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The Heck of the North

September 28 2024
Two Harbors Minnesota USA
Date Confirmed
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Distances: 20, 50, 100 miles
Difficulty: Difficult terrain with longer, steeper hills

2024 marks the 16th anniversary of The Heck of the North! This is the event that started it all.

While the Heck routes are mostly gravel, expect some two track with sand, rubble, or possibly the kind of mud pictured above. The Heck is called the Heck for a reason!

105 Mile: This classic has 3400ft of climbing. It starts with a tight, two track section called the Briton Pit Rd for the first five miles. Your ride gets sorted out fast on this section. The hallmark feature of this route are its two passes over the North Shore State Trail; a slow, grassy winter trail with spring-fed wet sections. Most of the route is well-maintained county and Forest Service gravel roads. A rough two track section lives at mile 87 on the Bear Pit Rd. After recouping on gravel for a few miles, the last three miles to the finish are two track. Dubbed the “Alger Grade Forest” (a nod to the Arenberg Forest of Paris Roubaix infamy,) the 105 miler is tough.

56 Mile: 1600 ft of climbing. It starts with a tight, two track section called Briton Pit Rd for the first five miles, and then opens into some fine gravel, including the beautiful Langley River Rd. At mile 40 it hits the rough Bear Pit Rd, followed by a smooth gravel recovery before the last 3 miles to the finish on the two track “Alger Grade Forest” section. This course is varied and challenging. It does not have snowmobile sections.

18 Mile: 500 ft of climbing. A great introduction to the world of gravel cycling. Almost entirely well maintained gravel road, this course, too, features a 3 mile section of two track before the midway aid station. A smooth gravel road section then leads to the final 3 miles of the “Alger Grade Forest” two track (not drivable by car) to the finish line. It’s a tough 18 miles course. But most finishers already start thinking about tackling the 56 miler next time.

Though all of the Heck routes include short sections that would be more comfortable to ride on a suspension trail bike, a gravel bike is still the way to go. I recommend tires at least 35-40 mm wide.

The Heck of the North has a unique feel to it. Maybe it is the brilliant Fall colors. Maybe it is the remoteness of the routes. Maybe it is the camaraderie and friendly faces. Either way, it’s a classic and we welcome you to the experience.

We welcome back our amazing Sponsors and partners. Thank you!

We will see you at the finish line!

The Heck of the North

Start Located At: Two Harbors, Minnesota
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