Lutsen 99er grows from 80 to almost 1,700 participants in six years


Lynn Nelson | LIN Public Relations, Inc.                                                                  Katie Krantz | Visit Cook County

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Lutsen 99er grows from 80 to almost 1,700 participants in six years

Register now for Cook County’s largest and most challenging mountain bike race of the year June 24-26, 2016


Lutsen, Minn. – June 14, 2016 – Over 1,700 mountain bikers are expected to compete in the Lutsen 99er Mountain Bike Race on Saturday, June 25, 2016 at Lutsen Mountains.  The race known for its 99-mile, mountainous course is now in its sixth year and has a few added perks, including a new 69-mile course and becoming a qualifying race for the notorious Leadville Trail 100 MTB (mountain bike race) in Colorado this August.


For an event to grow from 80 to 1,700 participants in six years is somewhat of a phenomenon. 99er Brand Manager Peter Spencer attributes the event’s incredible popularity to the welcoming spirit of the area, family friendly atmosphere of the event, along with an increasing appreciation for the natural challenges and beauty of the North Shore.


The Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper named the Lutsen 99er the “Best mountain bike race” in the “Best of Minnesota 2016: Recreation” category on April 15, 2016.  See the article here:

The 99er started in 2011 with less than 100 participants. By 2013, there were 800 riders, with participants from over 20 states. And it’s grown to an expected 1,700 riders this year. The growth can also be attributed to Visit Cook County, the destinations marketing arm of the Northeast corner of Minn.

“Cook County has over 2,000 miles of potential rides – from the paved Gitchi Gami State Trail, winding along the Lake Superior shore, to white-knuckle single track, to endless backcountry roads threading the Superior National Forest,” says Linda Kratt, executive director for Visit Cook County.  “Biking in Cook County is a ride that is unforgettable.”

“Spectators will witness some of the best endurance athletes from across the country at the Lutsen 99er.  The riders train hard and long, knowing that they will be climbing to the finish,” says Spencer.


We very excited about a couple of new race features, he added. “The Lutsen 99er will be matching rider contributions up to $10,000 to build and maintain trails at Lutsen Mountains – thanks to our presenting partner Blueprint for Athletes, a company that provides diagnostics for athletes.  And Batteries Plus is providing a finish line bike valet to provide secure post-race storage.”


Lutsen 99er is family-friendly

The Lutsen 99-er offers a 99-mile course that will challenge the more experienced mountain bikers and now three shorter distance courses: a 69er, a 39er and 19er for beginner and intermediate riders on Saturday, June 25, as well as free kids’ races the morning of Sunday, June 26.  All race events start and end at Lutsen Mountains.  Click on this link for a course map and spectator access points:

All participants in each distance/category compete for the coveted Lutsen99er axe award, which is presented to the top finishers of the race during an awards ceremony outside Papa Charlie’s at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.  Prior year race results are available at  Post-race activities will begin around 9 p.m. at Papa Charlie’s, and will include live music, beer, food and FUN!

Sponsors of the 2016 Lutsen 99er

The race depends on the generous support of their 150 volunteers and sponsors: Visit Cook County, Blueprint for Athletes, Fulton Brewing Company, Cascade Vacation Rentals, Subaru, Erik’s Bike Shop, GU Energy, Specialized, Twin Six, Fika Coffee, Chippewa Spring Water, Transamerica, Maple Grove Cycling, Heartwood Conference Center and Retreat, Smith Optics, Fruit Share, Batteries +Bulbs, Stages Cycling, Voler Premium Cycling Apparel, Sign Language XL, Papa Charlie’s, Superior Cycling Association, IMBA, Life Time Construction and Life Time Fitness.

Previous Lutsen99ers Video Link

To get a sense of what’s in store for the 2016 race, check out these video clips from previous events:

About Visit Cook County

Cook County, Minn. includes the communities of Lutsen, Tofte, Schroeder, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail and Grand Portage. Last spring, Grand Marais was named the 2015 Coolest Small Town in America by Budget Travel, thanks to a social media voting contest. Visit Cook County inspires guests to rekindle their sense of adventure by boldly escaping the ordinary, from Minnesota’s tallest mountains to its greatest lakeshore. Download the Visit Cook County app in the Google Play or iTunes App store to gain quick access to the events calendar, places to eat, stay, and play right at your fingertips. Stay in touch via, Twitter @CookCoVisitors or Facebook.