Tuesday, June 23, 2009


(Is Devon Palmer ready to bark with the Big Dogs at Hy-Vee on Sunday? Photo courtesy of Christine Wood.)

Twelve Minnesota multis have or will be staged between the 13th and 28th of June. Additionally, two Iowa events--Pigman Sprint and Hy-Vee-- which traditionally pull a sizable chunk of our top athletes, are also contested during this period. Seven of these races are slated for this weekend.

Minnesota's talent pool is large and deep. Still, with seven races and the Buffalo Springs Lake 70.3 in Texas, which has leeched five of our state's most talented swim-bike-runners (Cathy Yndestad, Julie Hull, Rhett Bonner, Mark Carey and Julie MacMonagle), our elites will be spread a bit thin. Most of the races will not be quite as competitive as in past years, though one, the 4th annual Croixathlon has attracted it's strongest field to date and can expect its course records to fall hard.

No man has ever cracked the one hour mark at the 1/3-13-3 Croixathlon. (The men's course record is 1:02:15.) Three men should dip under this mark on Saturday, though, starting with Eden Prairie's talented Dan Cohen. Cohen has been in a bit of a funk this season and this may be just the kind of low-key racing remedy he needs.

But it won't be that low-key, not with Hudson, Wisconsin's David Holden and the resurrected Montgomery Mouw pulling and pushing Dan along.

For the girls, Shoreview's Lindsay Marshall, 20, should pick up her 3rd consecutive Croixathlon win. Hudson's Kelly McCann, 22, fresh off her triumphant long course debut at Liberty, should push Marshall to a sub-1:10 CR. Lindsay's current course best is 1:11:11.

The North Mankato Triathlon's field is not nearly as formidable as in past seasons. On the positive side, its turnout will be as large--300ish--as ever. Also, races that don't attract the state's Big Guns allow chase pack athletes to race at the front. Some of these folks are transformed by this kind of experience and ultimately move into the elite ranks.

If North Mankato's own Lynette Bacon chooses not to be a late registrant this year, then it is likely that Northfield's Brooke Larsen will pick up her 2nd win--she was victorious at Albert Lea--of the season. Another W may deepen her commitment to the sport and motivate her to work on her weak suit: cycling. She could be a star of the future in the making.

The M-Jets should wreak a little havoc at Hy-vee this Sunday. Especially St. Paul's Devon Palmer, though three-time Minnesota Junior of the Year Michael Williams also appears poised to do some damage in Des Moines. Williams has gone, as they say, to the next level, as his sterling efforts at Manitou (won in CR time by Palmer) and Lake Minnetonka illustrate.

Though he will not be launching with the Elite wavers, expect a top 3-5 overall amateur finish from Palmer. The only guys who, on paper, appear capable of keeping Devon out of the winner's circle are defending champ Mark Harms of Madison, Wisconsin, Iowa's Nathan White and Pennsylvanian Rick Fesler, who appears destined to receive a 2009 USAT Athlete of the Year nomination.