Race Coverage

Back to Normal Feels Good...

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By Mitchell Clayton

TIMBERMAN - “Minnesota’s premier destination triathlon” did not disappoint the 25 super sprint-distance, 134 sprint-distance, and 75 international-distance triathletes challenging themselves at the 36th Timberman Triathlon this past Saturday. Nestled among towering pines and situated on the picturesque shore of “Sugar” Lake, it’s almost as if Sugar Lake Lodge was designed with hosting a triathlon in mind. After a year’s hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, race morning felt… normal. Temperatures in the Northland were in the mid-60’s and skies were clear as athletes set up their transition spot while chatting with friendly volunteers and race buddies that haven’t been seen in over a year.

The swim course took racers on a rectangular route, with the international course nearly stretching across “Sugar” Lake. Instead of a mass start, competitors lined up on the shore and started every 5 seconds in a self-seeded time trial format. After crossing the timing mat, the start of the course is sandy and shallow, allowing athletes to run a good distance in shin-deep water before diving into the crystal clear lake. Flat waters made it easy to spot turn buoys and to keep up the pace while heading out, over, and back to shore....

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The Usual Suspects and Kyle...

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TIMBERMAN SPRINT COVERAGE - What you see is not always what you get, especially when time trial starts are in place. This is not to suggest that TT starts are a bad thing. On the contrary. They spread out the field while simulaneously getting all of the athletes into the water faster than when wave starts are employed....

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Flip-Flop Finishes & Unrecognized Spouses...

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36th TIMBERMAN COVERAGE - The battle between the men's co-favorites in yesterday's Olympic race did not disappoint. In fact, what transpired was the most exciting finish in the history of the current course, which has been in place since 2013. Spectators watched and cheered as 2019 champion JOSH BLANKENHEIM charged down the final hill with four-time T-man winner BROOKS GROSSINGER in hot pursuit. Both men were sprinting. Josh crossed first; Brooks finishing about three seconds later. It was the event's closest finish ever. Previously, 1:06 was the narrowest margin between winner and 2nd place. In that 2016 battle, WADE CRUSER prevailed over Blankenheim.

So, Blank won, right? No. A time trial start system was utilized this year, and Josh launched approximately seven seconds ahead of Brooks, thus, in the end Grossinger claimed a four second win over the new daddy, who left the venue shortly after catching his breath so he could hurry home to his lovely wife Larissa and their beautiful 11-day-old daughter Finley Sue.

A similar battle unfolded between the women who would place 2nd and 3rd in the Olympic competition. Four-time Timberman runner-up ANDREA MYERS, a four-time Master of the Year nominee, appeared to claim another silver medal, finishing perhaps 10-seconds ahead of lapsed triathlete TIFFANY KARI  (photo). But once again, the time trial start resulted in the flip-flopping of the results. In the end, Kari, bronze medalist here in 2017 and 2014, took 2nd, 48-seconds ahead of Myers....

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Heat, Ice Cream and Redemption...

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By Mike Hushagen

Ironman Coeur d'Alene Race Recap: This was my 3rd Ironman and Jessica Ann Shaw's 4th.  It's a beautifully scenic but difficult course with long climbs on the 2 loop bike route.  As race day neared the forecast kept getting hotter and hotter, eventually settling on full sun and 101 degrees! 

 The race start got moved up to 5:00 am for the Pros and 5:30 for the rest of us.  We got a short night of sleep and headed down to the lake in the dark with our trusty race sherpa Mark.

 The Swim (2.4 miles):  The water was a perfect 70 degrees and Jessica and I seeded ourselves together in line for the rolling start.  Before we knew it our buzzer went off and the race was on!  We entered the water side by side but soon lost each other in a sea of people and waves.  I found a person to draft off of and spent the whole first lap on his feet.  I did my own thing on the second lap and felt great the whole time at a nice relaxed pace.  As I exited the water and ran up to my bike I found that Jessica was already gone!  Yes, she kicked my butt on that swim by 5 minutes.  Now my goal was to catch her!

The Bike (112 miles):  I was feeling great so I pushed the pace right from the start and started passing people.  I didn't catch Jessica until around mile 6 and we rode together for about a mile to the first turnaround.  I was in front of her and as I finished the turn I heard "Oh s@&t!" And turned my head just in time to see her crash! ...

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"...I Fell Into the Second Category."...

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By Mari Ruddy (mariruddy.com)

Lake Minnetonka Race Report - I love triathlon. No two ways about it, I fell in love way back at my first ever triathlon, the Danskin, that I did in 2005, a week after I finished radiation treatment for my first round of breast cancer. I knew I had found the sport for me. It captured my imagination. 


Triathlon love
I love how it requires a lot of gear, a lot of planning, tons of little details to manage, and it 100% requires that you train. Swimming, biking and running one right after the other asks the body to please, please, please PREPARE. On top of the physical athletic preparation, you also have to train (practice) your nutrition and hydration. 

Managing details
Living 40 years with type 1 diabetes has required a massive amount of attention to details and doing triathlon takes the skills I’ve gained from having type 1, and gives me new (and fun!) focus for that skill.  
June 19th, I did my first official, in-person triathlon since doing the YWCA Women’s Triathlon in August 2019. I LOVE RACING!!!  ...

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Races Within Races & Emerging Stars...

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GRANITEMAN CLEARWATER - We love the races within the races, and we love to watch emerging stars, which is not to suggest that watching favorites live up to their billing isn't very cool, too....

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