I usually have one good race in April, before things fall apart and I whine until October about how I'm sick and injured (at which point I start planning for the next year). Looking at the results from the Superior 100, the two races most often done in preparation by top finishers are the Trail Mix 50K and Voyageur 50 Mile. Trail Mix is a good preparatory April race - and the current header photo of this blog is me winning the thing in 2008 - but I'm wavering as to whether I should do it.
The race schedule for April goes:
April 3 Ron Daws 25K
April 9-10 Zumbro 100 Mile
April 17 Trail Mix 50K
April 24 Chippewa Moraine 50K
April 30 Race for the Lakez (Brainerd) Marathon [or Get In Gear 10K]
Daws is cheap, shorter than the others and mostly road. Zumbro is way too long and expensive. The Brainerd Marathon is too far away, but would allow me to go head-to-head with Chris Hanson, who always does Superior. Chippewa is hit-and-miss; Sea Legs Girl and Fast Bastard say they will be there, and I see Helen Lavin and Val LaRosa signed up (it's a cheap race if you sign up 9 months early!) - it's a decent course, but it just isn't one of my favorites; if I did well or not, it wouldn't tell me anything about my conditioning.
That leaves Trail Mix. It would give me a good idea of what shape I'm in, but that in itself worries me, because I know I'm way behind where I want to be and I'll spend the year obsessively trying to quantitate just what the results mean. Finishing an hour behind Brian Peterson or Chris Lundstrom would be deflating, when I've won the stupid thing three years ago. And there's just no way I can whip myself into racing shape by then without sacrificing the rest of the year.
Add to that the fact that I simply can't afford to waste money on races I can't hope to do well in this year and it looks like no racing for me this spring. Perhaps I'll pace someone at Zumbro.