HAMILTON, Ontario – Registration is open for the 24th annual Paris to Ancaster Bike Race (P2A), taking place on Sunday, April 30th, 2017. This unique race is popular with all levels of cyclists. It’s a technical challenge for the professionals, yet still accessible for recreational cyclists to come out and see what they’re made of.
P2A was inspired by France’s famous Paris-Roubaix race. It is the definition of a gravel grinder, and was one of the first in Canada. P2A takes place over some of the roughest farm lanes, trails and gravel roads in southern Ontario. Combined with unpredictable spring weather, and the largest field of riders assembled in Canada in this category, P2A presents a different adventure each year.
The event has three race distances, 70km, 40km and 20km, all of which are point-to-point courses. The 70km race takes riders from Paris to Ancaster, while the 40km starts in St. George and runs along the second half of the 70km course. The newest addition to the race is the 20km self-timed ride, starting at Bishop Tonnos High School in Ancaster and finishing at the same iconic finish line as the 70km and 40km races. With these three different options, P2A has become a classic race experience for everyone from kids and families, to cycling enthusiasts, to professionals, including Canadian Olympians. There is also a fundraising option to support research at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, one of the top research hospitals in the country. Any cyclist is welcome to help fundraise.
“We’ve been extremely lucky to have experienced continued growth over the past 23 years. With the recent increase in popularity of gravel grinder races we’ve had record-breaking attendance. Plus, with the addition of the 20km ride, there’s a stepping stone to the 40km and 70km races,” says Tim Farrar, P2A co-director. “It has become more than just a race, it’s a destination and an event that brings the entire cycling community together.”
The name “gravel grinder” means there are some sections of the course that ride like a cyclocross race, some that ride like a mountain bike race and some that are like a road race. The event attracts cyclists from many different cycling backgrounds. This includes the 2016 men’s and women’s winners, cyclocross rider Gunnar Holmgren and mountain biker Ellen Noble. They are part of an impressive field of elite cyclists that have tackled the P2A challenge, including Jeremy Powers, Helen Wyman, Christine Vardaros, Belgium’s Ellen Van Loy, Jonathan Page, Gabby Durrin and Peter Glassford. P2A has also welcomed Olympic cyclists including Steve Bauer, Curt Harnett, Gord Singleton and Sue Palmer-Komar.
For the avid cyclist that wants an opportunity to step-up their game on course, P2A offers the VIP Experience. This allows any cyclist to race in the elite wave with the pros and Olympians and be first on course, when it’ll be the fastest. It also includes a meet and greet with the pros and a guided pre-ride on selected sections of the course. There are also many other perks to the VIP Experience, all of which make for an enhanced P2A race to assist cyclists in reaching their goals.
“We added the VIP Experience on our 20th anniversary and due to popularity, have continued to offer it ever since,” says John Thorpe, P2A co-director. “We have an amazing group of pros and Olympians that continue to join us, making the VIP experience truly unique and unforgettable. To race alongside names like these is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for any cyclist.”
Regular registration rates will be available until March 1st, 2017. Late registration begins March 2nd, with an increased rate. To register today, visit parisancaster.com.