The 22nd edition of the Paris to Ancaster (P2A) cycling race went off last weekend. This year, a record number of riders, 2,350 to be exact, took part. This sure sign of spring on the Ontario cycling calendar offers a chance for the pros to shake out the winter cobwebs with a fast ride on cyclocross or mountain bikes, and an opportunity for casual riders to challenge themselves over the 20, 40, or 70 km distances.
What Is It?
- P2A is an off road cycling race open to anyone with a bike and a helmet. Most ride mountain bikes or cyclocross bikes, but I spotted a unicycle, tandems, and a variety of parent-kid bike combinations this year.
- The race starts in Paris and ends in Ancaster, as you may have already guessed, for the 70 km distance. The 40 km riders start in St. George, and the 20 km riders start and finish in Ancaster.
- The course isn’t the toughest you will find (good news for many), with most of it traversing rail trail and smooth gravel surfaces. The legendary Powerline Powerslide (a 1/2km downhill muddy trough-like section) and the final climb up Martin Rd. to the finish line will be what you can brag to your friends about at the finish.
- The race has been happening since 1994
- Over the past few years, P2A has been attracting top level pros and also offers a VIP experience category where past registrants have been able to rub elbows with well known riders such as Curt Harnett, three time Olympic medalist and Steve Bauer, also an Olympic medallist and stage winner at the Tour de France.
- The 2016 edition of P2A will be held again in April 2016 – start training now and see why so many come back every year.
Early registration is not too expensive, less than $70 for the longest distance, so sign up as soon as it’s open and start training! http://www.parisancaster.com
Photos by Kent Keeler