Tuesday, July 7, 2009


GRANITEMAN VI: Defending champ Michelle Andres will try to stay in front of the deepest women's field in this race's history. A record 500-participants are expected to make the pilgrimage to Rockville on Sunday.

It won't be easy for 2008 Team Minnesota member Michelle Andres to pick up her 3rd Graniteman victory on Sunday. Though her career resume is superior to any of her challengers, she has yet to race this season.

Brooke Larson, on the other hand, has raced frequently with great results. She's won two events--Albert Lea and North Mankato--and placed 2nd at Liberty Olympic. Her swimming and running are strong and her confidence is growing. Her cycling needs work, though. To win, she'll need a faster-than-usual bike split, and/or an uncharacteristically sluggish one from Andres.

Diane Hankee and Kathleen DeWahl are fit and each have won a race already this year. Hankee possess toughness and DeWahl has youth on her side. Of the two, Diane has the best shot at upsetting the reigning champ.

On paper, the aforementioned girls should take the first four spots. There are eight or nine evenly-matched women who should fight over positions five through ten. In other words, this year's women's race should be more exciting than ever.

The men's field, by comparison, is thin, especially since none of past champions Jeremy Sartain (2007), Matt Payne (2008), Chad Millner (2006 ), Eike Mrosek (2005) and John Shelp (2004), or men of their competitive ilk, are not enrolled.

Based on 2009 results, the men's favorite should be Chip Tabor. He should get a nice push from Harold Doise, Micah Turman, Jim Graif and 18-year-old Caius Rickard.

Oh yeah, assistant race director Bill Corcoran is racing well this season. Count him among the pushers.

Several age group records should fall. On the women's side, expect Pam Zachman and reigning Paynesville champ Lisa Hines to go faster than the old 45-49W course best (1:25:40), with Zachman claiming the new CR with a sub-1:20. For the men, expect MTN's June Age Group Athlete of the Month Ben Ewers to blow away the 60-64M record, and for Jim Graif to manhandle the 45-49M mark.