Thursday, June 25, 2009


Can Brian Bich (see photo) win his 6th LWT? Or will the red-hot Kevin O'Connor pick up his 3rd win of the 2009 season? And is Matthew Payne ready for this? Can Marlo McGaver repeat? Who will win the battle for masters supremacy? Jan Guenther or Jeanne Fleck?

Yes, Brian can win his 6th consecutive LWT . He has a special relationship with this event--and Heart of the Lakes and Brewhouse, too, for that matter. He's used to excelling here and expects to do so. His cells expect to win on this scenic and challenging course.

Can Kevin O'Connor upset him?

Sure. But to do so he has to rewrite his own competitive history. He's never won on this course. He's finished as high as 2nd on a couple of occasions, the most recent of which is more than a decade ago. So, is the fact that he is in supreme shape right now and has already beaten Brian once--by 11 seconds at Pigman Sprint--this season, going to be enough?


Conclusion: Brian or Kevin will win.

Now, who will climb the final step on the men's podium?

Four guys have a legitimate shot at it: Dan Cohen, Patrick Parish, Steve Sander and Matthew Payne.

Cohen has the creds--he placed 3rd here last year--but, for a variety of reasons, is having a disappointing season. Additionally, he slated to race at Croixathlon on Saturday. It's hard to get your best results on the backside of a double-dip.

Parish has the potential, as he demonstrated at Manitou, where he finish 4th behind national-level stars Devon Palmer, Kevin O'Connor and Curt Wood.

Like Parish, Sander is a star on the rise. A super cyclist, he is getting better with each race.

Can either of these guys get it done? Is one of them destined for the podium?

Probably not.

The man who appears most ready join our region's tri-aristocracy is Matthew Payne. With four wins in five starts this year, the MTN Athlete of the Month in May should be considered the clear choice for the final men's podium spot.

While RochesterFest, like LWT, boasts a strong elite men's field, their women's elite assemblage is thin by comparison to LWT's. Defending champ Marlo McGaver is back and should be considered the prohibitive favorite. Based on recent performances, McGaver's stiffest challenge should come from either 44-year-old Jeanne Fleck or 50-year-old Jan Guenther, a two-time winner here during this decade. Kate McCann, anxious to return to 2008 form, should also be considered a podium-hopeful. A plethora of talented girls, led by Susan Williams and Brook Mutzenberger will battle for places 5th through 10th.

(Photo courtesy of

UPDATE: Jeanne Fleck has informed MTN via email that she won't be racing at Lake Waconia:

.....I will not be racing there tomorrow. I crashed on my bike last Saturday during a training session and had to have surgery on my elbow (my new TT bike (3 weeks old) had to have surgery too). So, the only racing I will be doing in the short term is to see if who will heal faster, me or my bike. We are hoping that the incision on my elbow will be healed and I will be back racing by Lifetime. I'm hoping my neck and shoulder are also on board with that schedule (they don't seem to be cooperating as well as the elbow and legs).

Anyway, I send my Best Wishes to all the competitors at Lake Waconia and all the Tri Events this weekend for beautiful weather and fun and SAFE races.