It looks like P2A is starting to open up pre-registration for this year’s event for the deferred entries from 2020. The big news for this year is that they’re adding a 100k distance over the previous 70k longest distance. I deferred entry for the 70k distance, but I am considering the 100k. It looks like the 70k starts in Cambridge now and the 100k starts at the Paris Fairgrounds, so hopefully both of them avoid the high-speed start onto the narrow rail trail.
The shorter distances should all have the classic Mineral Springs mud chute and the Old Martin Road climb to the finish so they’re fun and memorable. The 40k was my first bike race back in 2016 and this event has always been a favourite.
I guess they’re trying to keep up with the times with the more standard 100k gravel race. There seems to be only one 100k wave, but I didn’t see what rider limit is capped at. I might stick with the 70k because I like the fast long-cyclocross race style, but we’ll see. Either way, all distances converge in a beautiful place to ride.
Not done it before (but always wanted to). I should be in decent shape come April but I have no urge to go hard, just want to experience it. Thinking of doing the 45km rather than the 70km. The 45km seems to have all the “fun” bits with maybe a little less pressure. Am I correct in my assumptions?
The 45km has lots of fun bits, but the extra 30km is fun too. If you are referring to the mudslides, then yes.
The 45km starts a bit later. Just outside St. George the 70 and 45 merge. The later riders in wave 3 and 4 from the 70 merge with the 45 at this point. This makes the course busier in certain spots such as the mudslides. Just be prepared for some longer delays or slow downs in places.
There are definitely some features I like on the first 30km of the 70 including the climb as you leave the Cambridge-Paris rail trail. It is moderately steep, the gravel is loose with some bigger rocks, and many can’t make it up so you need to navigate around riders getting off their bikes. Riding all the way up is a little victory. I also like the trail and drop right at the aforementioned merge just outside St. George.
The experience is what makes this event so special for me,
Everyone is so happy to welcome spring with some outside riding.
It is almost a continuous ribbon of riders for the entire race (at least for the non-elites).
It seems the terrain/surface is different around every corner.
All distances are fun, it is just the longer the distance, the more the fun. Enjoy!
@MarkR , there are waves for the 100 km. Elite, w1, w2, w3, w4. Elite wave is not capped, but you have to have finished top 150 men or top 20 women in 2019.
Wave 1 thru 3 are each capped at 325 riders, with wave 1 requiring you have either a race license, or top 400 of the 2019 race.
Yeah, after much soul-searching I decided on the 70k version, wave 1. 70k is a fun distance where you can push fairly hard and not have to worry as much about eating and running out of water/stopping at rest stops. There should be plenty of longer races later in the season.
I’m curious about the 100k route since early in the pandemic when I was flagged down by a guy who lived on a gravel road north of Paris who said he knew Tim Farrar from racing crits in Ontario in the '80s. After the requisite talk about “we used to ride gravel on 23mm tires”, he said he was going to talk to Tim about taking the race west of Paris, so I’m really curious to see where it goes (and whether this random guy I met had anything to do with it ), and I’ll see about the 100k for next year.
Looks like 70k wave 2 is now full. Considering either 45k Wave 1 or 70k Wave 3. Given I don’t ride much gravel, how technical is it? I think fitness wise I should be fine to do the 70k just don’t want to be white knuckling it the whole way! I did manage to ridr the hydrocut last year on my gravel bike without dying (thanks @Steven_Stillaway!).
I note in the FAQ the organizers recommend the 45k for first timers. Anyone else doing the 45k?
Most of the race isn’t very technical, but the more technical parts are usually muddy. It’s mostly gravel and rail trail and some paved roads, but at intervals it goes through a few different off-road sectors that can be through a wood lot or a farmer’s field. Since it’s early in the season the snow melt can leave these sections muddy if not boggy, so that’s something to be aware of. Of course, running (or I guess walking ) these sections is always possible and often not much slower. The 45k still has the Mineral Springs mudslide (that quite a fair number of people do walk/run/slide down) and the climb to the finish so it has the character of the event, and if you feel that you need more distance, you can always ride back to the start.