Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Sam Hauck (above) is returning to his hometown of Shoreview intent on defending his Turtleman title. He's faster than he was in 2008, but so are several of the adversaries he'll face on Saturday.

Who are the guys that will try to keep Sam off the top step of the podium?

Let's start with Devon Palmer.

Palmer's victories at Life Time Fitness Elite and Heart of the Lakes are both worthy of Performance of the Year nominations. At HOLT, he managed to beat Sam by 14 seconds. In their only other confrontation--at Big Creek--last weekend, Hauck came out on top. It should be noted that Palmer raced--Firehouse 50 Team Time Trial--the day before the BCT.

Then there's Kevin O'Connor.

O'Connor finished 18 seconds behind Hauck at HOLT, and 25 seconds behind him at Big Creek. (Kevin raced with Devon the day before at Firehouse 50). He's also beaten Devon on two of the four times they have faced each other.

Then there's Dan Cohen.

Dan has won three of the six races he's entered thus far in 2009. He was 2nd behind Hauck at Turtleman last year and won the T-Man in 2007. This guy needs to be taken very seriously.

Then there's Patrick Parish, the 2nd-year triathlete who has already won five races and has proven repeatedly--Minneman, Brewhouse etc.--that he can bark with the Big Dogs.

The list of contenders does not end here. Among the other names that deserve to be dropped are those belonging to Matthew Payne, Brett Lovaas, Alex Hooke and Dan Arlandson, though Dan should still be stiff and sore after last weekend's BIG win at Full Vineman in northern California.

Despite the conspicuous absences of Curt Wood and Brian Bich, who just informed MTN that he has recently sustained a back injury, this weekend's Turtleman should be the most competitive edition ever--on both the men's and women's side--of this 26-year-old Classic.

Who will win the Age Group battles?

Here's our predictions:

* 00-19 - Brandon Onopa, 18, Long Lake (Brandon should win the 19U award, though Nick Madrinich, 19, Chaska, will have slightly faster time. By USAT rules, Nick, who ages-up in September, will be considered a 20-year-old on Saturday.)
* 40-44 - Leon Ball, 44, Minneapolis (Leon's racing well right now, as recent results at Brewhouse and HOLT attest.)
* 45-49 - Mo Mouw, 46, White Bear Lake
* 50-54 - Terry Alexander, 52, Maple Plain (Tough call here. If Dave Dow were in top shape, he'd be the favorite.)
* 55-59 - Greg Taylor, 55, Mankato (Great category with LOTS of competition!)
* 60-64 - Ben Ewers, 63, North Oaks (Strong AG but Ewers is one of the two best 60-64s--with Indiana's Steve Smith--in the U.S.)
* 65-69 - Hank Larsen, 69, Glencoe
* 70-74 - Don Meck, 70, Siren, WI
* 80+ - Bob Powers, 85, of White Bear Lake & Frank Farrar, 80, of Britton, SD will finish together!