2019 Heck of the North Route Scout

Frank Lundeen thick into the 100 mile route

Frank Lundeen thick into the 100 mile route

This week I had the pleasure of scouting the 100 mile Heck of the North course with a new friend, Frank Lundeen. I could not have asked for a better chap to spend the day with. Thanks, Frank!

The Heck of the North 100 course is actually 108 miles this year. I added some bonus miles that will certainly change some people’s opinion of me. But I think this new design (based on the bones of many Hecks before) is a true classic. It has a bit of something for everyone. I will be naming “sectors” of this route similar to that of its original namesake, the grand Paris Roubaix. There are many miles of beautiful North Shore gravel. There are also a few miles of bone-shaking, frame pounding, tire testing two track. But I have designed it all to flow, in what I think, in a very rideable way. I hope you agree.

The price of adventure sometimes

The price of adventure sometimes

The 50 mile and 20 mile routes will remain the same as 2018. These, too, I feel are very good routes that offer a true taste of a Heck event. Sometimes I am able to leave well enough alone for at least two seasons in a row.

We will be offering one checkpoint at about the halfway mark for the 50 mile course. A light water stop and snack grab will be available for the 20 mile racers, too. Those tackling the 108 mile course will see a full water/snack checkpoint at mile 58 and most likely another at mile 85. Our amazing volunteers plus our friends from Otso Cycles will be assisting with checkpoints and finish line fun, too. Thank you to those folks!

As to gear and bikes…as always, ride the bike you know will feel fast AND comfortable for many miles/hours. I really gravitate toward 40 mm tires these days, especially for the rocky sectors of this year’s course. Have that rig of yours well tuned and supplied with the provisions you need for basic maintenance, nutrition and hydration (in between checkpoints.) This is a SELF SUPPORTED EVENT! Yes, we offer basic aid at a couple of checkpoints…but there are few others out there except your compatriots! Cell phone coverage is spotty at best. AND absolutely no support from teams, family, early supply drops or the like. Thank you for respecting this tradition. We do allow spectating and think that is pretty awesome (but no handouts from your sweeties.)

We will be handing out route cue cards at the packet pickup on Friday at Spokengear, 5-8 pm. We will also have a brief packet pickup on the morning of the event at the start area between 6:30 and 7:30 am. We do not offer gpx files because I strongly believe in the tradition of cue cards and gravel cycling. Please bring a working odometer of some fashion.

Please email me with any questions at jeremybkershaw@gmail.com. I, and many others, are happy to answer any questions about gravel cycling and the Heck of the North.

Ride the Good Line!

Jeremy Kershaw