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Ready Or Not – Lutsen 99er Is Here

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Picture from the night before last year’s Lutsen 99er

I may be writing this article a bit late, as the Lutsen 99er is only a couple days away.  Whether you are ready or not, the race is here and you have a few days to get your head in it.  As for me, I have been sick the last few days and hoping to feel better before race day.  That being said, I am in much better physical condition than I was for the race last year.  My goals are much more aggressive as well.

Last year I finished in 9:12, which probably would equate to a 9:30 finish if the last 3 miles would not have been excluded.  This year, I must finish under 8:00 and my real goal is to finish under 7:00.  It is a big step from last year, but I feel like I am capable.  I am not sure that I am physically conditioned to finish under 7:00 and it will take some massive will power to reach that goal.  In my head, I really do believe I can pull it off.  The mind has some amazing power when it comes to endurance racing.

Finishing under 7 hours for me is a huge step from where I was last year, but it is just a transition step.  Finishing under 7 hours will prove to me mentally that I have what it takes to hang with some really fast guys.  It is really a bit of a mental game for me, from a confidence stand point that I can build heavily on.  I just need to get it right in my head that I can do it.  Each race I do, I feel better and finish better.  Each one is just a building block to the next level for me.

There is a big part of me, that wants to go out of the gate and just see how long I can hang with some of the lead pack.  I know that could turn out to be a big risk and I could just blow myself up with 50 or 60 miles left to go in the race.  I am still balancing in my head whether to race safe and smart or get risky.  I tend to lean toward risk, but I have burned myself in the past by racing this way.

I blew up big time last year at the Keweenaw Chain Drive Festival by going to hard right from the get go.  If I would have just backed off a little bit, I would have finished much better.  Instead, I just kept pushing and eventually blew up  and lost a lot of time and a ton of positions in just the last few miles.  That being said, I am in much better physical condition than I was last year.  Last year, I had no business taking big risks.

If all goes well, I’ll be feeling better by race day and leave everything I have out on the trail.  I was hoping to feel better when I woke up this morning and go for a road ride to keep the legs loose, but that was not the case.  I got restless this afternoon and went for a short ride anyways that went ok.  With a couple good nights of rest, maybe I will be back to 100% by Saturday.  I hope to see you out there.  If you recognize me, please say hi.  Best of luck to all and leave everything you’ve got out on the trail.

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