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Bikers Prevail at Clearwater Olympic...

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GRANITEMAN CLEARWATER OLYMPIC - The inclement weather that was anticipated didn't happen, thus instead of a sloppy and slow experience, yesterday's Graniteman Triathlon was contested in surprising accommodating conditions, which resulted in some inspiring performances, fast times and even a few records.

Our race coverage will come in two parts. Today we will talk about the Olympic race, which celebrated it's 7th anniversary. Later in the week, we'll post coverage of the Sprint competition, which turned nineteen last Saturday.

Because a race is predictable doesn't mean it will be unexciting. On paper, three men appeared to be shoo-ins for the overall podium. The same was true for the women's race. PRESTON YOUNGDAHL, who was victorious the week before at Lake Minnetonka, AJ MANNING, the amateur winner at Buffalo Olympic, where he outraced Youngdahl by a scant six seconds, and NICHOLAS LADAS, last year's Clearwater runner-up, seemed destined, barring mechanical catastrophe, to outpace the men's field. VANESSA NAGEL, who held her own against national talent Kortney Haag here in 2021, where she (Vanessa) finished 2nd, EMILY GAGE, who has three career triathlon wins and eight total podium finishes, and KRISTIN HAWKINS, whose breakout season last year featured three wins, were expected to break away from their gender's field....

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Your Ski, Bike & Triathlon Headquarters...

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Two Woohoos, a Cowbell & Talking to My Legs...

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By Cami Eckhoff

Race day~ Part 2: The Bike

My transition wasn’t the quickest but I wanted to be sure I had everything- sunscreen, chamois cream, chapstick, a bathroom stop, then out I went. The gal helping me in the changing tent was fantastic! So thankful for the volunteers!! She also made sure my wet note from Graham got back in my bag as a keepsake!

The first 40 miles were so much fun! A couple downhills I clocked 38 mph and remember hollering “woohoo!!!”

I took my personal needs bag at mile 56. Refilled my fuel and hydration on my bike, stopped in the porta potty and off I went. I took water and Gatorade at a few aid stations throughout the ride with smooth handoffs from the volunteers.

The sun started to come out midway through, with a blast of heat and more hills to climb. I saw Keith, Josh and Mel and heard the cowbell and cheers at mile 70 which gave me an extra boost. An older gentleman at the top of one of the biggest hills sat in his chair and gave each participant a clap. I thanked him and told him he was in the best spot as that hill was a struggle! ...

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Graniteman XIV Preview...

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GRANITEMAN CLEARWATER - Online registration for the "original" Graniteman event, which started at it's Rockville venue in 2004, then relocated to it's current Clearwater location in 2009, has closed. (Race day registration is available!) The event started as a sprint, but added a wonderfully bike-heavy Olympic race in 2015.

We haven't seen the final list yet, so the preview we're posting here is based on sign-ups through last week. When we see the new list we will update this post. 

Also, because the list we have does not delineate which event--Sprint or Olympic--that individual athletes are doing, our comments will be rather general, and certain to contain some  "guessing."

Here are some athletes we expect to excel in the 19th Graniteman Triathlon, Clearwater version:

MORGAN BELL, 19 - Morgan won her AG at Buffalo Sprint, finishing 8th  overall. She was her division's silver medalist here last year, but we think she'll take the top prize on Saturday.

JEFF GILMER, 63 - He's our pick to win his division in, we suppose, the Olympic race. As for the Sprint, we suspect that CRAIG PETERSON, 60, if he decides to register, will take his  AG  in the shorter race....

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Maggie and Preston Took Charge...

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LAKE MINNETONKA TRIATHLON - Only three times in the LMT's eighteen runnings had a woman dominated her gender like MAGGIE SWANSON (photo L) did on Saturday. Two of those times were by former world and national (twice) champion HEATHER LENDWAY, and the other by BECKY YOUNGBERG, whose career resume boasts at least 45 multisport wins. (Becky's performance was recorded in LMT's inaugural edition back in 2005.)

When Swanson crossed the finish line in 6th place overall, she would have more than four minutes to recover before her eventual podium-mates came into view. Only six seconds apart when they crossed, the veteran CHRISTINA ROBERTS, a 25-race winner in her stellar career, managed stay in front of hard-charging newcomer ELENA HENGEL, who was coming off an impressive victory at Buffalo Sprint. Hengel needed to push because college star / LMT junior record holder ISABELLA BUENTING was less than ten seconds in arrears.

Exciting stuff! ...

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