While there is something to be said for a 100-mile course that does one giant loop, having a course that does three laps of a shorter course instead of one giant one has its advantages.
Held on the Big M cross country ski trails, the Lumberjack is unique relative to other NUE series races due to the fact that it is run on a shorter loop that not only gives racers a chance to return to the pit area twice to refuel — leveling the playing field between those who have pit support and those who don’t — but also allows racers to really learn the course.
It also makes preriding the entire course a much more feasible option for those traveling to the race than a 100-mile loop would be.
The majority of the course is non-technical singletrack and a handful of dirt roads and double track thrown in to connect sections of trail. Because of the three lap format and relatively fast trails, the Lumberjack is an attainable goal for someone’s first 100 mile race.
Don’t be fooled though, while the course isn’t excessively rocky and the elevation gain isn’t that of some of the other NUE races, there are still a good number of climbs that are described by Plite as “short, steep, and punchy.”
And in the end, a 100 miles is a 100 miles and that makes for a long day on the bike.
The lack of long climbs also means that there are no sustained descents during which to recover, and thus the race favors a rider who can stay steady on the gas for seven to ten hours, since there are very few places to coast and recover on the course.