Wednesday, December 30, 2009


It's not a good idea to eat at Jeanne Fleck's house if you are hypertensive, have any cardiac or circulatory problems or are sodium-intolerant. On the other hand, her bulgogi is sooooooo tasty that it may actually be worth a trip to the ER with congestive heart failure. This is because she doesn't skimp on the soy sauce, and uses only the Korean kind, the one that comes in a bottle with little drawings on the label instead of words.

And she makes sure the beef isn't too lean; fattier cuts really soak up the salty marinade.

Yes, Jeanne is a saltaholic.

And bulgogi is but one source of her chemicals (NaCL) of choice. She's been known to binge on potato chips. (Like former vice-president Dan Quayle, she spells "potato" with an "oe" on the end.)

And she can't get enough pizza, especially the saliferous ambrosia baked at Shamrock Tavern in Superior, Wisconsin. (Who can blame her?)

That's right, she's willing to cross state lines to get her fix.

The lure of Shamrock Pizza is intensified by the fact that the establishment has a great vintage jukebox. A Wurlitzer 850 Peacock, for goshsakes! And it contains a substantial "nouveau" classic rock library. As Jeanne crams slice-after-brackish-slice into her neck with her right hand, her left is feeding the insatiable Wurlitzer, out of which pours the soulful electricity of Stevie Ray Vaughan ("The Sky is Crying," "Scratch 'n Sniff" et al) and wonderful manic insanity of AC/DC ("Highway to Hell," "Love at First Feel," "Shoot to Thrill" et al).

Inasmuch as her blood pressure readings remain within the normal range, Jeanne has opted NOT to seek help with her problem, claiming as addicts do, that she is hurting only herself, not others.

Here's some other stuff you may not have known about Jeanne Fleck:

Occupation: Orthopedic Implant Rep for Biomet Orthopedics
College: College of St. Scholastica
Major: Accounting
Favorite Food: Pad Thai, Bulgogi, Pizza, Rocky Road Bars
Favorite Books: Anything by James Patterson
Favorite Movies: Blind Side, Old School, Race Across the Sky
Favorite Actors: Meryl Streep, Seth Rogen, Tina Fey
Favorite TV Shows: The Biggest Loser, Big Bang Theory, Dexter Favorite Bands: Nickelback, AC/DC, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Daughtry
Favorite Junk Food: Potatoe Chips, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
Favorite Restaurant: Shamrock Pizza, Superior, WI
Favorite Alcholic Beverage: beer (come on I'm from the Iron Range, what else would it be??)
Favorite Pro Teams: The Shack
Favorite College Teams: UW- Superior Soccer/Track (my son's teams)
Hero's: My husband (who puts up with, supports and helps me train for all my tri/du/cx/xc racing)
Dream vacation: Tour De France
Winter Training/Off season: xc-skiing, cyclo-cross

(WARNING: Some of the content contained herein may have been made-up. We thank Jeanne and Greg Fleck for being such good sports.)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Triathlete/Blogger Brian Maas recently completed a stage of the Giro di Lombardia (see photo). Next stop, the Alpe D'Huez. And he didn't have to go to Italy nor does he plan to book a flight to France. READ

Monday, December 28, 2009


1. CHRISSIE WELLINGTON, 32, Solihull, GBR - Winner of all eight Iron races she's entered in her career, three of those victories were turned in in 2009, and all in sub-9 hour times. Her 8:31:59 at Roth borders on the incomprehensible. Though there is more female talent at the IM distance than ever before, the gulf between Chrissie and her pursuers is ridiculously large. Her average margin of victory in 2009 was 17:16.

2. EMMA MOFFATT, 25, Brisbane, AUS - Unquestionably the brightest female star in the ITU heavens at this point in time. Her wins at Gold Coast Worlds, Hy-Vee, Hamburg, Kitzbuhel and Washington DC (and 2nds at Mooloolaba and Tongyeong) convinced most observers that she is in the same league as Snowsill and Fernandez. Some go even further in their praise, suggesting that she (Moffatt) is in a league of her own.

3. JULIE DIBENS, 34, Bath, GBR (resides in Boulder, CO) - Ms.
Versatility. Wins at Xterra Worlds, 70.3 Worlds and 5430 Half, plus podiums at Life Time Fitness, Toyota US Open, UK 70.3 and Boulder Peak were the highlights of her amazing '09 resume.

THE BEST OF '09: PRO WOMEN...#4-#10

Even with superstars Emma Snowsill and Vanessa Fernandez (POR) on the sidelines for much of the season, it was a great year for pro women. World Class athletes with stellar resumes, like Canada's Samantha McGlone, Australia's Belinda Granger and UKers Bella Bayliss, Helen Jenkins and Leanda Cave, did not make our Top 10 list. Nor did Canada-based Czech Teresa Macel, who enjoyed a breakout season.

The girls who did make our list, landing in spots 4 through 10, are:

4. Mirinda Carfrae (photo), 29, Brisbane, Queensland, AUS (resides in Boulder, CO)
5. Lisa Norden, 25, Kristiansted, SWE (resides in France)
6. Rebekah Keat, 31, Albury, NSW, AUS
7. Nicola Spirig, 27, Zurich, SUI
8. Yvonne Van Vlerken, 31, HOL (resides in Austria)
9. Sarah Haskins, 29, St. Louis, MO (resides in Colorado Springs)
10. Gina Crawford, 29, Canterbury, NZL

Coming Next: The Big 3...

Sunday, December 27, 2009


1. MATT REED, 34, Boulder, CO. The transplanted New Zealander was the most versatile male triathlete in the world in 2009. His short course wins against world-class fields at Miami International, Oklahoma City (Pan Am Champs), Life Time Fitness, Elite Nationals, Chicago and the Toyota US Open were complimented by his long course victories at California 70.3 and Rev 3.

2. ALISTAIR BROWNLEE, 21, Leeds, Yorkshire, GBR. A great argument can be made for naming this extraordinary young man the 2009 Male Triathlete of the Year. Only 21, he is already a
three-time World Champion--2006 Jr. World Champ, 2008 23U World Champ and 2009 Elite World Champion. In '09, "Al" was the dominant male force in ITU racing,
winning FIVE World Championship Series races--London, Kitzbuhel, Washington DC, Madrid and Gold Coast Worlds.

3. CRAIG ALEXANDER, 36, Cronulla, NSW, Australia. In October, "Crowie" won the Hawaiian Ironman World Championship for the 2nd consecutive year, joining Dave Scott, Mark Allen and Tim DeBoom as that storied event's male back-to-backers. Also justifying his position on this select list were his five major 70.3 victories --Geelong, Singapore, Hawaii, Boise and Muskoka.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


(Photo: American Tim O'Donnell had a breakout season in 2009.)

It's been an interesting year on the international pro tri scene. Many of the superstars of '08 and before, folks like Emma Snowsill (AUS), Vanessa Fernandez (POR), Simon Whitfield (CAN), Javier Gomez (ESP) and Rasmus Henning (DEN) had only occasional impact for a variety of reasons. Others raced well, though not quite as impressively as in prior seasons. Terenzo Bozzone (NZL), Greg Bennett (AUS) and Chris McCormack (AUS) come to mind.

The U.S. men, however, were very strong, despite the invisibility of Hunter Kemper. On our (MTN's) list of the Top 10 Male Triathletes of 2009 are three Americans. Only one women--Sarah Haskins--made our women's roster, though.

We've chosen to rank the Top 3 men and list the remaining seven in alphabetical order. Securing places four through ten are ITU star Courtney Atkinson (AUS), Xterra World Champ Eneko Llanos (ESP), long course superstar Chris McCormack (AUS), Long Course World Champ Tim O'Donnell (USA), Mr. Versatility Andy Potts (USA), Marino Vanhoenacker (BEL) and Patrick Vernay (NCL).

Coming next: The Big 3...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Minnesota's Jonathan Balabuck freely admits that he didn't, as they say, "apply himself" in high school. As if to underscore this, he explains this period in his life in written language that is syntactically and punctuation-challenged, i.e. stream-of-consciousness stuff:

"i was a high school reject. didn't go. all i thought i needed was a skateboard and blue skies overhead - dropped out in grade 13 and went to work in the construction. realized i need education and returned to adult learning centre to finish my degree. i was humbled yet it forced me to focus. this picture (above left) is a joke, the mustache is a fake and i borrowed the glasses from a guy in line next to me. i laugh when i see this because it looks so real. this picture in my circle of life is legendary. i love to have fun."

Did you follow that?

In the last decade, Jonathan Balabuck, fun-lover and hasty writer, has truly turned his life around. He is now highly educated, professionally accomplished, a loving husband and father and, as you'll see if you read his bio below, a man of incredibly varied tastes and abilities.

He is also a life-saver, having done so on several occasions as a firefighter and also as an organ donor. His mother has one of his kidneys.

Stuff about Jon:

>Occupation: Professional Firefighter

>Education: University- Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, ON. HBA Geography, minor in history and

Environmental science. Masters in Education, have yet to finish Thesis

>Favorite food: pizza

>Favorite books: racing the sunset, high crimes, into the wild, future of life

Favorite Movies: casino, good fellas,

> Favorite actors & actresses: vintage Al Pacino and

> Favorite TV shows: entourage

> Favorite Singers or Bands? Hendrix, Zepplin, Neil Young, Johnny Cash Old Metallica

, Iron Maiden, Wu-Tang, Dr.Dre, 50 cent,... yes this is the most eclectic music list known

> Favorite Songs? Hey Joe-hendrix, Over the hills and far away-zepplin, hurt-cash

> Your Perfect Meal: 1 fist imperial chicken burrito and lighthouse pale ale

> Favorite Restaurant: Burrito Union in Duluth: Imperial Chicken!

> Favorite Alcoholic Beverage: Beer

> Non-Tri Hobbies: playing Classical Piano,

> Favorite Pro Teams: edmonton oilers (hockey)

> Favorite College Teams: U of M because I used to race XC in University

> Heroes? graham obree

> Dream Vacation Destination? galapagos Island

> Winter Training? How do you train in the off-season?

I XC Ski lots and do a whack load of snowshoeing. I also play hockey.

And speaking of loving to have fun: What is invisible and smells like worms?

Give up?

Bird farts.


While surfing the cyberwaves recently for interesting news or stories we came upon Chad Austin's informative 2008 interview with Minnesota's most decorated female triathlete, Jan Guenther. As many of you know, Jan's favorite sport is NOT triathlon. It's nordic skiing and her credentials in that sport are every bit as impressive as her tri creds. READ


Who are the 2009 inductees into the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame? READ

Monday, December 21, 2009


Team Minnesota's Susan Williams either forgot to fill in and submit the questionnaire we sent to her, or she did and we lost it.

Probably the latter.

Truly perceptive people don't need a completed questionnaire in order to know a lot about a person. Seeing the person from afar and looking at pictures of them can sometimes reveal more than hours of conversation.

Do you buy that?

We didn't think so. Nevertheless, we're going to share our non-tri-related observations about Susan Williams. Who knows, some of this stuff may even be true.

OBSERVATION: Susan Williams is very tall. Somewhere between 5'10" and 6'5."

What does this

Well, it probably means that one or both of her parents are tall. It also suggests that she likes tall-girl stuff like runway modeling, University of Connecticut women's basketball, and Missy May-Treanor or Kerri Walsh, whichever is the taller one.

OBSERVATION: In the attached picture, Susan has a sweater tied around her neck.

What does this mean?

It means that she is "preppy" and has invariably spent a good deal of time on the East Coast, probably New Jersey. Being tall and preppy suggests that she is very smart and well educated. She probably attended a private college, like Princeton, which is in New Jersey, and studied biochemistry or runway modeling.

Also, as a person who is smart and has spent time on the East Coast, she probably enjoys the novels of Easterners Richard Russo and John Irving and has a soft-spot in her heart for vintage Simon & Garfunkel songs.

OBSERVATION: She has a beautiful smile and her teeth are white and straight.

What does this mean?

It means that she is happy, likes people, visits her dentist every six months and uses whitening strips.

OBSERVATION: She is 36-years-old. (We got this info from Lake Waconia results.)

What does this mean?

It means that she was born in 1972 or 1973. This means that she began to cultivate her taste in music in the early to mid-80s. Her favorite song was probably Tears for Fears' "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" from the album of the same name. As a person of German descent (Her maiden name is "Schaars." That's German, right?), she probably appreciated the hard-rockers from Hanover known as the Scorpions. It's a safe bet that "Rock You Like a Hurricane" is on her ipod.

OBSERVATION: Susan is not fat.

What does this mean?

She eats sensibly, which is what you'd expect from a statuesque Princeton alum who takes good care of her teeth. Probably eschews meat and is into organic stuff and vegetables that most of the rest of us couldn't identify, like kohlrabi.

She obviously does not consume junk food, though she will occasionally nibble some dark chocolate, probably Lindt's Extra Dark (85% cocao!). We all know that dark chocolate is "almost" health food.

Based on seeing her from afar and looking at her Facebook picture, we were able to glean the following about Susan Williams:

She's a very tall, un-fat, Princeton-educated, kohlrabi-and-dark-chocolate-eating, U-Conn women's basketball-loving Tears for Fears fan who never misses her dental appointments.

(NOTE: The frightening-looking round things in the bowl in one of the above pictures are kohlrabis.)

Sunday, December 20, 2009


By Kris Swarthout

The TriNordique Winter Triathlon can be summed up in one word, "Challenging," though the weather could not have been more perfect, with temps in the low to mid 20s and no wind.

Athletes were challenged by an anything-but-easy course of freshly groomed trails. many racers discovered that winter triathlon requires some different equipment and skills not associated with normal triathlon. Good spirits, guts and sheer will power carried athletes through the day.

The race staff was challenged with executing a first-time event. Lessons were learned and preparations for a modified/easier" and better-marked course are already in the works for next year

In the end a good time was had by most. Winter triathlon and Minnesota seem to be a perfect fit. The staff at TriNordique look forward to next year's event and showing off all the changes and improvements learned from this year's race.


(NOTE: TriNordique was staged at Elm Creek Park Reserve and consisted of a 7.6K run, 15K bike and 7.5K XC ski. The event also featured a kids duathlon.)

Saturday, December 19, 2009


For most folks, cottage cheese is one of the more overlookable items under the sneeze-guard at the local salad bar. Like garbanzo beans and beet strips.

It's not that most people hate the stuff. They rarely give it a second thought.

Team Minnesota's Marlo McGaver absolutely adores cottage cheese, or "curds & whey," as she sometimes refers to it. In fact, it is her favorite food. Marlo's "Perfect Meal" would consist of a peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwich (on "healthy" bread, you know, the kind with briars and brambles sticking out it) and a heaping bowl of the lumpy white stuff.

If the McGavers--Marlo and husband, Joe--invite you over for dinner, we recommend that you eat something beforehand.

Marlo's idea of a "great evening" would include sitting on one of her many antique tuffets, a bowl of curds and whey in her lap, in front of her 63" plasma, a DVD in the player. Her movies of choice would feature the madcap antics of Jim Carrey or Kevin James, or the somewhat more cerebral comedy of Steve Martin.

Marlo has seen "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" 37 times.

Confession time: While it's true that Marlo McGaver lists cottage cheese as one of her favorite foods, she probably does not refer to the stuff as "curds & whey," nor does she possess an antique tuffet collection. The Little Miss Muffet theme was our idea. We also have no idea what kind of TV she has or how many times she's watched "Mall Cop." (We do suspect that she's seen it at least twice.)

What we do know about Marlo is that she is kind and soft-spoken, a genuinely sweet person. She's also smart and well-read, but does not flaunt her erudition. If you have the opportunity to share a PB & J sandwich with her, or even a bowl of cottage cheese, we suggest that you take it.

You'll be glad you did.

Here's some other stuff you probably didn't know about Marlo:

Education: University of Wyoming, BS. Molecular Biology, BS. Pharmacy

F. Food:Currently cottage cheese,eggs,blueberries,yogurt

Books/authors: Elizabeth Berg, Life of Pi

Movies: Spanglish, Sideways

Actors: Jim Carey, Steve Martin, Ann Hathaway

Tv: King of Queens, Everybody Loves Raymond

Music: Black Eyed Peas

Junk Food: Homemade Chc. chip cookies, ice cream, pancakes

Perfect Meal: Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jam Sandwich

Non-Tri Hobbies: Hiking, playing with pets (dog and cats), tennis, reading

Pro Teams: Timberwolves

College Teams:Gophers, UMD Bulldogs, Wyoming

People I admi

re: My first cross country coach for being nice,encouraging, and driving me home/picking me up for practice; my parents

Dream Vacay: New Zealand

Winter Training/off-season: Gym work including plyometrics and circuit training; lots of running; cross country skiing, indoor biking.

Friday, December 18, 2009


Successful pro, David Thompson comments on Devon Palmer's decision to "go pro" in 2010:

If Devon wants to see what's it like to race against the fastest athletes in the sport, good for him. Devon turning pro won't have any effect on his local racing. He'll still be able to race the Midwest Multisport Series and others races in the area. Turning pro just gives him an opportunity to get into big races around the country like Escape from Alcatraz, Chicago, Dallas, and St Anthony's. It doesn't guarantee national sponsorship. The only thing that helps with that is podiums in "pro" or "elite" races. So, turning pro does open up that opportunity more than staying amateur because most industry sponsor don't pay attention to amatuer racing.


Press Release:

MINNEAPOLIS December 18, 2009 – Women fitness enthusiasts have one more reason to make their new year’s resolution about triathlons. The popular YWCA Women’s Triathlon will hold its third annual race at Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis, gaining the ability to open the race to more women. The past two years the race reached its cap and filled months in advance at its former Baker Park location in Maple Plain.

“The YWCA of
Minneapolis is thrilled to move the Women’s Triathlon to Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis. We loved Baker Park and the supportive environment and camaraderie that have set this race apart the past two years,” Paul Johnson, co-race director, explains. “We are confident that we will be able to preserve that special experience and continue to enhance the race by moving to Minneapolis.”

In addition to the move, there are plans to expand training and skill building opportunities to encourage more women to try the sport. “We pride ourselves on having unmatched race support to help beginners get into the sport and feel welcome and confident on race day,” says Johnson. “It remains our priority to make the sport of triathlon accessible to every woman who has ever wondered if she could become a triathlete.” Also new this year will be the addition of a competitive elite athlete wave and relay teams as well as new sustainability initiatives to make the race more green.

“This is the community that the YWCA of Minneapolis serves, and where we have been empowering women and girls for the past 118 years. We are excited to bring this race home and show off the beauty of the Minneapolis parks and Chain of Lakes area,” says Becky Roloff, President and CEO of the YWCA of Minneapolis.

The YWCA Women’s Triathlon is a sprint distance race with the new course including a 500 yard swim, 12-14 mile bike and 5K run. The race is co-directed by Johnson, a certified USA Triathlon Race Director and long-time endurance sports athlete and coach at the YWCA of Minneapolis, and Jan Guenther, one of Minnesota’s most distinguished female triathletes. Registration will open February 3, on National Girls and Women in Sports Day. For more information visit the race website and sign up for the race newsletter at


Press Release

Register early for the Manitou Sprint Triathlon and you will be entered into 5 monthly drawings.* Once you are registered for the race you are entered into every drawing until race day, so sign up right away! Race registration opens January 1st. Log onto for registration details and options.

* Register by February 1 - Entry into drawing for Trek Incite 8i Wireless Bike Computer

* Register by March 1 - Entry into drawing for Tifosi Sunglasses

* Register by April 1 - Entry into drawing for Bell Array Bike Helmet

* Register by May 1 - Entry into drawing for Zipp Gear Bag

* Register by June 1 - Entry into drawing for $200 Gift Card from Gear West Bike & Triathlon

Thursday, December 17, 2009


By Tom Segar

When I first started doing triathlons in 2002, I wondered what kept athletes motivated to train throughout the season. I worked with a guy who lived in Shakopee and did triathlons, so I asked him what motivated him to train and ra

ce all summer. His answer was that his goal at each race was to be the fastest triathlete from Shakopee.

Being new to triathlon and naive to the strong multisport culture in the Twin Cities, I thought his reasoning was brilliant. At the time I lived in Hopkins, which seemed the size of a postage stamp. I assumed I’d be the only triathlete in Hopkins, and being the fastest would be a piece of cake. I signed up for my first race, completed it, and later went online to check the results. Searching by the home city of the athletes and looking for Hopkins, the results scrolled down just a fraction of a page. I looked over hoping to see my name, but instead it said Brett Lovaas. I thought to myself, “Who’s Brett Lovaas and why does he have to live in Hopkins?”

Shrugging it off as a fluke, and focused on my next race. I trained hard, had a better race and looked at the results again. And again the results scrolled down a quarter inch, not good news since my name should have been about half-way down the page. Brett Lovaas. Who was this guy?

In my mind I created his image. He was tall, lean but muscular. Chestnut-brown skin from hours of training in the sun. Dark brown eyes my wife could get lost in, and a mane of long brown hair that billowed behind him when he ran, glistening in the sunlight. I had visions of my daughters growing up with the last name Lovaas, since my wife was sure to leave me for him. How could I blame her? I’d have dumped me for him too.

Knowing nothing about the Midwest triathlon scene back then, I decided for my third and final race of the season that if I couldn’t beat him, I’d sign up for a race somewhere far away- like in Duluth. It was the Brewhouse Triathlon and it had two great reasons for me to participate. First, I firmly believed (and still believe) any race that has anything to do with beer has got to be outstanding. And second, there was no way Brett Lovaas would drive all the way to Duluth for a triathlon. Finally my chance to go back to work and tell everyone I was the fastest triathlete in Hopkins. But just to be safe, I told my wife to stay home.

Same story- I finished the race, checked the results, Brett Lovaas.

I don’t use the word ‘Hate’ lightly. The list of people I hate is very short and basically consists of Voldimort and Osama Bin Ladin. Even Darth Vader had his charms- Vader loved his kid, and he simply wanted to spend time with Luke. But yes, I was starting to hate Brett Lovaas. He probably had a cool nickname too, like Brett “Da Bomb” Lovaas. You know what my nickname was in high school? Nothing. I didn’t have one. Along with Drama Club and Cross Country Skiing, I played the tuba in high school. Trust me, that trio is not the recipe for high school coolness. I’ve been a dork for a long time.

So with my first Tri season finally over, although I failed at my goal, at least I could stop thinking about it. That fall my daughter was old enough for swimming lessons and we signed her up at a facility in St. Louis Park. On the first night I brought her to lessons, while I was waiting for her to finish, I looked at the bulletin board with all the swim teachers’ names and pictures. And right in the middle, there he was. Brett Lovaas. I was shocked. One look at his picture, and it was clear that he was not the tri-stud I had been expecting. The guy in the picture was not gorgeous. He did not have chestnut brown skin, did not look tall and lean. And he did not have an amazing head of brown hair. In fact he looked short, he had very little hair, and he had a quirky, if not nerdy smile. And the nickname on the picture was “Wet” Brett Lovaas. “Wet” is not a nickname, it’s an adjective. Which I bet he knew, because Brett Lovaas looked like me, looked like my friends, like my teammates- Brett looked like a beautiful, wonderful dork.

A few years later I signed up for the 2005 Lake Minnetonka triathlon, and Brett won it, I believe this was his first outright win. In his acceptance speech, he thanked everybody he could think of. His wife, his kids, his parents, the racers, the volunteers, and he specifically thanked the guy on the motorcycle leading him while Brett was winning on the bike. It was a wonderful acceptance speech with the kind of appreciation only a nerd could have. Instead of sticking that win down the throats of all the bullies who surely shoved him around when we has a kid, he was kind, generous and appreciative. Brett got a huge trophy and I was sincerely happy for him.

Lastly, in 2007 Brett won a very special People’s Choice award at the Midwest Multisport Award Banquet. It was at that point that I knew Brett and I were at the same level of the Nerd food chain. Because anyone who wins an award for peeing in his wetsuit has got to be as big a sissy as I am.


Gear West Press Release

On Monday, December 21, Paul Phillips of Competitive Image will be photographing Sarah Haskins for an upcoming cover of Triathlete magazine at Gear West Bike & Triathlon. As most of you know, Sarah had a phenomenal season highlighted locally with a win at the Minneapolis Lifetime Fitness Triathlon and as the overall LFT Toyota Cup Series Champion.

After the shoot both Sarah and Triathlete magazine editor Brad Culp will stick around for an informal gathering to talk a little about themselves, reflect on the past season and get us all looking forward to the season ahead.

This is a freebie event. Hope everyone will venture out to Gear West at 6pm and welcome both Sarah & Brad and show off our outstanding local triathlon community.


America's premier female triathlete, her competitive highlights include:


1st @ Life Time Fitness - Minneapolis & Chicago
2nd @ Los Angeles & Toyota US Open
4th @ ITU World Championships - Gold Coast, AUS


1st @ St. Anthony's & Miami International
2nd @ ITU World Championships - Vancouver, US Olympic Trials, Life Time Fitness - Minneapolis, US Elite Championships & Dallas US Open
11th @ Beijing Olympic Triathlon


1st @ Toyota US Open & Great Colorado Elite Championship
2nd @ St. Anthony's, Honolulu, Vancouver World Cup, Pan Am Championships, Boulder Peak & Treasure Island

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


(Photo: Erik & Julie Hull)

When she was six, perennial Team Minnesota member Julie Hull was told by her family's quasi-competent physician that she suffered from Pernicious Zygomatic Peristalsis.

PZP is a very rare genetic disorder wherein all 12 facial muscles associated with smiling, especially the zygomaticus major and minor, are permanently frozen. Muscle relaxants are uniformly ineffective.

The afflicted patient cannot not smile.

It is true, Julie Hull smiles all the time. Her husband Erik claims that she even "smiles in her sleep."

But Julie's former family physician was WRONG! She does not suffer from PZP.

How do we know this?

PZP sufferers are unable to eat with their mouths closed. (Don't you hate it when people chew with their mouths open?) Anyone who has ever supped or snacked with Julie, who is a paragon of etiquette and good manners, knows that she DOES NOT chew with her mouth open.

Why then, does Julie Hull smile all the time?

The truth is, she, for lack of a better word, "suffers" from a condition called CHS: Chronic Happiness Syndrome. This affliction is as rare as PZP, but unlike Pernicious Zygomatic Peristalsis, it is treatable with heavy doses of television news, cynicism training and migraine-inducing medication. Ms. Hull has refused these therapies, opting instead to embrace her symptoms, which include loving life and people (and flora and fauna, too), finding the "fun" in anything, and unforced laughter. She unresistingly allows things in her life to make her happy.

Here are some of the things, including umbrella drinks and Shania Twain songs, that make Julie Hull smile:

Occupation: Sr account executive at Metro Sales (Comment: She LOVES her job!)

College? Where? Degrees? Winona state, MN; BS in marketing (Comment: She had soooooo much fun in college!)

Favorite food: tough call I'm pretty diverse, but has to take under 30 min to prep for and be healthy :) (She LOVES being healthy!)

Favorite books: not a big reader, but "it's not about the bike" by lance Armstrong was a great one. (Julie is not really into punctuation and syntax.)

Favorite Movies: three amigos, Shaw shank redemption I'm sure there are others and I'm at a loss, oh you've got mail, Forrest Gump

Favorite actors & actresses: Harrison ford, meg ryan, tom hanks (She wouldn't dump Erik for Harrison or Tom.)

Favorite TV shows: 24 & biggest loser (She likes Keifer, too. And former fatties.)

Favorite Singers or Bands? U2, van halen, Shania twain

Favorite Songs? About anything that I can run to.... 88-92bpm

Favorite Junk Food: after a hard workout: chips and homemade guac, m&m's (She sometimes gets pieces of M&M shells lodged in her chronically exposed teeth.)

Your Perfect Meal: with erik and/or friends

Favorite Restaurant: oh so many... this simple: quizno's, chipotle, big apple bagels. Serrano's in mesa, AZ.

Favorite Alcoholic Beverage: screwdriver, 70.3 runner, rum runner, about anything that would have vodka mixed with something fruity (but not too sweet) served with an umbrella or decorative fruit... perhaps in a pineapple

Non-Tri Hobbies: fun travel, yard stuff (perennial and veggie gardens)

Favorite Pro Teams: oh I better say the Chicago bears

Dream Vacation Destination? Australia with Erik with no time objectives.

Winter Training? How do you train in the off-season? Keep the schedule flexible, social and fun... try new things. going to a spin class tonight for the first time in years. Did Free Running a couple weeks ago, played tennis in AZ with tri buddies.


Press Release

On Saturday, December 19th, Trinona will launch its 2010 TV Campaign during NBC's broadcast of the 2009 Ironman World Championships, airing 3:30pm - 5pm. The 30-second spots profile two local athletes, David Thompson and Jeremy Sartain, who have built their reputations and stellar multi-sport resumes by battling anyone - and anything - that has stood in their way. They both embody the spirit of Trinona's "Battle for the Bluff," which both athletes are scheduled to compete in next June in Winona. The race features one of Bicycling Magazine's Top 100 Climbs in the U.S. The fastest competitors will receive the coveted "King of the Bluffs" Jersey.

The TV spots were produced with the help of some of the best creative talents in the Minneapolis marketing/production community, including Director, Rich Dreher... Editor, Brian Klein... Concept & Design by Initio Advertising... Sound Design by Echo Boys... Finishing by Crash & Sues... Voice Over by Bud Baechler... along with the help of many others. Spots will be available for viewing online following the airing on Saturday. A couple of stills have been provided. Check out <> for more info in the coming weeks.

PS - For a sneak peek of the TV spots, visit Trinona's Facebook page.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Coming...another installment of "Going Off Course with a Member of Team Minnesota"...


Dr. Josh Sandell was recently selected as a member of the medical staff for the XXI Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Dr. Sandell will serve as a chiropractor on the multidisciplinary Sports Medicine team, including neurosurgeons, primary care physicians and athletic trainers, providing an integrated approach of care for Team USA at the Performance Service Center. The 2010 Winter Olympic Games dates are February 12th – 28th while Dr. Sandell’s assignment date is February 3rd – March 4th. While there, Dr. Sandell’s primary duties will be to provide care to the Team USA athletes during practice sessions in Olympic village, other training facilities, and during the Olympic events. CONTINUED:

Numerous triathletes, including such elite-level performers as Kevin O'Connor, Jeremy Sartain and Becky Burdick, have received world class treatment from Dr. Sandell and his staff at the Spine & Sports Institute. Here is what a couple of prominent triathletes had to say:

I was referred to Spine and Sports Institute because I was not getting the help from other areas of the medical field to completely recover from an IT band problem. Within 30 minutes of my first visit I knew I had found the doctor that would finally help me. Dr. Sandell was able to give me an explanation of why my IT band was so tight and inflamed as well as explain what the treatment would be. With my treatments and rehab exercises I was finally back to competing and competing well. - Michelle Carlson (Ironman triathlete & former Manitou Sprint Race Director)

Throughout my years in competitive racing at various levels of ability, I have encountered several setbacks and injuries. .... Throughout my personal appointments and referrals I have made to Spine and Sports Institute, I have experienced nothing less than the best. This is a high-level treatment office, which focuses on fast recovery and the best result for the patient. - Michael Williams (Three-time Minnesota Junior of the Year)

Monday, December 14, 2009


From Press Release:

MAPLE GROVE, MN – DEC. 14, Dare to Dream Events, LLC introduces the newest Minnesota triathlon held in Maple Grove, MN - neighboring city to Triathlete Magazine’s “Top 30 TRI Town,” Plymouth, MN--on August 28, 2010.

Home to Maple Grove’s first triathlon, Weaver Lake Park boasts 80-acres of event space ideal for visiting competitors, spectators, and race sponsors. Over 500 elite, avid and amateur triathletes are anticipated to make the inaugural event roster and compete in the event’s Sprint or Olympic distances.

Beginning in Weaver Lake at 7:30 AM for a .4 or .9 mile swim, athletes will make a swift transition to the bike which allows for scenic views of the Maple Grove, Plymouth and Corcoran landscape over 14 or 26 mile distances. Rounding out the triathletes’ endurance is a 3.3 or 6.6 mile run around Weaver Lake, ending in the heart of the park before enthusiastic spectators.

Designed to offer the most accessible multi-sport event catered to the ultimate triathlon utopia, all athletes will enjoy the highest level of event management in a safe and enjoyable competitive environment. Features like a convenient participant drop-off, shuttle buses for spectators, and skilled volunteers at every corner plus more, establish the Maple Grove Triathlon as one not to be missed in 2010!

Registration is currently available online through Register now through March 31 for $75. Complete race details, schedule of events, frequently asked questions and more can be found on the Maple Grove Triathlon website at

“Athletes, we applaud your participation in this test of not only your swimming, cycling, and running skills, but also your endurance and strength. We know that many hours will go into training for this one day. Spectators, you are invited to cheer on the competitors, support them throughout the race, and provide hearty applause for each and every one crossing the finish line,” Maple Grove Mayor, Mark Steffenson.

Event Producers Lindsey Kurhajetz and Jeanette Neumann are active members of the Maple Grove community and are committed to helping local organizations remain active too. A portion of all event proceeds will be donated to further the sustainability of such organizations.