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The Hell of the High Country

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Article Published: Feb. 16, 2012 | Modified: Apr. 21, 2012
The Hell of the High Country

The Boone-Roubaix, otherwise known as the Hell of the High Country, returns April 21 with a few new features and surprises.

Photo by Weldon Weaver

The Hell of the High Country is back.

The third annual Boone-Roubaix will again draw hundreds of cyclists to Boone on April 21 for the opportunity to participate in a European-style “Spring Classic.”

In the same vein as the great monuments of cycling, such as the “Hell of the North” Paris-Roubaix, the Hell of the High Country will offer recreational riders and amateur racers alike a chance to gut it out on the mountain roads made famous by Lance Armstrong.

New for 2012 is a longer 50-mile course, featuring more than 10 miles of dirt and gravel roads, finishing in the “Mountaineer Velodrome,” a dirt stock car track.

The North Carolina High Country is a mecca for cyclists, thanks to its unmatched beauty, quiet country roads and notorious climbs, said officials with the Boone-Roubaix. The area is home to a pair of colleges with champion cycling teams and one of the nation’s hardest century rides, “Blood, Sweat & Gears,” which annually attracts more than 1,000 riders.

Now that Boone-Roubaix is open to all, not just licensed racers, it provides another opportunity for cyclists from around the country to test themselves on the mountain roads.

To make Boone-Roubaix even more epic, the 50-mile race course has a host of devious additions:

• Three new secteur pavé make for a total of 10 miles of pothole and gravel strewn dirt roads;
• Joining the Koppenberg of the High Country, the race’s most notorious ascent, there are three new brutal climbs;
• Best of all, just like its namesake Paris-Roubaix, the race will have a “velodrome” finish on a quarter-mile stock car dirt track, where friends and family can cheer from the bleachers and enjoy post-race festivities.

Racers will again be accompanied by wheel trucks to provide a quick change in case of a flat, and chip timing will provide immediate bragging rights.

Interested cyclists may register online for Boone-Roubaix at for $35 until April 1, when it goes up to $45. On-site registration will be available on race day for $55.

Boone-Roubaix will again benefit Wine to Water, a Boone-based nonprofit aid organization focused on providing clean drinking water to needy people around the world, and several local volunteer fire departments.

Total participation is capped at 250, and nearly 100 racers are already signed up, so officials suggest that those interested should register soon to guarantee a spot.

For more information, email ( , visit the event website at or the Facebook page at

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