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Hell of the North 2
PHOTOS: Gavin Campbell | WORDS: Joe Hall
Rapha’s second edition of the Hell of the North took place on Sunday 10th April. Beneath heavenly blue skies 250 plus riders (many of them just having toiled up the hill that leads to the north London enclave of Highgate) signed-on at the peaceful Pond Square before heading up the A1000 into the Hertfordshire lanes.
Not your typical road-ride, the scenery varied from potholed bridleways amongst abandoned farmhouses, gravel-laden tracks and hard-packed mud paths through woodlands to subterranean tunnels and motorway footbridges. The course involves both road, cross and mountain-bike style riding – ridiculous, yet also sublime. It’s good to deviate.
There were a wealth of punctures (the record for one rider being five), retro team-kits, a snapped derailleur hanger, and on sector 20 two white horses managed to break away to join the lead group for a couple of clicks (they have now been safely returned to their field). Whilst a social ride, there were many "faces of Hell" on display as riders got to grips with testing terrain, gradients and bike-handling challenges. After a feed-stop at Newgate St, where several-hundred bananas worked their magic, it was onwards to the last eight sectors before arrival at the Black Horse pub in Barnet. Here, the complimentary bike wash, Belgian beer and frites were laid on as the tired but happy participants watched Johan Van Summeren steal to victory in the race that we also call the Hell of the North.
ENTRIES NOW CLOSED