Inaugural Arctic Gran Fondo

In the fall of 2019, I learned of a 150km Gran Fondo that started in Inuvik, NT, riding all the way north (on the most northern road in Canada) for 150km to the edge of the Arctic Ocean in Tuktoyaktuk. Another friend of mine was also keen to do the ride, so we both signed up.

Fast forward to the Spring of 2020 and the world is going through some troubling times with Covid-19. Like all events, the ride was cancelled.

This far north, the communities are spread apart and can be pretty remote. There may only be one way in or out and that passage may be a river, which in the winter is an ice road. When Covid came along, the Territory shut down pretty quickly as a precautionary measure to minimize the possible spread to outlying communities. By the end of May 2020, there were zero cases of Covid in the Northwest Territories and many safety protocols were put in place. Still, out of safety concerns, the race was cancelled.

With the race officially cancelled and my friend soon to move away to the East Coast of Canada, we decided we only had this one chance to do the ride, if we could do it safely.

I reached out to some people I knew in the community of Tuktoyaktuk and also spoke with their Senior Administrative Officer, asking if it would be possible for 2 cyclists to enter the Hamlet (just to ride out, not visit any buildings). They agreed that it would be fine, seeing as how we'd be wearing masks and we would be doing the ride in reverse — the original race event started in Inuvik and ended in Tuktoyaktuk — but to reduce even more risk, we would get a drive up to Tuktoyaktuk to start, immediately leaving the town on our journey south, ending in ou