Tuesday, August 18, 2009


The semi-retirement of local star Michelle Andres, who won this race in 2006 and finished 2nd here last year and in '05, has really opened up the women's race. There are at least eight girls who could win on Sunday. In alpha order, they are Kirsten Bich (Duluth), Casey Hirschman (Maple Grove), Amy Klosterman (White Bear Lake), Tammy Marker (Waconia), Jena Ogston (Duluth), Suzie Olsen (Blue Earth), Caroline Skaar-Page (Eden Prairie) and Pam Zachman (Golden Valley).

Skaar-Page and Zachman have the most to gain. If both girls crack the top 5, the one who wins the head-to-head contest will win the Tri Minnesota Series. If current Series leader Brooke Larsen (Northfield) decides to register, however, she (Brooke) should win the race and secure her top spot on the Series leaderboard. In her absence, and assuming that another elite multisportwoman does not register before this evening's (Tuesday) deadline, we predict that Tammy Marker will post the fastest women's time.

Last weekend Richfield's Steve Sander tasted victory for the first time. He shouldn't have to wait long before he does so again. He should also win at Lakes Country, though he'll be pursued by a gaggle of talented guys, foremost of whom will be Greg Rhodes of Bloomington, North Dakotan Mariusz Czarnomski and Jim Graif of Elk River. Dennis Dane's CR-1:16:57 (2007) should be safe for another year, but Steve's time should fall somewhere in between Dennis' and the event's second fastest clocking, a 1:18:11, posted by Matthew Liebsch in '07.

UPDATE: We have just learned that women's Series points leader Brooke Larsen will indeed be racing in Baxter on Sunday. If she wins, and she will be favored to do so, it will be her 3rd Series victory of the 2009 season.