On April 8, one of pro cycling’s most revered spring classics will take place in northern France, where the annual Paris-Roubaix race takes place. Dubbed the “Hell of the North” because if follows a demanding route that passes through an area of the country that was hardest hit during World War I, the race has long been a rite of passage for pro riders looking to leave a mark on the sport. The race is so tough that it prompted cycling teams to develop more durable frames and components just to survive the rigors of the road.
To celebrate this year’s race, eyewear and sports apparel manufacturer Oakley is throwing down the gauntlet in the form of a Strava challenge for amateur cyclists. The challenge tasks riders with covering 257 kilometers (about 160 miles) between April 2 and April 8. That is the same distance that the pro cyclists will cover in a single day while taking part in the Paris-Roubaix race.
Participants in the Oakley Paris-Roubaix Week challenge must sign up for the event ahead of time and need to log all of their miles in the Strava app (iOS/Android). And while the competitors in the actual race will only face about 250 other riders, this challenge will pit thousands of amateurs from around the globe against one another. As of this writing, more than 38,000 people have already signed up for the ride, which will require each of them to cover nearly 37 km (23 miles) every day for the week.
After the challenge ends, Oakley will pick one winner from all of the participants who have successfully covered the required distance. That lucky rider will win a prize package that will include an Oakley ARO helmet, an Oakley JB cycling kit that includes top-of-the-line cycling clothing, as well as cycling-focused eyewear. This is the same equipment that Oakley sponsored athletes on Team Katusha–Alpecin and Team Dimension Data will use while competing in the race on April 8, as well as the entire cycling season.
Following Paris-Roubaix, Oakley will offer three more weekly challenges designed to get more cyclists on their bikes. Each of those challenges will be available in Strava as well, with more prize packages to be awarded to winners. A Strava account is required, of course.