Race Previews

Beware of Fast Teenagers...UPDATED...


GRANITEMAN CLEARWATER SPRINT - The original Graniteman Triathlon happened in 2004 in Rockville, a bucolic berg southwest of St. Cloud. JOHN SHELP and SARAH FOLEY were the winners that year.

The race soon outgrew its venue, and organizers wanted a site that was closer to the Twin Cities. So, after just six years in Rockville, the event was moved to Warner Lake near Clearwater. 2019 marks the 16th anniversary of the event, and 10th anniversary of it at its current venue.

According to the race website, the event features the following:

It offers both sprint and olympic distances and features a unique point to point sprint distance swim, a beautiful bike ride through rolling country roads, and finishes with an out & back run that includes both paved and natural surfaces.  There is also a park for the kids, live music, great food, fantastic race swag, great awards, and awesome door prizes!

In other words, Graniteman Clearwater is awesome.

It's fun for us to make some predictions, which we do to stimulate interest and conversation, so, according to the registration list we saw last week, let's do some name-dropping....


In the Sprint race, we believe that the battle for first in the men's competition will be between the guy who has won the last two editions of this race, BRIAN STORHAUG, and rising teen talent KYLE SWENSON, 17 (photo), who has set junior course records in his first two races. Storhaug outraced Swenson here in 2017, and more recently at this year's Buffalo Sprint. And though Kyle's star is rising fast, we predict that the mesomorphic 28-year-old from Alexandria will make it three-in-a-row at Clearwater Sprint. His margin of victory over Swenson, however, will not be as wide as in '17, or at Buff.

Another elite junior is expected to race at the front in next Sunday's Sprint race. We're talking about MACY IYER, 15. 

Earlier this season, Macy crashed at a USAT Junior race in Kenosha. She bounced back the next weekend with an overall women's victory at Trinona Sprint.

Macy is now coming off an uncharacteristically unsatisying performance last weekend at Lake Minnetonka, thus she's going into Sunday's race with anger and determination.

Will it be enough to give her the third adult win of her young career? Maybe, but we are picking tattooed dog lover JENNIFER FITZHARRIS-FUNK to come out on top. The last time JFF and Iyer faced each other--2018 YWCA Women's Triathlon--Jennifer placed 3rd overall, and Macy placed 6th, just under two minutes back.

Even if the Edina teen doesn't win, we are predicting that she will lower PAIGE DANIELSON's five-year-old junior record (1:16:06).

Age groupers who we believe will win their divisions are LISA HINES (55-59W), BILL MINGE (65-69M) and MICHEL SANDERS (65-69W).   

We will preview Graniteman Clearwater's Olympic later this week. RACE WEBSITE


UPDATE: We have just seen an updated list of registrants, and are very pleased to learn that three of the Top 4 women in 2018--MARIANE WALIN (1st), MEGHAN HENRY (3rd), CASEY MORK (4th)-- are returning.

Also, making her Graniteman debut is triathlon pioneer LORI DESCHAMPS, 48, from Anchorage. Alaska. A tri-vagabond, she has raced all over the country, often reaching the podium, including several wins. She has relatives in Minnesota and has raced here off-and-on for the last two decades. She won the Liberty Olympic Triathlon in 2009 and a very fast 2:09:10. At Lake Waconia last year, she placed 3rd overall behind fellow national stars BECKY YOUNGBERG and DANI VSETESKA. She's already got at least one victory under her belt in 2019 (Blue Lake Sprint in Oregon).

Yes, we are moving Lori into the "favorite" position for Saturday's Clearwater Sprint.