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.