. It saddens us, though, that it shares its date with our state's largest triathlon as well as...

Graniteman Turns 10!

hill.gifGRANITEMAN - CLEARWATER PREVIEW - This event, the original Graniteman, will celebrate its 10th anniversary this weekend. It's first five editions were staged in Rockville, after which it relocated to its current home in Clearwater. One of four races that will happen on Saturday--No races are slated for Sunday. What's up with that?--G-Man is the only one that is not experiencing declining enrollment.

Bill and the G-Man Events Gang must be doing something right.

Who do we think will win at Clearwater?

The obvious choice for women, based on the enrollment list we perused, is Nicole Heininger, the 2013 Minnesota Rookie of the Year, who is coming off a big victory at Lake Waconia. A win on Saturday would be the fifth of her young career....

Off The Front...

M-Payne-BOUS.gifPhoto - Great artsy-fartsy YndeCam shot of Matt Payne winning the Best of the US Championship.)

 

13th Annual MINNEAPOLIS TRIATHLON - Elite Amateur Men - Two of the early frontrunners for 2014 USAT Athlete of the Year nominations are 22-year-old Steve Mantell of Fort Collins, Colorado, and Matthew Payne of Columbia Heights, Minnesota. Though Payne is undefeated in six starts thus far, Mantell probably has the AOY edge at the moment because he has excelled in major "national" events.

Check out Steve's sterling 2014 resume:

- 1st amateur @ Boulder 70.3 - 3:58

- 1st amateur @ Escape From Alcatraz (5th overall)

- 1st amateur @ Havasu Triathlon

- 1st amateur / 3rd overall @ USAT Collegiate Nationals (Olympic)

- 3rd overall @ USAT Collegiate Sprint Nationals....

The Epic-est Battle...

HLbike.gif13th Annual MINNEAPOLIS TRIATHLON - Elite Amateur Women - In 2011, Massachusetts' Catherine Sterling set the women's Elite Amateur course record at the Minneapolis Triathlon. Her time, 2:10:52, should go down hard on Saturday.

How hard?

Our guess is that it will take a 2:07 to win the women's EA title at the 13th annual Life Time Tri - Minneapolis. Why? Because the two women that are currently redefining the amateur standards for American female triathletes will be facing each other.

We're talking about defending USAT National Champion Heather Lendway of St. Paul (photo L), and Dani Fischer, who grew up in Rochester, played collegiate soccer at UW-Madison and now resides in Wausau, Wisconsin.

Lendway was runner-up for USAT Athlete of the Year in 2013 and she is even faster this year, a season in which she is undefeated in five starts with an average margin of victory of 9:42!...

"A Blast!"

bettina.gifZ-TRI COVERAGE - Brendon O'Flanagan of St. Paul, and Tara Makinen of Grand Rapids, won this Independence Day race for the second time last Friday at majestic Pokegema Lake south of Grand Rapids, and both did so in record time. For BO, who also was victorious here in 2012, his 1:02:07 lowered his own men's course record by more than two minutes. For TM, her time was just less than three minutes faster than her 2013 clocking.

Alone in second place for the guys was 2013 Rookie of the Year nominee, Larry Hosch, who posted an impressive 1:04:37. It was Larry's ninth podium finish in 13 starts. The St. Joseph resident is still looking for his first win, which we predict will happen this season. In fact, it could occur as early as next Saturday at Graniteman-Clearwater.

Also cracking the Top 3 for the men was Alan Dettmer, who is from Fergus Falls, we think. Maybe Alexandria....

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