On Sunday our highly-anticipated Hell of the North ride took place. With glorious spring weather and a 200+ turn out, we knew there was some fun to be had.
Setting off from Highgate, up the A1000 and into the Hertfordshire lanes, the route then took in varying types of ‘off-road’ sections that made this different to your average Sunday club run. Route cards were distributed at the start and pink way-markers were provided, but it still took some exploration to latch on to the precise route (all part of the enjoyment).
Whilst there were plenty of undulating lanes with smooth tarmac and rolling green pastures, the 20 sectors of gravé we laid out made sure everyone’s bike handling and power was tested. Across pothole-ridden dirt roads, down under-passes, through quagmires and streams, to almost impossible-to-ride farm tracks, everyone got stuck in (some more than others).
It was great to see plenty out on road bikes, some opting for slick 23’s with 120 psi. Others donned cross bikes, hybrids and even full-suspension! From roadies with carbon, traditional steel frames ridden in woollen tights, to mountain-bikers in their baggies, a spectrum of riders joined in on a brilliant day out.
The finish at the Black Horse pub in Barnet was swamped by crowds of cyclists to watch Paris-Roubaix 2010 whilst enjoying beer and frites. Bikes were washed in the back yard as their tired but happy owners relaxed in the front garden. Of course, somewhat predictably, Mr. Cancellara romped to victory in super-human style to claim the actual Hell of the North and leave the rest in the dust.
Thanks to everyone who rode and helped in the organisation and running of the event.
Please keep an eye out for further Rapha rides and screenings this summer at Rapha Cycle Club, including each stage of the Giro and the Tour de France.
View the full Flickr set of the Rapha Hell of the North.
Photos © Andrew Diprose
View John Mulineaux’s write up and helmet-cam videos at LondonCycleSport.
Read David Arthur’s account of the ride at RoadCyclingUK.
And here is a great video documenting Paris-Roubaix 2010, sourced by our man in New Amsterdam, Slate Olson: