Friday, May 28, 2010

We Have Moved To

Please go to for new features, race coverage and a whole lot more. New & improved, and 100% pure multisport stuff. Link here, and remember to change your bookmark. See ya at the new site! --MTN

Thursday, May 27, 2010


(Photos: R - Bonnie doing outdoor stuff not particularly well. Below - Bonnie got too close to the edge.)

By Bonnie Faceplant

Triathlon is my passion but sometimes you just gotta go off the beaten path.

For the past few years I have gotten to know a few XTerra guys. They've shared with me their adventures and I have to say I've been a bit envious. One particular friend is a well seasoned triathlete and also an XTerra World Champion. He does quite well in triathlon, usually in the top three and so I asked him if he has any adverse effects from the cross training. He was adamant in that he feels that it helps him stay focused, break up any potentially monotony and gives him the chance to just go out and play even harder.

Enter my $75 bike from Target. Enter Mike and his well-used mountain bike. Enter Lebanon Hills.

As we pulled into the bumpy, dusty parking lot, I was acutely aware of the noises the bikes were making on the rack at the back of the car. Well seasoned mountain bikers stood around, all heads simultaneously turning towards us as if their internal radars could instantly detect a newbie entering their turf. I swallowed hard and felt as if the dust had somehow crept through the vents and was forming a dirt clod in the back of my throat.

If you were to survey the planet, you may discover that I am probably the most clumsiest person that ever existed. I have "become one" with the pavement, branches, leaves, rocks and dirt on more than one occasion. And this was all from the comfort of my own home. You'd think this would distract me. You'd think I would have a still small voice beckoning me back to reason. "Stay away! Go back to safety!" I smothered the voice with a loud comment of, "I'm scared to death! Let's DO this!"

We unhooked the bikes and geared up. Out of the corner of my eyes I caught sight of the veterans shaking their heads and pulling out cash to place their bets on how long I would survive, if I survived. Mike assured me we would go slow and that the beginners course would not be too difficult. I was skeptical. We mounted our bikes and I rode onto the soft dirt trail, barely escaping colliding with the welcome sign posted at the opening.

Have you ever noticed how a seemingly small and innocent rock can suddenly appear to be a jagged, jutting luminous villain of death, or appear to be about the size of the stone that chased Indiana Jones through the Temple of Doom? Have you personally witnessed how a twenty foot drop off can suddenly appear to be the edge of the Grand Canyon all the while the trail you're on that runs along side it is quickly shrinks from a casual five foot wide path to about the width of a tight rope? Let's just say you knew where I was on the trail by the screams echoing throughout the peaceful hills. Poor Mike. He'll never be able to show his face there again.

Mountain biking was terrifying. So I went back the next day. This time I earned a few stripes. I hit the aforementioned jagged, jutting rock of luminous death and could not pass through it. It was very unforgiving. After surveying the damage I got back on my Target bike and went on. Eventually, I was able to actually take my aching eye balls off the dirt path in front of me and steal a quick glance around at the lush scenery and understand a little bit better why mountain biking can be such a rejuvenating and incredible experience. I'm still working on uncurling my fingers which appear to be permanently in a tight, handle-bar gripping position but even if I can't get them to relax, at least I can slide them back onto the handle bars and be ready to hit the trails again. Oh- and that beginners trail Mike promised to take me on? That one went left. We went right....

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


There isn't a better duathlon in America!

Sure, some dus are larger and some feature fancier staging--bells and whistles that mean little if the event isn't expertly produced and participants aren't treated like rock stars.

Since 2000, the year The Apple hosted the USAT Age Group Duathlon National Championship, this event has done everything right. We have founders/directors Daryl and Pam Stevens and their "Committee of Carers" to thank for this. These folks were completely dedicated to satisfying the participants of their event.

Daryl and Pam are no longer at Apple's helm, but new director Brandon Testa is intent on promulgating (great word!) the legacy that the Stevens' built.

From a management and execution standpoint, as well as athlete amenities, the Apple is first-class. It is also an amazingly competitive event and may generally deserve to be recognized as America's Most Competitive "Small" (500 participants or less) Multisport Race. We use the adverb "generally" because this year's event, while featuring an extremely strong field, will not be quite as formidable as in the recent past. This is because the '10 race will not be a Team USA World's Qualifier. Losing it's qualifier designation, it should be noted, will not diminish this event in any way. If you have been reluctant to register, don't be. REGISTER

It's time to make some totally foolhardy predictions AND to recommend a great place to get pizza in the St. Cloud area.

* MEN'S WINNER - David Thompson. (DKT is 5-for-5 at The Apple and owns 4 of the six fastest times ever.)
* MEN'S TOP 5 - DKT, Justin Hurd, Kevin O'Connor, Patrick Parish & Brooks Grossinger.
* WOMEN'S WINNER - Cathy Yndestad. (The 2009 US Athlete of the Year beat an amazing field at Gear West last weekend. A win on Saturday would be the 41st of Cathy's stellar career.)
* WOMEN'S TOP 5 - Cathy Yndestad, Marlo McGaver (4-time Apple winner), Julie Hull, Suzie Finger, Tara Croteau.
* COOLEST AG CATEGORY: 65-69 Men. This division features the regionally undefeated--in 2009 and thus far in 2010, that is--Bob Baily, 2008 Minnesota Grand Master of the Year Hank Larsen, who's won his AG here four times since the current course distances--5K-33K-5K--were established, and Nick Vanduzee, a three-time divisional winner at Apple. We wanted to post a photo of Nick, but we didn't have one. Because he kinda sorta looks a little-bit-but not-too-much like everyone's favorite Bolshevik, Vladimir Lenin, we decided to post a shot of the Soviet revolutionary. Vlad is a totally cool-looking guy. And so is Nick. FYI, Nick knows more about musical stuff than the long-dead Commie ever did.

* BEST PIZZA IN ST. CLOUD & SARTELL: House of Pizza. (Yes, HOP happens to be owned by Apple's Race Director. It is also billed as "Minnesota's Favorite Pizza Restaurant." Do yourself a favor and check it out. See if you don't agree with the slogan. WEBSITE)


28th Apple Duathlon Preview....



By Darin Wieneke

This is the last installment of my posts recognizing Bicycle Safety Month. Please check out MTN’s Safety Page for prior posts.

The two most common bicycle accidents involve getting either “doored” or receiving a “right cross.”

#2 The Door Prize

A driver opens his door right in front of you. You run right into it if you cannot stop in time.
In order to avoid this type of collision, you should ride 3-4 feet to the left of parked cars. You might be wary about riding so far into the lane that cars cannot pass you easily, but you are more likely to get “doored” than you are to get hit from behind by a car which can clearly see you.

#1 The Right Cross

The “right cross” is the most common type of bicycle accident. In fact, Professional Triathlete Jordan Rapp was seriously injured on March 23, 2010 in this exact type of accident. This type of accident occurs when a car is pulling out of a side street, parking lot,or driveway on the right. The car either directly hits you or causes you to slam into it.

The best way to avoid this type of collision is for you to stay as visible as possible by having a headlight or wearing bright clothes. You should also try to make eye contact with the driver. If you cannot make eye contact, you should slow down so you can make a complete stop if necessary. Riding a little further to the left may also make you more visible as the driver is likely looking for other cars and not in the bike lane or close to the curb for bikers.

MTN again wishes you safe biking this summer!

Darin is a personal injury and wrongful death attorney. In addition to posting periodic triathlon safety articles, he will be answering a legal question of the month. Please send him an e-mail at if you have a triathlon-related legal question that you would like him to address on MTN.

Monday, May 24, 2010


("Before"--Top--and "After"--Below--photos of triathlete Jen Martone.)

Me and Lance

by Jen Martone

I read an ESPN headline yesterday that said “Think you had a bad day on Thursday? Cheer Up. It had to be better than Lance Armstrong’s.”

Well, my Thursday was okay, but Saturday morning wasanother story after a 55 mile ride with fellow cyclists in the Western suburbs. No one’s ever going to spread rumors about me doping with my average RPMs on the bike, but I found that Lance and I had a couple of things in common this past weekend aside from being 38. Most notably left side facial road rash after a crash. Although I think he’s wearing his a bit more gallantly, especially since he hopped back into the Tour de California two days later, and I’m lying on my couch with a several ice packs, wondering what my clients are going to think on sales calls this week. I’m not positive where this story goes. Just a good reminder to always wear your helmet properly, take downhills in the rain/hail with caution, avoid slippery manholes, and ride with friends who have cell phones.

Oh, and if you happened to be in downtown Wayzata on Saturday morning at 10:50 am and assisted me with blankets, a concussion review, or towels, thank you. I hope you’re reading this. - JM


Let's hope that security was tight in the rackless, unfenced transition area at the 3rd annual Faribault Family Fun Triathlon last Saturday. The total replacement cost for this "tri equipment" would be tens of dollars.

This totally cool image, provided by MTN's Darin Wieneke, reminds us that triathlon is an individual sport and intended to be fun. This lifestyle is for everyone, goshdarnit, not just those who are deadly serious about their performance and their gear.

Here's Darin's event report:


Darin S. Wieneke

The Family Fun Triathlon was held on Saturday in Faribault and it definitely lived up to its name. If you are looking for a fun and casual triathlon to start your season next year, especially with a friend or relative new to the sport, this is the perfect triathlon for you. While you will find lots of smiles and joking at the start line, you will not find timing chips as the race is hand timed and recorded.

As I checked out the transition area, I found one more bike (1) with a basket and pigtails (thanks to some high school pranksters) than I found with Zipp wheels (0). Despite the lack of expensive wheels, the race was exciting and had some close finishes. Ultimately, the short course race, which featured a 200 yard swim, 5 mile bike, and 1 mile run, was won by Christopher Smith in 0:32:11 and Abby Mattson in 0:33:51. The long course, which featured a 400 yard swim, 8 mile bike, and 2 mile run, was won by John Mattson in 1:03:42 and Kelli Koehnle in 1:07:03.

Another reason to think about doing this race next year is because this event is hosted by the United States Deaf Triathlon Association and Hilltoppers Athletic Booster Club and all proceeds benefit the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf Athletic Program. This is a fun event that supports a great organization.

THE BIG 4-0...

(Photo by Christine Wood, wife of Curt, mother of Sea Bass.)

Naw. Cathy Yndestad did not turn 40. She's got nine years to go before she reaches that milestone.

The number 40 is significant in her life, nonetheless. You see, last Sunday at the Gear West Duathlon, a race that she has won thricely, the 2009 USAT Athlete of the Year recorded her 40th career multisport victory.

Congratulations, CY! You are awesome.

PS: And speaking of awesome, 2009 US Master of the Year nominee who does a great impression of Arnold Schwatzenegger, Greg Taylor of Mankato, won the 55-59M AG at Ironman St. George on May 17.


Tim Larsen is a very cool guy who doesn't look old enough to have a 32-year-old daughter. He's also got a great sense of humor, likes to take pictures and loves his daughter with all his heart.

Tim's daughter is Brooke Larsen, winner of the 2009 Tri Minnesota Series and victorious at the first two races--Chain of Lakes and Land Between the Lakes--in this year's series. He sent us a scad of photos of his beloved "Brookey," * which he snapped this weekend in Albert Lea. Here's two of those shots.

FYI, Brooke's margin of victory at LBLT was 3:31. There should be a place for her on Team Minnesota this year.

* We don't know for sure if Tim Larsen calls his daughter "Brookey," a sobriquet we made up. We do suspect that he has a pet name for her, and that it's probably kinda goofy.


(Christine Wood Photo: Amazing Talent at GW's Race Start!)

It an earlier post we admitted that it was more fun to be wrong than right when predicting racing performances.

Well, we were in ecstasy after Sunday's Gear West Duathlon.

Here's our projected Top 5 men and women with their actual placings in parenthesis alongside:


1. David Thompson (1)
2. Brooks Grossinger (3)
3. Chad Millner (5)
4. Devon Palmer (6)
5. Patrick Parish (2)


1. Jenny Wilcox (2)
2. Cathy Yndestad (1)
3. Julie Hull (4)
4. Marlo McGaver (5)
5. Suzie Finger (9)

Finishing a surprising 4th was Josh Riff, who is best known for his long course prowess. This is so cool. Cathy Lee, who was overlooked when predictions were being made, placed 3rd in the women's race. This, too, was very, very cool!

We were most pleased with Patrick Parish's emergence. We are reluctant to call his effort a "2nd place" finish, preferring to acknowledge that the event had both a pro champ--DKT--and an amateur winner, Patrick Parish.

Don't be surprised of Patrick and Josh earn Most Improved nominations at season's end.

Photo: Julia Weisbecker. The 44-year-old from Mendota Heights raced brilliantly at Gear West, finishing 7th against a national level field. If her name is unfamiliar, you may know her by Julia Mairs (pronounced "Mars," like the planet or the candy bar.) FYI, she has a really cool blogsite and has posted a GW race report. Check it out: LINK.

PS: Richfield's Lucas Pedersen pulled off a "du double" last weekend, winning in rainy Spicer (Green Lake Du) on Saturday, then bouncing back against a rather bottomless field at Gear West, where he placed a respectable 23rd.


This Tim Larsen photo proves that Minnesota's "Lake Swim" season has officially begun. Pictured here is Land Between the Lake's eventual winner Matthew Payne climbing out of Fountain Lake.

More images from the weekend's racing action and commentary coming later today....

Sunday, May 23, 2010

BROOKE IS 2-FOR-2 IN 2010!

(Photos: Madonna, who wasn't at the race. We don't have a picture of Brooke Larsen yet, though her dad said he'd send us some. If you squint, Brooke and Madonna look an awful lot alike. Well, they both have blonde hair. We'll post pics of Ms. Larsen when they are available. Below - Two-time LBL champ Matt Payne.)

The totally cool and well-produced Land Between the Lakes Triathlon is the first event on our state's annual multisport calendar that features a lake swim. The temps in Fountain Lake has been sub-bath-water-ish during the first five runnings of this race. This morning, however, the water was a quasi-balmy 67.8 degrees according to triathlete Jim Wolter's handy rectal thermometer. (Okay, it wasn't really a rectal thermometer, though it looked like the one that Dr. Shelley at Central Pediatric's uses.)

Twas warm (70s), cloudy and more than a little breezy. Riders alternately enjoyed tailwinds that pushed their odometers into the high 30s and rued (cool word!) head-on blasts that made double-digits tough to maintain.

Still, most of the record 200-or-so entrants rocked, turning in great times. Warm and windy beats cold and windy any day!

Last year's champs Matt Payne and Brooke Larsen more than lived up to their favorite status, especially Larsen who toasted her CR on this .25 -20.9 - 3.5 route by more than three minutes. Brooke is two-for-two in 2010. The win is the 4th of her young career.

While Payne, runner-up to Devon Palmer for the Most Improved award last season, did not match his 2009 time, he wasn't far off (+:29). More importantly, he outdistanced his nearest challenger, COLT winner Sam Janicki, by 4:30. Sam, who really does look a lot like Andy Samberg, is definitely a man to watch.

Winner of at least three races in 2009, Todd Landgraff finished an impressive 3rd in the men's overall competition. He was almost two minutes faster than last year, when he finished 5th. Fairmont Olympic '09 winner Suzie Olsen and lasts year's LBL runner-up Caroline Skaar (pronounced "Score")-Page rounded out the women's Top 3.

AG course-best efforts were recorded by: Shelby Woodworth (00-19W), Caleb Vukovich, 14, SD (00-19M), Dan Friedrichs (40-44M), Suzie Olsen (40-44W), Carol Marston (50-54W), Sue Reiss (55-59W) and Denise Kaiser (60-64W).

Complete RESULTS


(Photos: Top - Cathy Lee with hubby Terry at Nawlin's 70.3 last season. Her 3rd at GW today was nothing short of awesome! Below - And speaking of awesome, Patrick Parish took top amateur honors and placed 2nd overall behind seven-time GW winner DKT.)

Gear West Du view from the bike in & out...
By Heidi Keller-Miler

Assigned the task of taking splits from the transition bike in and out affords a nice view of the race especially when your partner is doing all of the work (thanks Sarah Foley!).

As always this race brings out a stellar field and is fun to see who is on their game early in the year and what new multi-sporters are joining the fray and going to be the next big names on the scene.

Here are some very basic observations between the timing splits, it was hard to see the finish from where we were but I did wander over to check out the women’s finish.

DKT had some serious competition on the first run and didn’t have much of a lead going onto the bike but must have crushed on the bike as he came into t2 with a sizeable lead that left no doubt about his taking the victory. And he has really smoking fast transitions! He barely even slows the bike before hopping off in full stride….cool to watch.

After David a couple of guys all kind of came in around the same time, Patrick Parrish, Chad Millner and Brooks G along with a few other guys who I didn’t recognize but was impressed to see them up there with that crew. (assuming those guys I didn’t recognize are Josh R and Josh B, maybe Matt Liebsch who finished a very solid 4 & 7, 8 very nice races!).

Patrick put on the jets and ran to second place with the 2nd fastest run, Brooks took 3rd which gives him two great races to start the year. Devin looked like he would have liked a longer bike and Anton put together a very nice all around effort for 9th, no comment on that first transition though – looked like something I would do.

My main thought watching those guys is if you want to win at the elite level around here and you don’t run a 15-16 min 5k (on the road) you are in trouble as there are a number of of guys who can just plain run FAST!

I think the women’s field was about as good as it gets, the amount of races during the summer tends to spread the fields out and the next time you will see this many fast women assembled will be at LTF or Turtleman. No surprise that Jenny Wilcox led off the first run, her biking is fast too, very impressive for being relatively new to the sport. As expected Cathy caught her on the bike and managed to put some distance there, she had a decent lead into transition probably about 40-50 seconds. Cathy Lee had a great ride to pull into T2 in second, she looks super fit and really rocked the bike, Julie H pulled in 3rd with the fastest bike split of the day and Jenny followed a moment behind.

Cathy Y ‘s run is getting stronger every year and she had no problem holding on for the win. Jenny pulled up to 2nd followed by CL and Julie. Jan won the masters with another amazing race, she is always in the mix year in and year out.

Tony took the masters title for the men and finished 11th overall. Jan and Tony are both over 50 so that is ridiculous how fast they are and how high they place in the open competition – I honestly don’t think either has any intention of ever slowing down!

This is one tough course and can really kick your butt for the first race of the year.

Congrats to everyone who raced! - HKM

COMMENT: Love your shorthand, Heidi. We recommend that readers who are not on a first-name or "initials" basis with Minnesota's elite, check the results. RESULTS

About Heidi Keller-Miler - Heidi is a member of the Minnesota Multisport Awards Selection Committee and a former professional triathlete. She was named MN Master of the Year in 2007 and is a perennial member of Team Minnesota. She's 45 and gets injured a lot. Her favorite beer is Stella Artois. She LOVES donuts and is a total HOOT!


Story & Photos to follow. Results

DOING WHAT THEY DO BEST! DKT & CY TAKE GEAR WEST DU CROWNS! AGAIN!...Story by Team Minnesota's Heidi Keller-Miler & photos coming soon...RESULTS


* Former elite Minnesotan Sarah Viamonte, now of Omaha, NE, won the Holiday Lake Triathlon in Boone, IA on May 16. Her margin of victory was an inhospitable 10+ minutes.

* Marshall, MN's David Sample placed 4th at the Siouxperman Sprint Triathlon in Sioux Falls, SD on May 16.

* John Mattson and Billie Sell won the 1st annual Faribault Family Fun Triathlon's "Longer Course" (400 yd - 8 miles - 2 miles) event on Saturday. The 3rd annual Short Course evet (200 yd - 5 miles - 1 mile) was won by Christopher Smith and Abby Mattson.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Rain. Wind. Thunder. Lightning zapped a tree across the street from the venue. Seventy minute delay. Squeegees in transition. A fine event, nevertheless. Baby back ribs and pulled pork afterward. Gastronomic heaven.

The girl in the picture (L) is Amy Woolsey. We filched the pic from Facebook. This Amy Woolsey is NOT the Amy Woolsey who won the inaugural Green Lake Duathlon this morning, but this was the only Amy Woolsey photo we could find.

The Amy Woolsey who won the duathlon, her first career multi win, is a statuesque 44-year-old dark haired math teacher from Sauk Rapids. Third after the soggy first run, an aggressive bike split landed her in T2 ahead of the women's field. Not knowing that her lead was insurmountable, Amy ran the final 2.5 mile leg in a state of terror. Her eventual margin over runner-up Josie Thole, 23, of Benson, was 3:19. Fifteen-year-old Jessica De Groot of Prinsburg grabbed third.

The man in the picture (R) is Lucas Pedersen. The photo was taken in 2007 at the Buffalo Triathlon. There, he and two-time Minnesota Junior of the Year nominee Sarah Daniels (in photo) were junior champs.

Lucas, like Amy Woolsey, who is totally not the woman in the picture at the top of this post, won his first multi ever this morning at Green Lake. A three-time podium finisher at the popular Green Lake TRIATHLON, Lucas loves to race on this course and its variations. First into T1 and 2nd into T2, the 22-year-old Richfield resident out-split eventual 2nd placer Andrew Turner, 22, of Scandia,--the guy who was leading after the first two segments--by just under a minute in the final run to claim an exciting seven second victory. Shawn Gort of Superior, Wisconsin placed third.

Just over 100 athletes made the pilgrimage to Spicer for this debut event. RESULTS

ALSO: A pair of talented Junior triathletes from Winnipeg captured the top spots at the Thief River Falls Triathlon this morning. Sixty-plussers Neil King of Nevis and former Turtleman director Dan Conway turned in noteworthy efforts. RESULTS

Friday, May 21, 2010


(Art: Chest X-Rays: A belongs to a normal guy. B belongs to a guy with pneumonia. Photo: Bonnie drinking coffee through her ear. Don't try this at home! Drawing - A woman who looks like Bonnie, only totally different, doing sick-in-bed stuff.)

Making a Comeback Without Making a Scene...

By Bonnie Vivify

If there's one thing I should be good at it's making a come-back to training. In fact, I should be a pro at it by now, unfortunately. As I continue to progressively heal from my lung infection, the Pulmonary Specialists are allowing me to ease into training. First let me point out that these specialists are so busy doing specialistic type things that it was necessary to explain to them what a triathlon consisted of: "Nope, there isn't any jump roping or hog tying involved, it's just swim/bike/run... No, you do the three events back to back, not over the course of the summer.... Yes, people die.... No I have not yet seen someone die in the swim and I hope that I never do... Yes, we are all crazy."

Keeping in mind that exercising minds do not always think alike, I carefully asked the specialists in front of a witness if they were absolutely sure I could commence training, repeating back to them their instructions. They confirmed it in unison and reminded me to go slow and ease back into it. I had them sign a consent form I had hidden in my pocket to give to my mother and then asked them what slow and easing into it meant to them. "Well,.... running and biking and swimming I suppose...." "Let's talk semantics" I suggested. I was emphatic to make sure they understood that a short swim was a half mile, a short bike ride 20 miles and a run around 5-10 miles. They concluded that my body would consider those short and gave me the thumbs up. So, on Mother's Day, I did what I consider pampering myself. I ran 9.6 miles.

Ah, yes, the great outdoors once again! In case you are unaware until this fatal moment, Eagan is the equivalent to the hills in Tour de France. If you doubt it, just run Diffley after you finish Cliff and Pilot Knob. Last Sunday Lebanon Hills was bedded down with a beautiful blanket of fog that stretched across Cliff Road and the early morning sun streamed down through the clouds. Mike and I jogged at a very slow pace, allowing the fog to envelope us and eventually eject us out the other side, being careful to go just barely faster than a walk. I breathed in the cool, crisp air and my very being was instantly rejuvenated as I sifted through the scents that remind me that spring is here and the rain washes everything clean and fresh.

A long time later we finished the run. Injury free. As I continue to ease back into my training I am reminded daily that exercise and health are a gift we give ourselves, not something that we should take lightly. Be kind to your body in every way. Without it, how could you run Tour de France?

Thursday, May 20, 2010


(Photo: Comic actor Andy Samberg, looks a lot like Sam Janicki. Sorta. They kinda have the same haircut. We didn't have a picture of Sam. Sorry.)

The 6th Land Between the Lakes, a.k.a. the Albert Lea Triathlon, will be contested this Sunday and close to 200 participants are expected.

On the competitive side, we expect 2009 champs Matt Payne and Brooke Larsen to repeat. On paper, Larson, winner at COLT three weeks ago, appears to be the clear favorite.
If she does prevail, it will be career win #4 for the Northfield resident. Payne, however, will have to contend with young whippersnapper (is there such a thing as an "old" whippersnapper?) Sam Janicki, who is an Andy Samberg lookalike. Well, sorta. Janicki shared the Winners Circle with Larsen at COLT. This is his opportunity to prove that he is pretty darn good and not to be taken lightly.

We looked at various websites of restaurants is Albert Lea. The most interesting in our opinion was Plaza Morena. If their real food looks half as good as the food in the pictures, then this place could be outstanding. Check out their WEBSITE and maybe even pop in after the race for a Margarita and some El Sabor y Estilo de la Comida Mexicana, which loosely translated means "yummy Mexican stuff."

If it's salt and fat and calories you crave after the race, we wholeheartedly recommend Jake's Pizza on Clark Street (507-373-7350). The reviews are uniformly glowing.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


(Photo R - Jenny Wilcox at Oakdale.)

See that really skinny limb up there? That's the one. We're going to climb out onto it.

It's time to make some really bold out-on-a-limb predictions about the women's race at Sunday's Gear West Duathlon. As always, we're doing this for chuckles and fully expect to be wrong.

Our Top 5...

1. Jenny Wilcox - Total darkhorse, eh? Not when you consider that Jenny is totally-out-of-her-mind fast right now. Her course record-crushing wins at Cinco Du Mayo and Oakdale make her, in our aspartame addled minds, the one to beat.
2. Cathy Yndestad - The 2009 USAT Athlete of the Year and winner of the last two editions of this event is altering her focus this year, concentrating on Ironman Wisconsin and the wonderfully insane Leadville 100-Mile MTB race. Can she still win? Of course! She's Cathy!

3. Julie Hull - If Julie races like she did at Falls Du (CR!), she could win on Sunday.
4. Marlo McGaver - She appears to be off her game right now--she's posted sub-Marlo-ish efforts at Desert Classic (AZ) and Oakdale--which is why we have her in the 4th position. We'd love to see her return to form this weekend. Prove us wrong, Marlo! Please!
5. Suzie Finger (photo) - The 2009 Rookie of the Year just missed earning a spot on Team Minnesota last season. She'll have no trouble making the squad this year. She's healthy and riding like a banshee right now, which is why we place her ahead of the purportedly dinged Jeanne Fleck.

Chase pack: Jeanne Fleck, Jan Guenther, Tara Croteau, Cathy Lee, Ann Snuggerud, Greta Simpson.

AG Faves:

* 00-19 - Gabbie Keller
* 40-44 - Ann Snuggerud
* 45-49 - Jeanne Fleck
* 50-54 - Jan Guenther
* 55-59 - Pam Stevens

This is going to be one super race!


It's fun to prognosticate. And it's fun to be right.

But it's even more fun to be wrong!


Being wrong typically demonstrates that the status quo is being shaken up. This is good for the sport and the Minnesota scene. A recent example of our being blissfully wrong was when we predicted that Steve Sander would win the Chain of Lakes Triathlon. Steve had a good race but was beaten by upstart Sam Janicki, a youngster whose previous results were sub-stellar. But young guys (and gals) sometimes make quantum improvements. Sam sure did.

Examples of our flubbed predictions in 2009?

* Manitou winner- Devon Palmer (MTN Prediction: Kevin O'Connor) - This win served as a launching pad for Devon's stellar season.
* New Bri Tri winner- Greta Simpson (MTN - Jody Quesnell)
* Buffalo Sprint winner- Troy Anderson (MTN - Jesse Nelson)
* Life Time Fitness Elite winner- Devon Palmer (MTN - Mark Harms, Jared Woodford, Nathan White) - We should have known better!
* Chaska winner- Suzie Finger (MTN - Christina Roberts)
* Brewhouse winners- Jon Balabuck & Heidi Keller Miler (MTN - Brian Bich & Marlo McGaver)
* Green Lake Olympic winner- Cindy Blackstock (MTN -Laurel Sundberg)
* Pigman Half winner- Kortney Haag (MTN - Alaina Neary or Julie Hull)

Okay then. It's now time to, most likely, incorrectly predict the Top 5 men's finishers at Sunday's Gear West Duathlon.

1. David Thompson - David is 6 for 6 at Gear West and hasn't been beaten by a Minnesota multisportsman since June 2001 (Lake Waconia). Enough said.
2. Brooks Grossinger (photo above) - The two-time GW podium finisher is coming off a course record effort at Oakdale.
3. Chad Millner (running photo)- A CR at Falls Du and a close 2nd behind Brooks at Oakdale tell us that Chad is ready to make the podium at GW for the 2nd straight year.
4. Devon Palmer - It's foolish to bet against Devon, but here we go again. Devon has yet to race in a multi in 2010. The guys in front of him have already knocked off the rust and raced well, especially in run-bike-run races. Also, DKT, Brooks and Chad will each be at least 20 seconds-per mile faster in the run segments. Can Devon make up 50-seconds during a 17.3 mile bike leg? Maybe on Chad and Brooks, but not David. This will be very interesting.
5. Patrick Parish - As one of the fastest rising young stars of our region, the fleet-footed Parish will be nipping at the heels of the established elites. He was 8th here in 2009. He'll be barking with the Big Dogs on Sunday and for the rest of the season.

Men's AG Faves:

00-19 - ?
40-44 - Doug Davis
45-49 - Todd Firebaugh
50-54 - Charlie Roach (unless Tony Schiller shows up!)
55-59 - ?
60-64 - Ben Ewers (He's also signed up for Albert Lea. What's up, Ben?)
65-69 - Bob Bailey (Great Division! Bob, Hank, Nick!)



By Darin Wieneke

There are many days when I am biking
that I think I might be safer in a boxing ring facing Floyd Mayweather, Jr. or Manny Pacquiao. Biking accident statistics in Minnesota support this sentiment. According to the Star Tribune, officials at St. Paul’s Regions Hospital saw a thirty (30) percent increase in bicycle-motor vehicle crash injuries in 2008 and officials at North Memorial Hospital in Robbinsdale saw fifty (50) victims during the Summer of 2008, as compared to twenty-eight (28) the previous year. Editorial. “Sharing the Road.” Star Tribune, 6 October 2008.

As noted in a previous post, May is Bicycle Safety Month and MTN wants you to be safe this summer! Accordingly, I will be highlighting five of the most common bicycle accidents and how to avoid those accidents this month.

#5 The Right Hook

This type of accident occurs when a car makes a right turn directly in front of you, or right into you. A “right hook” generally occurs soon after a car passes you or when you are attempting to pass a car on the right.

Important ways to avoid this type of accident is to pay very close attention to traffic going
in your direction, and even behind you, as you approach an intersection to make sure no one “hooks” you. Also, do not pass on the right. If a car is going slowly in front of you near an intersection or elsewhere, it will likely start moving faster. If it does not, you can pass the vehicle on the left when it is safe to do so. You should also ride behind a vehicle, and not in the vehicle’s blind spot.

#4 The Left Cross

If a car coming toward you makes a left turn right in front of you, or right into you, you will feel the pain of a “left cross.” Visibility is important in regard to avoiding this type of accident. You should be sure to have a headlight if riding at night and should always wear something bright, even during the day. You should also try to make eye contact with a driver that is turning. If you cannot make eye contact, you should slow down so you can make a complete stop if necessary. While slowing down is inconvenient, it beats a trip to the emergency room.

#3 Red Light of Death

This type of accident occurs when you stop your bike to the right of a car that is already waiting at a red light or stop sign. When the light turns green, they turn right into you. This can occur whether you move forward or not after the light turns. Numerous cyclists have been crushed by semi-trucks that have made a tight right-hand turn.

You can avoid this accident by not stopping in the car’s blind spot. If you stop behind the car, you will be visible to that car and the car behind you.

I hope this information is helpful to you. The “Door Prize” and “Right Cross” will be featured in my next post.


There are four multisport events scheduled for this weekend--the inaugural Green Lake Duathlon and 3rd edition Faribault Family Fun Days Triathlon on Saturday, and the 6th Albert Lea Triathlon and the gazillionth annual Gear West Du, which kicks off the 12th (can you believe it?) season of Midwest Multisport Series racing. A combined 900 -1000 athletes are currently registered for these events, which means that there is plenty of room on these starting lines for additional participants. We recommend that you visit each race's website to learn more about what they have to offer and to find out if registration will remain open until race day. FFFD, GLD, GWD, ALT (The Albert Lea Tri will be previewed on Friday)

There are oodles (don't you hate that word!) of good reason to race this weekend. For those who haven't raced yet this season, hey, isn't it about time you knocked the rust off? And if you have raced already, here are some good reasons to go ahead and enroll in one of the weekend events.

* ADVENTURE STUFF- The Faribault (see yesterday's post) and Green Lake events are "road trip races" for the majority of our state's multi community, which reside largely in urbanesque locales, e.g. Twin Cities, Duluth, St. Cloud and Rochester. Minnesotans in general have a reverence for nature and rural life. Selecting a race in an "outlying" area allows one to do natural and rural stuff, which is very cool.

* LEGACY STUFF- The Faribault event is relatively new and only now marketing itself to
more seasoned or serious triathletes, thus it is in the process of building it's legacy. The Green Lake race in bucolic Spicer is new, but it is produced by the same folks that stage the popular Green Lake Triathlons, which finished 3rd in the polling for Triathletes Choice Race of the Year two seasons ago. The success of the tri portends great things for the du and certainly jumpstarts the legacy-building process. Add to this that the GLD's post-race repast features baby back ribs yummiliciously prepared by the staff at Melvin's On the Lake, arguably the area's best eatery. That's a great way to build a legacy!

The event that benefits most from this legacy stuff is, of course, the Gear West Duathlon. Simply put, it's a great race that has been around forever. And it is a wonderful tune-up for the Apple Duathlon, one of America's truly iconic run-bike-runs, which is slated for the following weekend in Sartell. (Make sure you sign up for Apple, if you haven't done so already.)

* EXCITEMENT OF COMPETITION STUFF: Races don't need to be competitive to be exciting, but it sure doesn't hurt. There's no question that the event, thanks in part to this legacy business, that will host the most formidable field this weekend is the Gear West Duathlon. Have you see the start list? Wow! What a studly and studettely assemblage!

TOMORROW: GW's rockin' field!

FRIDAY: Payne & Janicki square off in Albert Lea. (Land Between the Lakes Preview)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Is it pronounced "Fair-Rib-Bow?" Or "Fair-Rib-Balt?" Never figured that one out.

Whether you pronounce it "Frenchly" or "Anglicany," Faribault, Minnesota, is a totally cool town with lots of great stuff to see, do and consume.

It is also the home of the Faribault Family Fun Triathlon, an event that is celebrating it's 3rd anniversary on Saturday, May 22. What do we know about this event? Only what we can learn from visiting it's webpage and the fact that it's in a totally cool town, one that is well worth visiting. Our point is this, check out the race, then check out the town. Our guess is that you'll be glad you did.

We also suggest that you visit the city's website LINK. There's lots of cultural and historical stuff to see, great places to recreate and lots of shopping and dining options. For us, all we have to see is that cool castle-like building in the woods in the photo at the top of this post to make us want to visit Faribault.

Looking for cool eateries and a place to get a drinkie or a caffeinated bev in Faribault, here's some recommendations:

If you like cheese, the Cheese Cave sounds like an awesome place. It's like the great "Cheeseries" of Europe, only closer. They hand-craft like 5000 kinds of totally yummy fromages (that's French for "cheeses") that run the entire olfactory range from almost odorless to truly stinky. Check out their WEBSITE.

For pizza, we suggest Basilleo's. We liked their WEBSITE and think their boxes are cool.

For info on Faribault's restaurants, bars and coffee shops, we suggest you check out this SITE.

Monday, May 17, 2010


(Photo Above: Cyclists, like motorists, need to pay attention to road signs.)

By Darin Wieneke

May is Bicycle Safety Month! As MTN wants you to stay safe, I will be posting some articles this month on safe bicycle practices. Please see below my thoughts in regard to ten of the most important rules of the road. Subsequent posts will focus on avoiding some of the most common bicycle accidents.

While researching these subjects, I ran across a few notable quotes/sayings regarding bicycle safety: "Let trouble pass you by" and "
Here lies the body of Edward Grey, who died, defending his right of way. He was right, dead right, as he pedaled along, but he's just as dead as if he'd been wrong." If you have a bicycle quote you would like to share on MTN, please forward it to me at


1. Always wear a properly fit helmet (photos: not what we had in mind). It should be snug, level, and stable. It is recommended that you wear a helmet approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Snell, or the America Society for Testing Materials (ASTM).

2. Use proper lights and reflectors when riding. Wearing bright clothing is also advisable. Minnesota law prohibits the operation of bicycles at nighttime unless the bicycle or its operator is equipped with a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front and with a red reflector of a type approved by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety which is visible from all distances from 100 feet to 600 feet when viewed in front of lawful lower beams of headlights on a motor vehicle. See Minnesota Statute Sec. 169.222 for additional requirements.

3. Obey all the same traffic laws and regulations as motorists. Bicyclists have the right to ride on all Minnesota roads, except where restricted. They also are required to follow the same applicable requirements.

4. Ride in the same direction as traffic. While it is safer to ride single file on most roads, you may ride 2 abreast as long as you are not impeding the normal flow of traffic.

5. Ride as close as practicable to the right hand curb or edge of roadway. While there does not seem to be a clear definition of practicable, you should ride as far right as possible, while still being safe from debris, parked cars, and traffic.

6. Obey all traffic stop signs and stop lights.

7. Motorists and bicyclists must yield the right-of-way to each other. Making eye contact with motorists assists in ensuring that you are seen.

8. Keep well back from moving cars as they might stop suddenly. Also, keep at least 3 feet away from parked motor vehicles in order to avoid colliding with an opening motor vehicle door.

9. Use hand signals to indicate when making turns and changing lanes. Arm signals must be given continuously during the last 100 feet traveled by the bicycle before turning, unless the arm is needed to control the bicycle, and shall be given while the bicycle is stopped waiting to turn.

10. Be a polite and courteous rider. Be appreciative of gracious motorists and do not negatively comment or make hand gestures in response to motorist actions or provocations.