Ontario's Hell of the North - April 16

I know Paris to Ancaster is on most peoples radar, but there are other spring classics around the province. Our very own version of Hell of the North put on by Ed Veal is coming up April 16.

Seeing the following article in Cycling Magazine reminded me of the years I’ve made the drive, usually with Kevin G, to attend this wonderful and punishing race.

It’s my favorite spring race in Ontario. The off road sections are tough and very different year to year depending on the weather. I remember biking through muddy/wet sectors one year and another everything was a sheet of snow and ice…errr one year it was mostly ice.

A number of other club members have participated and could likely talk about their experience. It’s much more of a “race” feel than something like P2A. You start off on the road behind a lead out car just like a road race, and the pace is in the high 30s until the inevitable right hand turn into a painfully steep but fairly short climb that blows the race up for the first time. Then it’s a farmers lane, road, gravel, climbing, “the trench”, more climbing and some fairly fast/technical sectors that will test your legs and bike handling skills.

I highly recommend giving it a try if you want a challenge and a new adventure.

Register here.
Online registration closes Wednesday April 12th at 23:59 Unfortunately there will be no day-of registration.

Oh, and for those of you that don’t like biking through technical off road sectors (what’s wrong with you?!) there’s a 70km Heck of the North that is road bike friendly. This route skips the sectors and sticks to paved and gravel roads.



I’m thinking of doing this, especially since I didn’t get registered for P2A before registration closed :woman_facepalming:t3:

Do it!

A few words of advice.

  1. The route has signage on it, and some volunteers at the off road sectors, but it’s easy to miss turns. This happens every year, sometime to the lead group! Use a gps unit with navigation, or make a cue sheet and tape it to your stem. I used to use a cue sheet with the direction of a turn and the distance from the start.
  2. There’s a right turn onto Kennedy Rd at 15.8 km in. After you turn the road kicks up and it’s a short steep climb. Be well positioned and carry speed around the corner if you can.
  3. Have fun, it’s a blast and there’s always good competition. This event attracts some top talent from the road/cx scene.
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I remembered two more things, or points in the race that are easy to get wrong and end up off course.

  1. The right turn into “The Trench”, a 10km trail, is super easy to fly by. The couple hundred meters before it is a slight downhill and you’re flying. This turn is at km 41.1 and is sharper than 90 degrees and enters a narrow trail. You’ll be on the brakes hard and will want to swing as wide as you can and traffic allows.

  2. The other is a trail entrance at km 75.6. It’s a right onto O’Beirn Rd and almost an immediate left into the woods. It’s easy to miss. Many a rider have gone past the trail entrance and down O’Brein way too far.

I’ll leave the character of each off road sector as an unknown, because it’s more fun that way but…here’s the route.