The Cohutta 100 course is known as one of the easier courses on the NUE series, if there is such a thing as an easy 100 mile mountain bike course, especially in April. Consisting of approximately 35% singletrack and 65% fire road, there is nothing excessively technical on the course, making it ideal for someone’s first 100-mile race. Still, there is plenty of climbing — 14,000 feet worth — both on fire roads and on singletrack, making the course plenty challenging for beginners and veterans alike.
In 2012, race organizers have changed up parts of the course by adding more singletrack. According to 2009 race winner Carey Lowery, one of the race deciding climbs will be up Potato Patch. With the changes in the course this year, racers will have the opportunity to see this nine-mile climb from both directions and Lowery believes that this section of the course will be a major influence on the outcome of the race.
The Cohutta course also funnels into singletrack relatively early making a fast start essential for anyone not wanting to get caught up in traffic. The two-mile paved climb serves to separate the field to a degree but traffic on the course is still a concern once the field hits the trail.
Lowery also points to the last piece of singletrack off of Thunder Mountain as a place to watch. While only a mile and a half long, the descent is “rocky and challenging” and a small mistake could land a rider and their bike 30 feet off the side of the trail.