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LUTSEN - High above the shores of Lake Superior, you'll find a bike
race featuring steep climbs and scenic routes.
Sounds like a nice Sunday stroll, that is until you find out it's a 99–mile stroll.
"This is the long, painful, joyful ride and that's what
we like. We're junkies of pain," said Rolando Aguilera, a racer from
The Lutsen 99er is a relatively new event, just in its
second year, but the challenging race has quickly brought in riders by the
"I really wanted something different from road biking
where you can kind of zone out and go fast. In mountain biking you really have
to be paying attention. There are a lot more technical aspects to it,"
said Holly Solberg, of Elk River.
For those looking for something a little shorter, there's
also a 39–mile course. But, whether you choose the 99 or 39 mile route, keeping
yourself focused is a must.
"They'll have a point in the race where they hit the
wall and whether that's mile 60, mile 80 or mile 90, mentally getting through
that is always the tough part," said Adam Harju, race director for the
Solberg said, "The key is to stay ahead of your nutrition,
not getting dehydrated, making sure I'm taking in electrolytes, carbohydrates
and some proteins."
In a day and age where winning takes precedent, the Lutsen
99er instead praises passion and commitment to the sport.
"We'll try to stay together but I told him if he feels
like he can fly go ahead and get it. I'll take my time and finish," said
"I know it's going to be really hard. I heard it's
pretty muddy out there so I'm expecting to get pretty dirty but just wanting to
try and finish under the 11 hour cutoff time," said Solberg.
Harju said, "It's the physical challenge, it's the
community and it's the greater spectrum of the spectators. There's so much
adrenaline and it's just a fun experience."