Sunday morning saw Rapha host their ode to Paris-Roubaix with their aptly titled ‘Hell Of The North’ ride. Over 65 miles out into deepest darkest north London, on bridleways, gravel tracks and unfortunately thick deep mud also!
Rapha laid out a great route, with undulating descents, a few small climbs and lots of fun gravel tracks (I had the wu-tang gravel pit in my head the whole ride, until my spaz of a friend but heaven 17 in my head instead.... thanks James!).
Managing to escape a puncture or mechanical, the only issue I had was on the deep mud tracks, I found myself unable to clip into my Speedplay pedals as the cleat became clogged with mud and general bullshit.... nothing a thirty minute stop whilst i fished out all the crap with a selections of twigs couldn’t sort, although my mood did darken as I rode about 2-3 miles resting on the pedals! haha.
The turnout was fantastic, all kinds of riders out for a takeover on the streets (although it has to be said, there were a couple of riders and you know who you are, who rode like absolute t*ts..... not the best behaviour in heavy traffic I must say! Jumping red lights on a day like today will not garner you many friends)
We got lost so many times, but that was all part and parcel of the day and the experience, I really couldn’t moan about that when it was such a glorious day outside (the ubiquitous t-shirt tanline has reared its head once again!)
Once we arrived at the pub, Belgian beer was given out along with a continental-wrapped bag of frites for the weary amongst the peloton. Having taken a really fun beating on some of the sections, the cushioned barstools were amazing as a throng of cyclists settled in to watch the swiss train ‘leave the station’
Id like to thank Rapha and all its staff for putting on such a cool day, it was really well organised, every detail down to the sign on, route card, beer and frites and the secure bike parking (complete with jet was, needed after the crap my frame was clogged with!) Also at the feed station, free inner tubes were distributed along with liquids and bananas for those early to get there. I sincerely hope they run more of these days... great stuff.
Below is the garmin data, although the sped and GPS behaved extremely erratic when under covered sections of the ride.... so take some sections with a pinch of salt etc. None of our group sustained a puncture except the only guy to ride on a CX bike... go figure!
All that remains for me to say is “BRING ON THE H-O-T-N 2011” !
Additional pictures from the day can be found over on the Condor Cycles blog at > http://blog.condorcycles.com/2010/04/hell-of-north-ride.html and Raphas Flickr stream > http://www.flickr.com/photos/raphacc/sets/72157623840070730/