The classic Hell of the North Cotswolds will celebrate its 21st year in 2005, rather giving the lie to the idea that off-road enduro events are in some way a recent thing. Of course, HONC wasn’t originally devised with MTBs in mind – it was inspired by the Paris-Roubaix “road” race that takes place over long stretches of evil cobbles and dirt roads. These days, though, nearly all of the 1,000 riders are on MTBs (although we’ve found a cyclocross bike to be the weapon of choice). The 50 or 100km courses feature a mix of Tarmac and dirt, including some technical singletrack. You’ll need a degree of navigational ability – you get written directions and a map, just following the people in front isn’t necessarily a good idea.
HONC is promoted jointly by local clubs Winchcombe CC and Cheltenham & County CC, and will start from Winchcombe at 9am on Sunday 10 April. All finishers will receive a commemorative medal, refreshments are available at the halfway point and all finishers under 18 (as long as they pre-enter) will be entered into a draw for a brand new Marin B17 trail hardtail.
Pre-entering is a good idea, as there’ll be a limit of 1,000 riders. It’s eight quid if you’re over 18 (a tenner on the day) or a fiver if you’re under 18. Visit either www.cc-cc.co.uk or www.winchcombeCC.org.uk for further details – entry forms will be available from 1 January.