The Hurt'n Albert'n 550

From the Heartland to the Badlands to the Foothills of the Canadian Rockies, this race traverses the countryside showcasing the Southern Albertan paradigm… Big City and Small Towns, Wheatfields and Oilfields, Forest and Forestry… Or is it paradox?

Prepare to be at your limit (and beyond) as you battle the elements and your inner self as you travel the Province’s lesser-known roads and through it’s lesser-known places under your own power, without outside support.

  • Gravel roads
  • Forestry roads
  • Rocky Mountains
  • Badlands
  • Drumheller

The Hurt’n Albert’n 550 is a ride through the heart of Alberta, taking the rider through the edge of the mountains, through farmland gravel roads and into the dinosaur capital of the world.

Mountain Bike: If you are planning on riding a mountain bike for this ride, you should ideally have tires on the smaller end of the spectrum, in the 2″ – 2.25″ tire size. Of course, if all you have are larger tires, get out there and enjoy the ride no matter what. Plus-sized tires are definitely overkill on this route.

Gravel Bike: A cyclocross bike would be absolutely fine for this route. If using a gravel bike with 700 wheels, you’ll be fine with tires up to 40c. Anything bigger would add more comfort, but will not affect the ability to complete the ride.

Setup: Run tubeless if possible. You can use bikepacking style bags or a hybrid setup with small panniers. A lighter set-up allows of easier riding, especially in the hillier and more technical sections. You are also going to want to have a wide-range of gear options for climbing the bigger and tougher hills.

In 2016, Megan Dunn raced the Hurt’n Albert’n 550. Not only did she come first, but she also wrote a pretty good article about her time riding the route. Check out her article, Hurt’n Albert’n 550 for a good description of the route.

This route is entirely in Alberta, taking the rider up into the edge of the Rocky Mountains, through forestry land, along some of the endless farmland of the Prairies and into the Badlands.

Campgrounds: North Ghost Campground and Waiporous Campground can be found at around the km 160 mark. There is also a campground in the town of Beiseker at the junction of the two loops at km 320.

Wild camping: When wild camping, do your best to leave no trace. Along the route there are many opportunities to stash yourself away in recreational parks, wilderness parks, tree lines, fields, etc.

Fresh water everywhere: Throughout the route, there are many opportunities to re-fill water bottles. The longest gap without water access will be after passing Water Valley and heading up into the Rocky Mountains. There are some small lakes and rivers throughout the region, so be sure to pack a water filter or purification tablets.

Restaurants/Cafes/Bars: As with water, there are many small towns throughout the route, where it will be possible to refill your bottles.

Information regarding the difficulty of the Hurt’n Albert’n is difficult to find. It seems from what I’ve been able to gather to be more in line with a gravel route, following gravel roads for the majority of the ride.

Average Physical Difficulty – 4

  • 1-2 – Relatively level riding
  • 3-4 – Regular rolling terrain with sustained climbing
  • 5-6 – Rugged terrain with frequent climbs, some of which may be steep and unrelenting
  • 7-8 – Very rugged terrain with abundant climbing, some of which is very steep and unrideable
  • 9-10 – Numerous very steep, climbs requiring bike-pushing and/or carrying

Average Technical Difficulty – 4

  • 1-2 – Smooth riding surface with few obstacles (e.g., graded dirt roads, rail trails); suitable for novice mountain bikers
  • 3-4 – Track has occasional obstacles and steep sections (e.g., maintained forest roads, mellow singletrack); suitable for beginner mountain bikers
  • 5-6 – Continuous sections of track may be rocky, loose, and steep; (e.g., 4×4 roads or singletrack in rugged/rocky terrain) suitable for intermediate mountain bikers
  • 7-8 – Narrow trail with regular obstacles, sustained steep grades; suitable for intermediate to advanced mountain bikers
  • 9-10 – Very challenging riding with frequent large obstacles, exposure, very steep grades; suitable for advanced mountain bikers
This route was created by:

Justin Chadwick and Trevor Anderson.

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