This amazing race opens with a lactic-acid-inducing 5-mile, 1,000-foot climb. From there it’s into the wild, with dirt, slippery weeds and hidden rocks challenging riders. Bogs, single-track loops and densely forested trails showcase some of northern Minnesota’s most scenic terrain, with quality aid stations and helpful volunteers scattered throughout. It’s not all lone biker vs. the wilderness: Portions of the course follow logging roads where riders can group up, open some conversations and make new friends. A final uphill section drains whatever power riders have left before they can indulge in the finish-line party. June 24-26, Lutsen, Minn.; lutsen99er.com

Best of Minnesota 2016

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