The Lutsen 99er

This was my first time doing Lutsen and my wife Tasha decided to come along.  We made it into a vacation weekend.  For most of the gravel events I’ve done this spring, I’ve slept in my tent.  This weekend was at Blufin Bay.  A real bed!!  We headed out on Friday and made it up the North Shore by late afternoon.  I picked up my packet and we had a nice evening.

We tried to get there early the next morning, but the traffic was backed up.  After finding a place to park I headed up to the start line with my drop bag.  The corral was full and I worked my way to the back thinking this was the spot for drop bags.  Nope.  Up front.  Crap!!  I hurried back to the front as they were announcing one minute for drop bags.  I made it.  Whew!!  We took off with an escort that led us out for about 10 miles on pavement.  The last 5 miles of this had a nice climb. 

We hit the trail and came to the first mud crossing.  Some people were walking the bikes and others were riding through it.  I decided to go right through it.  The fats did a great job for stability.  My feet got wet and I thought, well at least I got that over with. In another hour, keeping the feet dry would no longer be a concern.(Heh heh)  I was bouncing around a bit on the rocks of the double track and knew at some point I would need to lower my tire pressure.   At mile 23 it started to thunder and lightning.  Everyone on the trail began to cheer.  This was going to be a good time!!  I checked the weather earlier that morning and thought we were in the clear.  At mile 27, it started to rain and then it was a downpour for an hour or more.  What a blast!!  The 9 zero 7 was handling the mud great.  I was checking the rear derailleur periodically to make sure it wasn’t clogging up.  The temp was warm enough, so the rain wasn’t an issue.  If it had been 40 degrees that would have been another story. 

It was a nice mix of double track and forest roads.  The scenery was gorgeous and I worked my way through the miles.  There were quite a few flats happening and a lot of those were fats.  I was glad to be running tubeless.  I was also amazed at all the water bottles that were on the course that bounced out of their holders.  I discovered at the drop bag point, my seat bag had unbuckled and my bag of tailwind fell out.  I also realized some of my Clif bars had flew out of my feed bag.  Luckily, the aid stations were well stocked and there were plenty of calories available.   

At around mile 75, I heard a loud noise from my back tire and thought for sure I flatted.  The rider next to me thought the same thing.  Thank goodness I didn’t because I wasn’t carrying a spare tube.  I didn’t have a lot of spare room in my seat bag so decided to skip it.  Lesson learned.  I made a couple quick stops at the aid stations at mile 80 and 90.  Tasha was cheering me on for the final climb to the finish and I made it!!

I had a couple beers afterwards, chatted with a few folks, had the bike rinsed off and rode it to the van giving me another mile to make it 100 for the cup o dirt!!  It was a great weekend and I can’t wait to do it again!!”

Ryan H.


Cup O'Dirt Admin

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