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Le Grand du Nord Route Scout 2016

We recently completed the mapping of both the 100 and 50 mile courses for this inaugural Le Grand du Nord. Here are some thoughts to consider before taking the start line this Saturday, May 28.

Grand Marais

Every time we see this picturesque harbor village, we can’t believe I’m still in Minnesota. Maine? Nova Scotia? Yes. Minnesota? Hard to believe we have a place like this: numerous good restaurants, locally made beer (our registration is at Voyageur Brewing Company), and art galleries- all right next door to bait shops and hardware stores. Grand Marais is my type of town. And the harbor is right there. And we will be starting a stone’s throw from the water. You have to see it to believe it.

Grand Marais - Le Grand du Nord Route Scout 2016

The Course 

We have dreams about a course like this (that’s how nerdy we are about Heck courses). Lake Superior, forests, rushing streams, hills, sustained climbs, sweeping descents. Remote. Really remote. Moose sign, wolf sign, spring frogs, broad winged hawks, merlins, white throated sparrows. The occasional hay field. More woods. The roads are mostly dirt with glacial gravel on top. Occasional crushed limestone. Some serious frost heaves (large lumps of earth pushed upward by the freeze-thaw cycle) every now and then. Yesterday, the roads were really pretty good. Snow piles still tucked in under the north facing ditches. And yes, climbing. Prepare for some serious climbing on both the 50 mile and 100 mile routes. Not the punchy southern Minnesota Driftless variety. Climbs that last for a few miles. But the pay-off is sweet.

Le Grand du Nord Route Scout 2016Le Grand du Nord Route Scout 2016Le Grand du Nord Route Scout 2016Le Grand du Nord Route Scout 2016Le Grand du Nord Route Scout 2016Le Grand du Nord Route Scout 2016Le Grand du Nord Route Scout 2016Le Grand du Nord Route Scout 2016

Special Considerations 

  We will have a checkpoint with water, Skratch Labs hydration, Honey Stinger waffles, fruit, and PB&J. This will be at mile 67 for the 100 mile course and 26 for the 50 mile course. The 100 mile riders should carry enough water and nutrition to get them to this checkpoint. There are no options on the course to resupply. Please be prepared with all necessary repair tools, tubes, accurate odometer and pump. You are allowed to help one another, but outside help from teams, sweeties, friends or family is strictly forbidden.

  This is a self supported event. You are largely responsible for yourself. Meaning, we DO NOT offer shuttle services for mechanicals, drop-outs, scratches, etc. Please consider this before starting the event. And please contact (phone or text) the event directors if you decide to drop out during the ride.

  Cell coverage is spotty at best.

  Please dial 911 for emergencies. Help to your fullest ability.

  Please read the Cue Card Primer if you are unfamiliar with gravel grinding navigation.

  And please be great gravel cycling citizens! Do not litter. Be discreet with nature breaks. Wave hello to the locals. Thank your volunteers. Enjoy your cycling partners on this ride. And don’t forget to appreciate this amazing part of the world we get to cycle in.

About Heck of the North Productions LLC

The Heck of the North Productions are born from the premise that you the rider are ultimately responsible for getting to the finish. No aid stations. No sag wagons. No signs guiding you home. Just your ability to spin miles of forested gravel roads. Just your ability to navigate by cue card, just your strength to see it through to the end. And the opportunity to ride with some pretty amazing people!

Le Grand du Nord, May 28th - 100 and 50 miles gravel courses, Grand Marais MN
The Heck Epic, August 20-21st - A two day, 200 mile bike packing event.
The Heck of the North, October 1st - 100 and 50 mile gravel courses. Premier event. 

For more information please visit - heckofthenorth.com

Please contact me at jeremybkershaw@gmail.com for any other questions.

Jeremy Kershaw