News & Stories

2016 UCare Tri-Loppet Race Recap


It was a hot and humid day for the 11th annual UCare Tri-Loppet. Hundreds of paddlers, runners and mountain bikers of all ages, backgrounds and ability levels came out for the paddle-run-mountain bike event. Nearly 350 individuals and 47 relay teams competed in this year’s UCare Tri-Loppet!

Earlier in the week it looked like thunder and lightning were going to greet us in the morning, however the day started rain-free, clear and very warm. It was also a very windy morning, which turned out to be a factor for paddlers’ water starts on Lake Calhoun. The head-wind was strong for first half of the Lake Calhoun paddle, but once passing the second buoy the wind was at everyone’s backs and working in everyone’s favor for the rest of the course. Paddle Course Director, Andy Turnbull of Hoigaard’s made the decision to cut straight to Cedar Lake instead of going between the islands on Lake of the Isles due to the high winds. From there, the paddle stayed course through Cedar Lake and onto Brownie Lake.

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Surly Gives A Damn volunteers greeted participants at the end of their paddle at Brownie Lake and hauled everyone’s boats away while also supplying much needed water hydration after the 7k paddle. From Brownie Lake runners headed over the 394 bridge and into the single track of the Quaking Bog and Eloise Butler Trails in Theodore Wirth Park.

Before transitioning from the run to bike, participants were able to grab some water and energy from Tri-Loppet title sponsor volunteers from UCare. Many participants by this point were dumping cups of water over themselves to try and cool down before starting the final leg of the day.

The mountain bike course took participants on a great tour through the trails of Theodore Wirth Park and finished at the Loppet Adventure Camp location right next to Wirth Beach. Loppet Race Director, Mike Erickson noted that there were some tricky spots on the bike course that they had to start raking mid-event because of the amount of loose gravel, but overall most things went great on-course.

Friends, family and relay team members greeted participants as they crossed the finish line. Also greeting participants in the finish area was a fun and festive post-event party. Great music was played by The Radio Strike, brats and hot dogs were prepared by Tollefson’s Food Truck and cold beer was poured thanks to Surly Brewing Co. KIND Snacks and UCare also joined in on the fun with snacks and games for all.

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Individual Results

A $1,700 cash purse was at stake in this year’s Tri-Loppet. $500 for the top male and top female individual General Boat competitors, $250 for second, and $100 for third.

Matt Liebsch of Orono finished in first place for the second straight year with a time of 1:33:19. Brian Gregg of Minneapolis crossed the line in second place at 1:35:47 and Jonah Lidberg of Anoka came in third at 1:36:27. Matt said he was lucky and thankful that he was in the back of his canoe for the paddle portion of the race as his boatmate kept digging deep in the waves caused by the winds and Matt kept getting a refreshing splash of water to the face! During the run and bike he said that the sunny sections of trail were tough due to the heat.

Josie Nelson of Medicine Lake crossed the line first for ladies for the third year with a time of 1:47:35. Jan Guenther of Long Lake came in second place for women at 1:49:54 and Karen Bebchuk of Minneapolis rounded out the top three with a time of 1:53:46.

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Race Boat Results

Just two men competed with race boats in this year’s UCare Tri-Loppet. Daniel Luoma of Minneapolis came in top for the second year with a time of 1:25:33, while Rick Lorenzen of Maple Grove finished in second place at 1:59:12.

Paddle Board Results

New for 2016 was a Stand Up Paddle Board division. This category had it’s own start 15 minutes after the main field, and took a shortcut straight to the Lake Street Bridge from North Beach so that they could compete throughout the race with the main field of racers.

In the inaugural first year of the category, Charles Donly came in first at 1:43:57, John Grabowski took second with a time of 2:09:10, and Scott Wilkins rounded out the top three at 2:18:30. All men’s finishers were from Minneapolis.

For ladies, Beth Wicklund of Minneapolis finished strong in first place with a time of 2:13:54, Jen Koehler also of Minneapolis came in second at 2:20:03, and Denise Fernandes of Eden Prairie finished in third with a time of 2:25:47. Denise chose to take part in this year’s Tri-Loppet because of the separate paddle board category with its own start. She was very happy that she participated even though she thought the course was very challenging!

Relay Team Results

47 total relay teams competed in this year’s UCare Tri-Loppet. 13 mixed relays, 7 men’s relays, 4 women’s relays, 15 family relays, and 8 corporate relays. Relay teams could be made up of 2, 3 or 4 team members.

For the Mixed Relay team Tri-ing Hard (Nick Galle, Kira Stolen, Andy Gilbertson, Katie Schaaf) took first with a combined time of 1:51:26, Team Tank (Steven Fuglestad, Beth Tank, Jay Obenauer, Rose Lindberg-Maingi) came in second in 1:56:50, and East-West (Travis Green, Hilary Patzer) finished in third place with a time of 1:58:21.

In the Men’s Relay category, Los Chasquis (Adam Birr, Jared Brandell-Douglas) finished in first at 1:54:00, Cyclone Brewers (Jonathan Rixen, Scott Poska) came in second at 1:59:45, and Where’s the beer? (Dave Raatz, Wade Wiken, Kevin Vander Velden, Peter Schroeder) came in third place in 2:21:17.

Fiwygin Outdoors (Erika Lee, Asha Shoffner) took first places for the Women’s Relay category in 2:22:22. Livick Loppeters (Barb Livick, Linda Evert, Christine Killian) came in second at 2:27:48, and Nye Girls Can Do Anything!! (Sarah Pitts, Lori Bolt, Eleanor Pitts) finished in third in 2:38:03.

The Corporate Relay category, sponsored by True North Consultants, awarded the top team a True North Adventure Academy session! GEAR WEST (Kari Henry, Dana Henry, Cory Towle, Mike Stearns) won that prize with a time of 1:32:43. Brooks Brothers (Lee Monson, Mitch Talbot) came in second with a time of 2:18:44, and Worst Pace Scenario (Joseph Glaccum, Guysumu Johnson, Erik Fredrick, Michael Melby) finished in third for the Corporate Relay with a time of 2:26:11.

The Family Relay, sponsored by Minnesota Parent Magazine, saw a very close race! Team Schmitty (Steve Schmitt, Stephen Schmitt, Erik Schmitt, Patrik Schmitt) came in first place in 2:00:29, One More Tri (Wayne Birkholz, Samir Dioury, Ali Dioury) came in second at 2:01:01, and When Pigs Fly (Jim Young, Kathy Steinberger, Ian Young, Katherine Ingram) finished in third in 2:03:36.

Thank Yous

On such a hot day, the Loppet Foundation is very thankful for the volunteers who supported the Tri-Loppet. From finish and bike corral set-up to course marshals to water stop volunteers, each and every role was so very important and appreciated. Volunteer Coordinator Nancy Nelson noted that close to 200 volunteers came out to make the UCare Tri-Loppet a success!

Thank you to all our participants and spectators. Your support at this year’s UCare Tri-Loppet was fantastic. And thank you to all of our sponsors for their continued support – UCare, North Memorial Health Care, Subaru, GO 96.3, Surly Brewing Co., Hoigaard’s, Gear West, KIND Snacks, Minnesota Parent, True North Consultants, Wheel Fun Boat Rentals, Penn Cycle & Fitness, Bachman’s, Bearskin Lodge, Great Harvest Bread Co., and CHUX Print.

2016 UCare Tri-Loppet Event Coverage: