Tuesday, May 19, 2009


The Apple Duathlon, Minnesota's oldest--28th annual--ongoing
multisport event will be contested on Saturday, May 23. This venerable event is a Worlds Qualifier, the top 3 (passdown through 6th, if necessary) finishers in each division will earn Team USA berths.

Let's prognosticate, starting with the men's Elite category:

* The clear Favorite is David Thompson. No equivocation here. He's the reigning Elite National Champion; is a 4-time Apple champ and owner of the course record. No other duathlete has come within 1:25 of catching him in Sartell. And if our stats are accurate, David will be gunning for his 50th--that's right, 50th!--career multi win at Apple.

* Challengers: These guys are good. They should give David a good push, but don't expect them to catch him.  2008 Elite National Champion Matthew Russell of Boulder, CO and Ryan Giuliano of Schaumberg, IL, a consistent high-performer who placed 3rd last weekend at the ever-competitive Memphis in May Triathlon, should vie for podium spots. Long course tri aficionado Justin Hurd from Colorado Springs, may also prove to be a contender.
(Photo: Matthew Russell winning 2008 Du Nationals)

* Podium Darkhorses include 2001 Apple champ and winner at Gear West  last weekend, Robert Gilles of Fargo, ND, Kevin O'Connor of Medina, whose impressive victory at Oakdale suggests that he's ready for this challenge.  And let's toss in last year's 2nd place finisher, Dan Cohen, as well as Matthew Payne (Columbia Heights), who has two wins and two CRs already in 2009.

Women's Elite frontrunners...

* The Co-Favorites should be Duluth's Marlo McGaver and Falmouth, Massachusett's Ann Preisig.  Preisig, 41, is one of Duathlon's pioneers. She is a former Elite National Champ (2008), top 5 finisher at Worlds (1993) and Dannon Series star. And she does her best racing on short courses. Marlo is a three-time Apple Champ with a tender hamstring, which has bothered her off-and-on for more than a year. And she was nipped by Cathy Yndestad by 1/100th of a second at Gear West last weekend, which should be highly motivating. Prediction:  Muscle memory will keep Marlo McGaver in front.

* Podium Challengers:  Chicago's Heidi Sarna, who beat Preisig at Powerman Alabama, and Floridian Rachel Chambers are legitimate contenders, as is San Diego's Kathryn Kasischke.

* Podium Darkhorses: Certainly 2-time Oakdale winner Julie Hull deserves to be mentioned here. An uncharacteristic result (6th) at Gear West should provide motivation. 
This list should also include 2008 Rookie of the Year Kortney Haag, whose du debut at Gear West yielded an encouraging 4th place finish; masters ace Jeanne Fleck (3rd  at Gear West); and emerging star Sarah Viamonte. Sarah is a strong runner who'll need to prove that she can ride with top girls on Saturday if she hopes to make Elite Team USA.

The AG contests will be hard fought and only the toughest will earn the right to purchase their overpriced Team USA uniforms. Here are some of the AG Favorites:

00-19 - Denver Rogolla (Onamia, MN), Caius Rickard (Plymouth, MN)
20-24 - John Heinlein III (Stillwater, MN)
30-34 - Brendon O'Flanagan (Woodbury, MN), Brent Sinn (La Crosse, WI), Mark Lavin (Sioux Falls, SD)
35-39 - Mark Beversdorf (Wausau, WI), John Shelp (Maple Plain, MN)
45-49 - Todd Firebaugh (Woodbury, MN)
50-54 - Dave Dow (West Lakeland, MN), Gary Brenner (Madison, WI), David Lasorsa (Port Angeles, WA)
55-59 - Bart Bixtenstine (Shaker Heights, OH), Mike Colaizy (Osceola, WI), Jeffery Timm (Bethlehem, PA)
60-64 - Kerry Mayer (Madison, WI), Dennis Kasischke (Laughlin, NV)
65-69 - Hank Larsen (Glencoe, MN), Jim Hix III (Claremore, OK), Joe Carr (Blowing Rock, NC)

"On paper" the deepest men's division is 35-39: Beversdorf, Shelp, Kevin Sampson (Overland Park, KS), Troy Vargas (Hudson, WI), Mario Minnelli (Kasson, MN), Dereck Podratz (Lino Lakes, MN), et al. 45-49, 50-54 and 55-59 are also stacked.


20-24 - Laura Mills (Duluth, MN)
25-29 - Sarah Kolpin (Minneapolis, MN), Marlene Yaeger (Mounds View, MN)
30-34 - Jana Severson West Des Moines, IA), Diane Hankee (Oakdale, MN), Tara Croteau (Duluth, MN)
35-39 - Tracie Kent (St. Paul, MN)
40-44 - Wendy Bengston (Chippewa Falls, WI)
45-49 - Sue Abrahamson (Wayzata, MN)
55-59 - Karen McKeachie (Ann Arbor, MI), Pam Stevens (Sartell, MN)
60-64 - Ann Rhea (Plymouth, MN) (Note: Also in the field is Anne Viviani, of Arlington, VA who has already earned her spot. She is the defending 60-64W National Champion.)
70-74 - Pat Fossum (Montgomery, AL)