Off to the races: Lutsen 99er takes place on June 23 & 24
Lutsen 99er

Off to the races: Lutsen 99er takes place on June 23 & 24

The Lutsen 99er returns to the North Shore this weekend with a slightly new look and feel. The annual 99-mile course and 69-, 49-, and 25-mile options will commence from the Superior National Golf Course this year rather than Lutsen Ski Resort. 

“We’re pretty excited,” the Lutsen 99er race director Peter Spencer said. He added Superior National Golf Course has been “super welcoming.”

Due to construction at Lutsen Ski Resort, the Superior National Golf Course was approved as a venue in April by the Economic Development Authority

Spencer said the race would be paced, with the 99er racers in the first wave, followed by two-minute increments for the following racers. Racers will depart from Superior National Golf Course and make their way through single-track and backroads until returning to the golf course.

The public is advised to expect increased traffic on Hwy 61 starting at 2 p.m. on Friday, June 23, as participants arrive to check-in and explore the grounds. Festivities kick off on Friday evening, with registration, live music, food, drinks, and a special event at North Shore Winery starting at 3 p.m.

The North Shore Winery welcomes the Lutsen 99er racing community, Cook County residents and all visitors to an event introducing and highlighting Cook County’s own Will Surbaugh, who will be competing in the Lutsen 99er on Saturday.

Fresh off competitive performances in The Midsouth Gravel (Stillwater, Oklahoma), The Sea Otter Classic (Monterey, California), The Rule of Three (Bentonville, Arkansas) and a second place finish in The Le Grand Du Nord (Grand Marais, Minnesota), Will is set to compete in this year’s highly anticipated Lutsen 99er mountain bike competition. Will grew up in Cook County, is a graduate of Cook County High School, and is now competing at a world class level in mountain and gravel bike racing competitions nationally.

The North Shore Winery will host an event of Friday to honor Will, who will take the main stage at 6:30 at the Winery for an interview with Kris Swarthout, who is the announcer for the 99er weekend and a nationally known coach of top performing athletes. The North Shore Winery will introduce and serve Sap Tapper’s Blend, a maple syrup seltzer blended with Will Surbaugh’s involvement.  Free root beer will be provided to kids.  A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Sap Tappers Blend in 2023 go directly to support Will’s racing program.

The official race will commence at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 24. Temporary delays on Hwy 61 will take place between 7:25-8 a.m.

Additionally, part of the Onion River Road, north of the Oberg Mountain Trailhead, will be closed from approximately 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

Should weather or wet conditions require use of alternate course route, all of the Onion River Road would be closed. Riders would cross Highway 61 from the Onion River Road on the alternate route, however, Highway 61 would not be closed. State Patrol would make periodic stops, working to keep bike and vehicle traffic moving. There will also be heavy bike traffic along the Caribou Trail early in the morning as well as Cascade River Road and Bally Creek Road from about 8:15 a.m. until about 1 p.m. These roads remain open but drivers are advised to watch for bikers.

Find the course and spectator map, and more information here.

WTIP’s Mark Abrahamson spoke with Peter Spencer, the Lutsen 99er race director about the upcoming event this weekend. Audio below.