Thursday, June 4, 2009


(L - Photo courtesy of Erik Hull. Brendon O'Flanagan, winner of NBT IV. R - Photo courtesy of Surprise women's champ Greta Simpson.)

(New Brighton, MN - June 6, 2009) "What does he put in those things?" Brendon O'Flanagan laughingly asked a gaggle of congratulators immediately following his victory at the 4th annual New Bri Tri. He was speaking of  "Rocket" Rod Raymond's capacious calves. Riding in close proximity with the decorated Duluthian, Brendon's eyes were drawn hypnotically to Raymond's tumid gastrocnemiae. "They're huge! They're Popeye calves!" 

He's right. They are enormous. A woman, who will remain nameless, once remarked when she saw him in tights (at Square Lake) that he looked like he was "smuggling coconuts." She was after she used the term "Godlike" to describe him to a friend. (Rod has endured good-natured ribbing about his nordic muscularity for most of his life.)

In the end, O'Flanagan, 32, of Oakdale, was 1:15 faster than Raymond. Brendon's time on this cool, dank, somewhat squally morning was 1:03:46, just two ticks off Patrick Parish's 2008 course best. (The times in 2007 were slightly faster but the bike route was abbreviated.) The win was the second in his career and his most significant to date. 

Jeff Fleig, the La Crosse, WI area's premier multisportsman, placed 3rd. St. Paul's smooth-striding Anton Pshon and 2006 NBT champ Nick McCulloch of Fridley, rounded out the top 5.

Who is Greta Simpson and why was she the runaway winner of the New Bri Tri? Who is this 28-year-old Minneapolis resident who lowered Abby Ruess' course record by 40 seconds? 

Greta Simpson is an athlete who has come an extraordinarily long way in a very short time. She raced at least four times in 2008 and her performances were, at best, "medium dazzle." She cracked the top 20 only twice, a 15th against a largely newbie field at the YWCA Women's Tri and a 7th at the Treadman Du. Obviously, Greta has done something right in the off-season. MTN congratulates her on her inspiring transformation.

(Editor's Note: Less than 24-hours after this story first appeared, MTN learned that Greta Simpson is being coached by Dan Cohen of SCS Multisports. Great work, Dan!)

Finishing 2nd in the women's race was Jessica Deegan, of St. Paul, whose 1:17:35 over the 1/2-14-3 route was 3:12 off Simpson's pace. Third went to Roseville's Jody Quesnell, who needs to be reminded that the pointy part of her aero helmet in intended to aim backwards. Fourth and fifth went to Fridley's Kathryn Seleski and ace swimmer Diana Koepp of Rochester.

Seven non-open-class** divisional records were rewritten: 

* 40-44M - Duluth's Rod Raymond (1:15:01). Old mark: 1:16:07
* 55-59M - Duluth's Bill Schmitt (1:14:47). Old mark:  1:26:18
* 60-64M - White Bear Lake's Tom Couillard (1:32:42). Old mark: 1:55:32
* 65-69M - Siren, WI's Don Meck (1:48:20). Old Mark: 1:59:43

* 00-19W - Andover's Kelsey Hoegh (1:35:18). Old mark:  1:39:22
* 40-44W - Roseville's Jody Quesnell (1:17:55). Old mark: 1:18:07
* 60-64 W - Plymouth's Ann Rhea (1:48:31)

** Open Class refers to athletes age 20-39.