Lutsen 99er advice

Hello - I am doing my first lutsen 99er this weekend and am hoping for some insights from people who have done it before.

I often see it compared to the heck of the north (northern MN gravel race for those unfamiliar). I have done the heck of the north once and don’t remember hardly anyone on a mountain bike. A few folks on fat tire bikes, but very limited mountain bikes.

For lutsen 99er, people say it can be done on a gravel bike, but it would be a long day - implying they would not recommend it (despite being compared to the HOTN)

Why the discrepancy? Specifically, why is it compared to a race largely done on gravel bikes, but people imply it would not be a good idea to do it on a gravel bike? Does the Lutsen 99er have a much higher proportion of the really rough stuff you find on the heck of the north route? Is it the little bit of single track at the end?

It would also be super helpful if anyone knows how much of it is on smooth-ish gravel. Even a ball park would be awesome!

thanks in advance

Coming from a roadie/triathlete that’s never properly mountain biked…but I have hiked in and around Lutsen quite a bit. The terrain is definitely a lot more gnarly than any gravel road in MN.

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