Race Coverage

We Needed the Rain...


GRANITEMAN BIG LAKE - Minnesota needs rain. Lots of it. If only it had waited until after last Sunday's Big Lake Triathlons, right?

But most triathletes are hardy people. The 274 who went the distance last weekend certainly were.

Lots of cool things happened at this 11-year-old event. Rookie triathlete CAMI ECKHOFF posted her first win, doing so rather handily in the Olympic race. KATIE ODEN (photo)coming off wrist surgery (rollerblade accident) and admittedly undertrained, scored a win in the Sprint race. Cool, huh!

Then there was this new guy. His name is PRESTON YOUNGDAHL. Like Cami, he posted a convincing win, which allowed him to share the Top Step of the Olympic podium. Well, it turns out that he has raced in Minnesota before, albeit back in 2011, when he placed 10th at Lake Minnetonka. He's originally from Deephaven, went to HS at MInnetonka but left the state shortly thereafter. Until recently, he's been living in Boutte, Louisiana, which he is likely to pronounce "Booty Loo-zee-anna." ...

And he is a kick-ass triathlete. His 2021 resume features a win at Crawfishman and a 2nd at the Louisana Tri prior to his W last Sunday. Multiple wins were also prominent on his 2019 scorecard. So,while apparent pre-race fave ANDY ZABEL, who placed 2nd, was thinking in Butch and Sundance fashion, "Who is that guy?," Preston was off-the-front doing in the Minnesota rain what he has been doing for years in the tropical environs of the deep South.

A pair of Minnesota triathlon pioneers nabbed the top two spots in the men's Sprint. For the 34th time in his career, BRETT LOVAAS, 46, finished first. Second went to JOHN SHELP, 49, who also boasts a distinguished tri career, replete with numerous gold, silver and bronze medal perfomances. RESULTS