Recovering From The Lutsen 99er and Preparing For The Maah Daah Hey 100

I am preparing for the Maah Daah Hey 100 that is less than one week away and I have started my taper down.  I should be in a bit better shape for Maah Daah Hey than I was for the Lutsen 99er and slightly less fatigued.  Even though the Lutsen 99er had some rugged ATV / Snowmobile trails, there was quite a bit of gravel grinding at high speeds.  From what I understand, the Maah Daah Hey 100 is all single track and very rugged terrain.  There is over 10,000 ft of climbing and it doesn’t come all at once either.  Looking at the profile maps, there appears to be many climbs between 200 and 400 feet.  We’ll either be going up or down and riding over rugged terrain while doing so.

I plan to get out there a couple days early and maybe ride a couple small sections of the trail to see what I am in for.  I have been looking at last years times and recognize a few of the names from other races and trying to figure out what type of goals that I should set for myself.  I am still so early in my fitness levels, compared to where I want to be. Yet, so much better than where I was at 1 year ago, that I struggle a bit to set good challenging but realistic goals.  I have definitely improved my fitness levels past the point of just participating in these large events and feel that I am in the middle of a transition of going from a mid pack age group racer to a competitive age group racer.

After the Lutsen 99er, I had to take a few days completely off to recuperate as I was sick going into the race and between the race and being sick, I was on the couch for a couple of days until I could beat the cold.  My legs felt good, which I will attribute to my stretching regiment and nutrition before and after training and racing, but my cold was kicking my tail and I just could not get recovered from it like I wanted.  I was getting impatient and wanted to start my last bit of training and build up again for the Maah Daah Hey 100.

So after 4 days of being on the couch, I finally got back out for a road ride to stretch the legs.  My cold was still there a bit, but I just couldn’t stand it anymore and was getting antsy.  We left for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan the next day, where I got a couple short trail rides in and was still fighting the cold.  One side note about the trail rides, I did take a pretty good spill and was very glad I was wearing a helmet.  I smacked my head on the ground pretty hard.  A good reminder to ride with a helmet.

After getting back from the UP, I started riding hard again on Tuesday, the second week after the Lutsen.  That tuesday, I went out on a nice longer distance road ride and hammered up every rolling hill I could find in a big gear on my way to a big climb out of Taylors Fall, Minnesota where I knew I could test the status of my leg strength and I crushed my previous pace up that hill.  Yes, there is a Strava segment on this hill and for good reason…  It’s a beast of a climb.  I know there are a folks out there that are not big Strava fans, but I will tell you that it has been a great tool for me to continuouly test myself and I have gotten stronger and faster because of it.

The very next day, I joined a group ride out of St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin that CyclovaXC puts on.  This is a great ride.  It’s a “no drop sprint ride” and they have 6 sprint segments set up that probably average a mile in length with a mix of flat sprints and some big climbs.  It is a fantastic training ride for somebody trying to build speed and strength.  Plus, nobody gets dropped.  We gather back up after each sprint, so it is a great ride for all riding ability levels.

For week 2 and 3 after the Lutsen, I got in just over 150 miles per week.  Then, I was coming up to the 2 weeks prior to Maah Daah Hey 100.  I finished that week 3 training session off with a 25 mile road Time Trial race.  I don’t have a TT bike, but there is a stock class that I can compete in.  This was the last of my heavy training.  Part of me wanted to do the Wednesday night Farm Dog Time Trial and also do the Birchwood Henderson Road Race, but I was feeling the fatigue levels building up in my body and the Maah Daah Hey 100 was my A race and big focus.

So here I am trying to rest, but still maintain my fitness.  This is an area that I am still learning, how to taper down.  I have taken 2 days off this week, aside from moving about 4,000 lbs of landscaping bricks on one of those off days, which I am paying for today…  I did get my trainer out yesterday for an easy training spin with a few sprints just to keep the legs loose.  I will get a light ride or 2 in between now and arriving in North Dakota.  Once in North Dakota, I plan to go for a few pre-rides on the Maah Daah Hey to see what I am getting myself into and do a couple last shake downs on the bike.

This all brings me to another point.  About a month ago, I came across the Fitness & Fatigue graph on Strava.  At first, I didn’t want to put a lot of stock in it, but as I reviewed my Fitness & Fatigue graph over the past year, it all seemed to line up very well with how I remember performing and feeling for various races and / or rides.  I have been watching it lately and actually using it to adjust my training and start my taper down for the Maah Daah Hey 100.  The deeper I get into this training and the higher my fitness levels get, the more I can see the importance of monitoring heart rate and analyzing the data that is there.  I might even look into a power meter next year.

Ok, so back to the Maah Daah Hey 100 again…  I finished working out what I am putting in my drop bags today and my nutrition / feed plan for the race.  I really plan to finish no later than a couple hours before dark and if things go really well, it will be well before dark.  I have a 12 hour target and there is this 10 hour time that is nagging me in the back of my head.  I just don’t know what I am getting into and 10 hours seems to be a bit aggressive for where I am at today, but the thoughts are there.  Only race day will tell.  I have set up a chart with splits for each aid station, using race times from 8 hours all the way to 16 hours.  As I come through the first aid station, I will begin to get an idea of the pace that I can hold.

I hear that the race starts out with a bit of a steep climb that starts to separate people out.  I am confident in my climbing abilities at this point and do not intend to lay back on the climb by any means.  I will press up it as swift as I can and as always watch the heart rate.  I can usually push the heart rate into the mid 160s and still keep myself out of trouble.  Some of the key things I have been learning is to be careful about spiking it.  I can ease into it and inch it up there with control and get more speed and power without blowing up than I could if I jump on the hammer fast.

Video of what I will take for food, pack in my Camelback and in my drop bags…

Here is what I plan to carry with me right from the start line…

On the bike:

  • Garmin Edge 510 mounted to stem
  • 4 Honey Stinger Energy Gels taped to my bike’s top tube
  • 20 oz water bottle with NUUN Electrolyte tablet and water.  I plan to refill at each aid station.  I’ll start the morning off with the just the Electrolyte tablet and switch to the NUUN Energy Electrolyte with caffeine at mile 50.  I tend to sweat out a lot of salt and have had good luck with adding some electrolytes.

In my CamelBak Lobo:

preparing for the maah daah hey

  • 100 oz water bladder
  • spare tube
  • patch kit
  • hand pump
  • 2 CO2 Cartridges
  • 2 Sram chain power locks
  • Topeak Multi-tool
  • Spare Derailer Hanger
  • Zip Ties
  • Electrical Tape
  • Phone
  • Spare Socks

Jersey Pockets

  • 2 Honey Stinger Energy Bars
  • 2 Honey Stinger Energy Chews
  • 2 Honey Stinger Waffles
  • 2 Homemade Rice Crispie Bars

Here is what I will leave in my drop bags…

Aid Station #2 (50 miles)

I plan to leave the start line with enough food to get to Aid Station #2 where I will have all my food for the second half of the race.  The food is the only thing I plan to need from the drop bag.

preparing for the maah daah hey

  • Spare Tube
  • 2 CO2 Cartridges
  • Spare Socks
  • Spare Gloves
  • Spare Jersey
  • Spare Brake Pads
  • 2 oz Bottle of Stans
  • 2 Honey Stinger Energy Bars
  • 2 Honey Stinger Energy Chews
  • 2Honey Stinger Waffles
  • 2 Homemade Rice Crispie Bars

Aid Station #3 (75 miles)

I don’t intend to need anything out of this drop bag.  If all goes to plan, I will just refill my water and keep moving.

preparing for the maah daah hey

  • Lights
  • Spare Tube
  • Spare Socks
  • 2 Honey Stinger Energy Bars
  • 2 Honey Stinger Energy Chews
  • 2Honey Stinger Waffles
  • 2 Homemade Rice Crispie Bars

Hopefully that is helpful to anybody else working on their drop bag and race plan.  I found it very helpful to lay everything out and plan out exactly what I was going to eat.  I am a bit more relaxed about the race now and feel really good about heading out there and giving it my all.

Keep an eye on my Twitter account Saturday as my wife may post up links to some live video feed of me coming through the race checkpoints along with some live feed race morning and at the finish.


  1. mike halverson on July 27, 2015 at 11:28 am

    Good luck Steve! Looking forward to reading the race report. Be safe.

    • Steve Hamlin on July 27, 2015 at 1:44 pm

      Thanks Mike. Should be a good one…

  2. Ben Welnak on July 28, 2015 at 11:54 am

    Good luck Steve. See you out there!

    • Steve Hamlin on July 29, 2015 at 3:15 pm

      Good luck as well Ben!

  3. Zach on July 28, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    I recommend bringing some toilet paper. Its light and you never know whats going to happen. 12 hours is long. Good Luck! See you out there everyone!

    • Steve Hamlin on July 29, 2015 at 3:14 pm

      Good call Zach. Never even thought about it. If somebody shows up at the finish without gloves, I guess we know what happened…

  4. gus on July 28, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    suggest having a light on you before aid station 3, just in case. see you soon buddy!

    • Steve Hamlin on July 29, 2015 at 3:13 pm

      Probably a good idea. Good luck on Saturday Gus.

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