Friday, 8 March 2013

Chairman's choice April 2013

One for the diary. The fourth running of Raphas 'Hell Of The North' on April 7th. It's a ride that pays homage to that Queen of the classics the  Paris - Roubaix. Held over a distance of what is listed as 100kms, but more like 80kms, it passes through twenty sections or sectors of very rough road and gravel tracks; that's  the homage bit to the  unrelenting Paris - Roubaix pavé. Rapha call these sections gravé.
Whilst this sounds a bit hardcore, it is actually without a doubt the most fun and chilled bike ride I've ever done.
However and this is a big however. This ride is restricted to 300 riders, and it fills up within an hour, it's also a bit hush hush! But read on. The official start is near Highgate North London, were official entrants sign on and get their route card. The route goes north through the lanes of Hertfordshire and Essex before finishing at a pub in Barnet. Where upon the handing in of your route card you are given free beer and frites, and invited to watch the PR live on the pubs flat screen.
That's the official ride, here's what I and my group of fellow riders have done the past two years.
Instead of starting in Pond Square, we park up at a free car park in Barnet and wait in Barnet on the A1 until the first few riders start to come through, then jump in.
The route is waymarked, not in the usual way, but instead with bright pink 'R's on the road at the turns, so you have to keep'em peeled. The ride is on quiet lanes....mostly, but it takes you onto some rough stuff that'll test your inner tubes and finesse. Though I guarantee you'll be beaming.
Even though I don't sign on I manage to blag my beer and frites at the end every time, with the old 'I've dropped my card' routine. Well you do see them scattered all of the place anyway.
I've ridden all the Hell Of The Norths so far, and the weather has been kind. Obviously if it turned biblical it would be a different story. This year sadly I won't be riding as I'm actually over the water watching the actual race in the flesh, but if anyone want's further details just speak up. Click onto the linky for an insight into the ride.

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