This has been a busy week of scouting and planning for the 2018 Le Grand du Nord. Every year we do our best to make the event unique, challenging and a highlight of your gravel cycling calendar. I think we are on track for a great one this year.
First off, the courses. The 120 mile event is a new classic built on the beautiful bones of the 2016, 2017 100 mile course. The added 20 miles are a mix of remote two track, downhill rolling gravel, and forested road. There will be a few miles that challenge your rhythm and let you know you are not in Kansas any more. Two mandatory checkpoints will be en route. As well as the Salsa Chase the Chaise lounger (secret location just for the 120 milers.) The course is a North Shore stunner and one of my all time favorites. I hope you like it as much as I do.
The 66 mile event is the perfect mix of challenging and flowing gravel roads. It, too, is built on the 50 mile course from previous years. In addition are 15 new miles of gravel that represent some of the best roads in the Grand Marais area. There will be one checkpoint featuring HED Cycling's touch on the best, made-on-location crepes. It was a huge hit last year and we are thrilled to have them back (and there will be the usual in nutritional offerings, as well.)
And the 20 mile course is looking great. A good way to see what all this gravel cycling business is about, the course offers a unique mix of gravel and rural paved roads plus sweet North Shore views (and one good hill!) This might be just the way to introduce a friend to gravel cycling.
Voyageur Brewing Company and Le Grand du Nord are excited to bring one of my favorite musicians, Charlie Parr, to Voyageur Brewing for a free show at 7pm on Saturday, May 26. Heck of the North Productions (Le Grand du Nord, The Heck Epic and The Heck of the North) wants to grow the music and cycling connection at all of our events. Relax with friends, family and a great beverage and take in some amazing music.
Le Grand du Nord is a challenging event. Please come prepared to take on the adventure of riding remote, North Shore gravel. Have a back up plan in place. Bring your tools and cycling computer. And don't forget to be great cycling citizens. Our riders are some of the toughest, friendliest and conscientious in the country. Be kind to our volunteers and the good people that call Grand Marais home. They are amazing hosts.
See you soon and ride the good line!