The genesis of the Kuparisaari Triathlon

Kuparisaari Triathlon

Bob Haase and his wife, Jan, started the Copperman Triathlon in Copper Harbor in 1992 and have since passed along these duties to other organizations. He decided to do his first triathlon at the age of 31 after watching the Ironman (Hawaii) on TV. His most memorable race is the Bud Light USTS Chicago Triathlon in 1986, where he got Dave Scott’s autograph and chatted with him after the race.

Megan is a graduate student with a running problem. She found her love for endurance sports in the heart of the Keweenaw, where she now lives with her boyfriend, Adam, and cat, Abbie. You can follow Megan on Twitter.

Some artists can visualize their finished sculpture in a block of raw granite. I think that I can visualize a triathlon race course in a particular setting. Well, okay, that may not be true, but some places just cry out for a race, don’t they?

In 1992 my wife, Jan, and I saw the possibility of staging a triathlon in Copper Harbor. We made the mistake of telling someone that “Copper Harbor would be the perfect place for a triathlon,” and the next thing you knew, we were putting on the Copperman, an Olympic-length race in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula.

We put on the race for several years and then passed the race on to someone new. Last year the race sold out under the new management. A few years ago, I started to see the possibility of staging a long-course race in the Keweenaw. This past summer I made the mistake of telling someone, and guess what? The race is on!

The ”someone” I told was Megan Killian. We were at the Liberty Triathlon and I was talking about my favorite subject, what I was calling the Copperman Half. My idea was to put on a half iron distance race using the same venue as the Copperman, maybe even on the same weekend. Megan was very interested, but I didn’t really expect anything to happen. Then I got this email in August. “Hey Bob, it’s Megan. Did you really want to put on a race?”

Since then, Megan and I (but mostly Megan) have been busy. We agreed on staging the race in Lac LaBelle instead of Copper Harbor, especially after I saw the State marina and dock in Lac LaBelle. It is absolutely the perfect place to put a transition area. And then the rest of the course just fell into place.

I don’t know about you, but I REALLY like loops for biking! From the transition area, there is a 56-mile loop on smooth paved roads with very little traffic. The first twenty-five miles are fairly flat, so don’t forget to HAMMER! Then there is about a four hundred-foot climb to wake you up. From then on it’s a rolling course until the last SCREAMING downhill. Be grateful that the bike course travels clockwise, or you’d be climbing this Category 3 climb instead of rocketing down it to the transition.

Expect a challenging run. With so much two-track in the area, racers are bound to end up with some extraordinary views of Lake Superior, not necessarily at lakeshore level. We’re finalizing the course, and it may include surrounding scenic outlooks that offer potentially breathtaking (both from beauty and effort) such as Bear Bluff and Mount Houghton. The run will also include some of Lake Superior shore on one of the prettiest sand beaches in the world.

Feel free to just give ‘er, as we say in up here in da UP, hey!


Stay tuned for more! Bob and Megan will be launching a Web site and blog for the triathlon. But if you plan on racing, it’s never too early to start training, which is why we wanted to help get the word out early. Follow Megan on Twitter for additional updates.

This guest blog post was written by Bobb Haase and came my way via Megan Killian. The knob in the photo is called Bare Bluff, which is part of the course.