With an abundance of gravel roads and trails, the North Shore is a prime destination for gravel bike enthusiasts. It’s no surprise that in recent years, the popular past time has grown to include some well-known gravel bike races. The first of the year, happening each May, is the Le Grand Du Nord Gravel Bike Race by Heck of the North Productions.
The race features three challenging courses; a 120-mile, a 66-mile, and a 20-mile course so the race can appeal to all skill levels. All courses start in beautiful downtown Grand Marais at the Coast Guard parking lot by the harbor and take riders along the picturesque shore of Lake Superior on Croftville Road before heading inland. The 120-mile course features a gradual climb taking you up over 6,000 feet where you are greeted with spectacular views and a journey that will take you near the Canadian border and back. The shorter courses bring you past numerous inland lakes along trails with a heavy tree canopy and plenty of sites to see- and even the occasional wild animal. The races use cue card navigation to guide you along the challenging Cook County trail system.
All three races wrap up at the Voyageur Brewing Company, where you can celebrate your finish with some good food, cold beer, and live music.
If you enjoy taking your bike on gravel trails and exploring the beautiful inland Cook County area, sign up for the Le Grand Du Nord. Registrations are accepted each year up until 2 days before the event on the Heck of the North website.