‘A Day in Hell’ cycling event coming to DeKalb

By Brandon Montemayor , Lifestyle writer

DeKALB Time to plan a trip to Hell, with premium London cycling company Rapha, and their “A Day in Hell” event Sunday. The event is tribute to Paris-Roubaix, the iconic Northern France based cycling race which was coined as “the Hell of the north.” However, cyclists won’t have to book their flights to France just yet, as Rapha aims to bring Hell to DeKalb with its grueling cycling course. 

The event will see riders taking on either the intermediate route, which is 40 miles long, or the advanced route, which is 77 miles long. Both routes will start by North Central Cyclery, 534 E Lincoln Hwy., and will take the rider in and around DeKalb and the surrounding area, having “translated the agony and ecstasy of Paris-Roubaix to routes you can ride from your doorstep,” according to the event Rapha webpage.

“Rapha has always been inspired by that event [Paris-Roubaix],” said Matt Duer, Midwest Retail Regional Manager at Rapha. “And we chose DeKalb because it gives us that type of ride that we’re looking for, where you’re out getting beat up by the wind and beat up by the gravel and dirt roads.”

The day-long event has no official start time and riders, while encouraged to finish, are able to pick up and leave off when convenient to them. 

“We want to make it clear that we’re just encouraging people to go out and do the routes that we’ve posted,” Duer said. “You can see the route and see if it’s more convenient to you to jump on in a different place.”

However, there remains an incentive to complete the trail as anyone who completes the route will be given a limited edition Day in Hell reward, according to the event page.

The routes for this event are tough, and challenges the participants to have the will to push through. With the limited amount of resources available in the rural and rugged terrain, it’s imperative that riders remain prepared.

“The big thing is how remote and on your own it is after you leave downtown DeKalb,” Duer said. “It’s kind of a self supported thing so bringing plenty of food and water is a good idea even for the intermediate route.”

While open for anyone, Rapha recommends those participating lean towards having previous experience cycling with these challenges in mind. 

“We’re encouraging those in the city [Chicago] to go out and experience something different kinda out in a different area or for those in the area to maybe see some roads that they haven’t before,” Duer said.

“A Day in Hell” presents a formidable event for cyclists and fans of the Paris-Roubaix. It presents a chance to feel the rush of the starting line, the gravel beneath their tires and the pride felt in completing a difficult task.