Lumberjack 100 course vs other XC courses in Michigan

Hi all, I’m a longtime gravel/road racer. Have aways ridden XC bike just for fun. Signed up for Lumberjack on a whim and now wondering what I’m in for. The distance doesn’t worry me too much (have done several 12 hour races in past, regularly do a 5-7 hour training ride) but I am wondering how much the race is fitness vs. technical skill. i don’t spend much time on my XC bike. This year I’ve maybe done 4 MTB rides. Have done a few 5 hour days on my XC bike, but on dirt roads. Train 15-18 hours/week on road/gravel bike. W/kg was 4.2 last time I tested it. Have good endurance. For those who know trails in Michigan, I regularly ride Highland and Pontiac Lake. I do Pontiac lake around 41 min or so…nothing too spectacular.

Any thoughts on whether Lumberjack is getting in over my head? I certainly don’t want to hold everybody else up trying to navigate technical features. Should I stick to the gravel roads?
Also, assuming I do race it, any tips on pacing a MTB event like this. Worth shooting for 70% IF or so?

Much appreciation in advance for any help or thoughts.

I should add, I’ve asked about this generally before and gotten helpful info. I’m really trying to decide whether to race or to focus on some of my gravel events coming up in next month. Thanks!

I’d say the Big M trails are very low on the scale of technical riding. I believe the interior trails were built before modern MTB specific trail design. So the descents tend to point straight down instead of switch backs. That can get dicey because there is often a sand pit at the bottom of each descent and you could be going really fast.

Sand might be the toughest thing to navigate. There are a lot of corners over the 100 miles, so holding your speed through them will help save energy for later in the race.

I still enjoy riding there for the wooded rustic feel of the trails. I have have done three Lumberjacks and it’s a very well run race.

I think your fitness will make this race set up well for you. Can you get up to ride some of the course before the race?

Good Luck

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I agree with @Harrisoncj13 assessment. This will be my third Lumberjack this year. I’m about your same fitness @GreenHornet1 and I’d expect to go sub 8 hours if it’s dry.

Course is going clockwise this year. If you’re bored on the trainer, I have my clockwise direction Lumberjack from 2018.


Many thanks. As it happens, I have watched this video and found it really helpful. I enjoy all your videos, actually. For me there are places I ride so they make sense. I guess my concern is that while we may have similar numbers (I suspect your stronger), you also race a lot of XC…I do a lot of road and gravel, so I am concerned that I’ll be trucking along at some painfully slow pace struggling to get around the course. Though, sounds like this is closer to dirt road speed than Pontiac Lake single track.

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Course is 3 laps. So first lap should feel too slow. Second lap should feel about right, getting more exhausting but doable. Third lap sucks for everybody but its the last lap, so just get started before your mind tells you its a bad idea. If you can manage, I’d spend very little time in the pits, 1-2 mins tops.

One glance at this thread title and this is stuck in my head. Thanks a lot :rofl: Monty Python - Lumberjack Song - YouTube

HA. My apologies, but if it helps your post just put song in my head.

It sent me down a you tube rabbit hole: the Spam skit, the Spanish Inquisition, Killer Rabbit, Dead Parrot etc etc. An hour of my life I’ll never get back :rofl: