Brewhouse Triathlon

The Brewhouse Triathlon is it’s 24th year, and has come to be one of the “classics” of Minnesota Triathlon, and is one of my favorite races.    I wanted to ask Brewhouse creator and race director Rod Raymond a little bit about the race and what makes it special.

CW: Where did the name Brewhouse come from?

RR: From the Brewhouse Brewery and Grill here in Duluth.  Because I knew so many drinkers with a triathlon problem, I thought the association would be great.

CW: What’s the water temperature of Pike Lake?    How clean is the lake?

RR: The temp ave is 70ish. Several years ago all the houses surrounding the lake were put on the city sewer system…and the lake is Spring fed. It is one of the cleanest lakes around.   BTW. When i watch the start of the race i can always tell who is peeing in their wet suit.  They are the ones that aren’t moving and are squatting down in knee deep water. The good news is you can’t see the blue cloud around their crotch.

(editors note:  I will typically swim out past the first buoy, let my legs go limp and pee while I’m still pulling.    This way no one is the wiser.)

Pike Lake is one of those lakes where you can actually see more than 2 feet in the water, so make sure you bring your nice goggles.

CW: In your eye’s what makes the Brewhouse Triathlon unique?

RR: It’s a small town race w/ a big time feel. We get great athletes from around the US.. and Duluth is such a kick ass place to visit.  For example, this year the Brewhouse Tri is the same weekend as the Tall Ships festival.  So you can rock out a great work out at the race, then take family down to the canal to watch these huge ships come in.  Great for all of you that race every weekend and have to justify hauling the fam damily around.  “Hey honey, let’s bring the kids to the Tall Ships Fest in Duluth Aug 1st.”  Honey responds:  “You are such a great dad. Way to put the kids first.”   You say..”Thanks honey. We will go down there after the race.”  She says:  “What  #$%@&  race?” You say… ” There will be free turkey dogs and Brewhouse root beer for the kids.”  “you are a great dad!”  : )

A section of the Brewhouse bike course.... kidding! It's really not that bad:)

CW: Are there any uniquely challenging parts of the race course?

RR: Everyone seems to think the bike course is really bumpy.  I bike out there all the time. While the shoulder is a bit shady for a few miles, there is a smooth line you can take in this section.

The transition area is really fun w/ all the screaming fans and support. I just love watching the locals looking at all the space aged athletes in their backwords Woody the Wood Pecker helmets and fancy schmancy bikes…

CW: Tell me about the new RootBeer Kids Tri

RR: In an effort to get kids going, we added the Rootbeer kids Tri on Saturday Night b/4 Brewhouse.  It’s so cute you can’t stand it.  Encourage kids to either do this or come watch it. If they watch it, they will want to do it next year.  And, all kids get a rootbeer float after the race

How many participants compete in the long and short course?

RR: We have 300-350 in short course every year and 250-300 in long course.  We usually get 15 teams.

We expect 100 kids to participate in the kids race.

CW: If you could plan a weekend family getaway  based around the Brewhouse Triathlon, what would be included in the itinerary?

RR: Arrive on Friday. Bike the course, go for a dip, easy jog w/ the family.  Then head downtown.  You can eat at the Burrito Union (14th ave e. and 4th st)  for cheap and big eats or head to downtown to one of Duluth’s great restaurants.

Saturday head to canal and take in the Tall Ships Festival.  There is really nothing like this in the world.  Old ships, vendors, lots of people, good fun.  Free.

Saturday at 4pm pick up packet and watch kids race at PIKE Lake (not caribou lake like last year).  Cheer the kids on.

Sunday after the race, golf 9 holes on Pike Lake Golf Course.  Great course and you are right there.

The view from outside Burrito Union
Watching the Tall Ships sail in is quite the sight.

CW: Along the same lines, what’s the best place to stay in Duluth?

RR: You need to do this quickly. or  The good news is the race starts at 8:30 am.  If you can’t find a place up by the Miller Hill Mall/ PIke Lake area, you could easily stay in the outskirts of town and easily make the race on time.

CW: What are a couple memorable and/or funny moments from the past 23 years of Brewhouse?

RR: Perennial triathlete Matt Evans has done all 23 Brewhouse’s and will compete in his 24th.   Not too many can say that in the US.

Having you (Curt) and David Thompson do the race the past years has been great.

Seeing members of my Tri Team improve each and every year and consistently medal in their age groups.

The most memorable was 14 years ago when an weather inversion occurred and a fog cloud dropped on the lake. You couldn’t see your hand in front of your face.  I actually raced it this year.  All you could hear was:  “anybody out here?  which way do I go?  sssssharrkkkk!”

Another memorable Brewhouse moment was David Thompson's collapse at the line in 2008 due to a bum knee. He limped the last mile and still won the race.

For more info and registration for Brewhouse check out the website here @

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