Saturday, June 27, 2009


20th Edition LAKE WACONIA TRIATHLON: A Six-Pack for Brian. Brook Mutzenberger talks about her big win. And her big future.

(Photo courtesy of Brook Mutzenberger breaking through at Waconia.)

Chicagoland transplant Brook Mutzenberger possesses an effervescent personality. Her smile is infectious as is her innate optimism. On Sunday morning she exuded even more sparkle than usual. She knew something that no one else did and that knowledge made her giddy.

She knew that something special was going to happen; something that could change her life.

Here's how her race unfolded. She and Jan Guenther separated themselves from the women's elite field during the bike segment. Jan's advantage going into T2 was 28 seconds. When she exited the bike corral, that margin had shrunk to 9 seconds. Brook was grinning when she blasted onto the run course. Spectators recognized the expression. It was what is called a "knowing" smile. She knew she would catch and pass Jan. And she knew that there was no way in heck that her pursuers, the closest of whom happened to be P2 teammates Susan Williams and Kate McCann, were going to catch her. Uh-uh. Not today. She was feeling too good. This was her day.

She crossed the finish line 45 seconds ahead of the remarkable cinco-genarian Jan Guenther. Williams took 3rd, 52 seconds behind Jan. McCann placed fourth and 2008 LWT champ Marlo McGaver round out the Elite women's top 5.

Brook, your first career victory was a biggie. It looked like everything came together for you today.

"I'm learning that racing is just as much about belief in your ability as it is about performance. There were some AMAZING women on the course today....but this is the first race where I actually believed I was capable of winning."

You exuded readiness before the race. You seemed very anxious to get started.

"Going into the race, I felt energized and excited! I love the Waconia course - it is so beautiful."

You weren't intimidated by the rough water? And the 40 mph winds on the bike course?

"The swim was a BLAST - I love those waves! Yes, the wind was a little rough on the bike, but my legs felt strong. Going out on the run, my energy was solid and it was just a matter of keeping my feet moving fast. Overall, I could not have asked for a better day!"

What's next for you, Brook?

"Life Time Fitness is my next race. Today's race gave me a new level of confidence going into that race. I'm really looking forward to seeing what unfolds at Life Time."

So are we.

Brian Bich and Kevin O'Connor came into the event as co-favorites, and it was clear as soon as they hit the bike course that one of these guys would win. The rising stars--Matt Payne, Patrick Parish and Steve Sander--who hoped to give them a run for their money on Sunday soon learned that they are not yet ready to bark with these Big Dogs. This chase pack did go on to post sterling efforts, claiming places two through five.

Bich led throughout the bike phase, with Kevin pulling close only to drop back, then charge back into contention a moment later. Bich spent a good deal of time looking over his shoulder.

O'Connor was 29 seconds down when he started the run, his face a portrait of grim determination. He would outrun the leader, shrinking the margin to 15 seconds when Bich, who was carrying the Minnesota state flag to signify that he had, for the fifth consecutive year, earned an invitation to represent his home state at the Best of the US Championship, triumphantly crossed the finish line. For Brian, it was his 6th straight LWT victory.

When Kevin arrived at the line, making his 3rd career 2nd here official, the men embraced. It was a moving demonstration of sportsmanship and mutual respect. These men truly left it all on the course.

Brian Bich, a two-time podium finisher in Best of the US Nationals competition, has tentatively accepted his BOUS invitation. Mutzenberger will have two weeks in which to make her decision. If she chooses not make the trip to Mission Viejo, California for this year's Championship, Jan Guenther will inherit the invitation.

The elite wave at LW was called the "Best of Minnesota" wave. Athletes opting to race in this wave were required to swim the original half mile course. All other waves swam a quarter mile route.

Forty seven triathletes competed in the "Best of Minnesota" event. The rest of the 500-member field was led by eventual "citizen" champions Chip Tabor of St. Louis Park, who eaked out a seven second win over Excelsior's Chap Achen, and 2008 Rookie of the Year nominee Lydia Novatny of Hopkins, whose margin of victory over runner-up Megan Steiger of St. Louis Park was a girthy 2:38.

This, the 20th edition of this classic event, marked the retirement of race director Tom Konrardy. Tom was at once very businesslike yet simultaneously big-hearted. He is fiercely proud of his hometown (Waconia) and the triathlon he built and nurtured. The satisfaction of the participants had always been his first priority.

MTN congratulates Tom on all that he has accomplished and thanks him for his tremendous contribution to Minnesota's multisport culture.

Tom will be replaced by long-time assistant director, Marvin Denzer, who will surely perpetuate LWT's glorious legacy.

(UPDATE: Brook Mutzenberger has officially accepted her invitation to represent Minnesota at the Best of the US Championship in Mission Viejo, CA on September 27.)

BUFFALO SPRINGS LAKE 70.3: Cathy Yndestad & Rhett Bonner are Kona-bound!

(Lubbock, TX - June 28, 2009) Two-time USAT Athlete of the Year Honorable Mention Cathy Yndestad of Apple Valley, and 45-year-old star Rhett Bonner of Duluth, shone as brightly as the West Texas sun at Ironman 70.3 Buffalo Springs Lake on Sunday. Cathy finished an impressive 6th overall and 2nd among amateur women in a time of 4:46:42. Charisa Warnick of Carlsbad, CA, a decorated veteran of the 70.3 distance, was top amateur. She finished 1:18 ahead of Yndestad.

Bonner not only won the men's 45-49 age group and the IQ slot that goes with it, he was the fastest master of the day. His 4:30:46 was the 11th fastest amateur clocking. He was also the fastest master (and amateur) in the last half IM he entered: Silverman '07. There he placed 2nd overall behind super pro Chris McCormack.

Farmington's Julie Hull was also impressive. She was the 5th fastest female amateur of the day (14th woman overall) in a time of 4:58:00.

HY-VEE TRIATHLON : Devon podiums!

(Des Moines, IA - June 28, 2009) St. Paul's Devon Palmer followed up his breakthrough win at Manitou Sprint with a podium finish at the ultra-competitive Hy-Vee Olympic Triathlon in Des Moines on Sunday. Following the fastest men's bike split of the day, victory appeared within Palmer's grasp, but a lackluster run ultimately dropped him into 3rd place. In a flip-flop of last year's top 2 men, Iowa's Nathan White scored a 19 second win over Madison, Wisconsin's Mark Harms.

The women's race was won by Chicago's Lindsay Whalen, who appears to be a shoo-in for a US Athlete of the Year nomination. Her margin of victory over teen phenom Tanelle Berard of Clive, IA, who took 2nd, was an obese 3:49. New Hope's Kortney Haag, Minnesota's 2008 Rookie of the Year and winner of the Buffalo Olympic Triathlon last month, finished 7th.

ROCHESTERFEST OLYMPIC: Sam Lowers His Own CR!....Heidi Learns About Position Penalties.

(Rochester, MN - June 28) After Sam Hauck, 25, of Omaha, NE, by-way-of Shoreview, MN, bettered his own course record at RochesterFest, despite what he called "horrible winds" and a "longish" 10K (10.4?), he told MTN, "I knew I was going to be faster this year." He went on to explain that he's worked hard on his cycling and the results have been encouraging.

They sure were on Sunday. At RFT, only super-cyclists Jeremy Sartain (58:12) of St. Paul, and eventual runner-up Curt Wood (58:17) of Chaska, out-rode Hauck (59:12). Sartain, still recovering from a career-threatening motorcycle accident back in the spring of 2008, went on to place a satisfying 6th overall. Finishing in between Curt and Jeremy were Rochester's Alex Hooke (3rd), Fargo's Rob Gilles (4th) and Andover's Neil Miller (5th).

With five career wins under his belt, Hauck dreams of #6.

"I think I'm ready to win at Annandale."

Sam was 2nd at Annandale, a.k.a. the Heart of the Lakes Triathlon, last year, finishing 20 seconds behind the amazing Brian Bich. If Brian hopes to claim his 7th straight amateur win at HOLT, he'll need to go much faster than last year, because Sam almost certainly will.

After Heidi Keller-Miler, 44, of Chaska, crossed the finish line ahead of all the other girls at RF, she assumed that she had won. Smiling, she was anxious to collect the $700 winner's check.
When results were posted she was listed in 3rd place, a position that paid $100.

Heidi later learned that she had been assessed a 2-minute "Position" penalty. Put more bluntly, she was cited for "blocking." It was then explained to her that one need not actually block, i.e. make it difficult for another athlete to pass, to be penalized. One need only be in the position to do so.

Heidi was riding alone when she received the penalty, which means that the official believed that she wasn't riding closely enough to the roadside.

Despite the financial loss, Heidi took her predicament in stride. "I've been racing (triathlons) for 26-years and I was never aware of that rule," she noted. "Oh well, I guess the only way to learn about some rules are to break them."

Minneapolis' Thea Fleming, who placed 2nd at the Liberty Half two weeks earlier, assumed that she had just recorded her second straight runner-up effort when she crossed the finish line 40 seconds behind Keller-Miler. Shortly thereafter she learned that she was the official winner. It was the 2nd career victory for the 2005 Minnesota Rookie of the Year nominee. Thea also received a nomination for Most Improved in 2007.

St. Louis Park's Shelley Nelson, who won the Buffalo Sprint on June 7, took 2nd place. Like Fleming, she was coming off a a respectable half IM performance (5:03 at Kansas 70.3) two weeks earlier.

The accompanying RochesterFest Sprint was won by Red Wing's Jesse Nelson, who placed 4th at Croixathlon the day before, and Rochester's Johanna Hall. Nelson won this event in 2008 as well. Hall, 3rd here last year, lowered Lacey Osuldsen's CR by 1:32.

NORTH MANKATO TRIATHLON: Another Come-From-Behind Victory for Brooke Larsen

(North Mankato, MN - June 26) Northfield's Brooke Larsen picked up her 2nd career win at North Mankato, the sixth stop on the 10-race TriMinnesota circuit. Down 48 seconds to eventual runner-up Gretchen Sedaka of Lake Crystal when she entered T2, Larsen went on to record the women's fastest run split. As at Albert Lea, Brooke overtook the leader within site of the finish line. Her final margin of victory was 12 seconds. Suzie Olsen of Blue Earth rounded out the women's top three.

Hometowner Todd Landgraff won the men's race. Northfield's Andy Clark, 48, and Mankato's Dan Frienrichs finished 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Approximately 300 athletes took part in this year's triathlon.


(Philadelphia, PA - June 28, 2009) St. Paul's David Thompson chalked-up his 3rd victory at the Philadelphia Triathlon on Sunday. Trailing Pennsylvanian Andrew Yoder by 2:55 after the first two phases, DKT nevertheless caught and passed the talented 20-year-old and eventually won with a full minute to spare. It was Thompson's 3rd win here and the 51st of his career.