It took just five minutes for pain hungry cyclists to snap up the 300 available spaces on Rapha's Hell of the North (London) sportive on April 12

All 300 places on Rapha’s Hell of the North (London) sportive sold out in just five minutes as cyclists in search of a day of pain clamoured to get their name on the list.

Starting in Highgate at 10.30 on April 12, riders head north to spend the day riding round the lanes, bridepaths, footways and gravel paths of Hertfordshire.

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Taking place on the same day as the traditional Hell of the North – Paris-Roubaix – the plan is to get round the course and back down to the Prince of Wales pub in Barnet to watch the end of the race on TV.

With 17 sections of what Rapha like to call Gravé (potholed and stoney farm tracks and footpaths) on the route, riders are well advised to take a stash of spare inner tubes with them. And this is no place for skinny tyres – organisers recommend 25mm tyres as a minimum.

Last year the sportive sold out in half an hour, but this time round the registration process was a ‘blink and you miss it’ affair, with the last place being snapped up in just 300 seconds.

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If you missed out, well never mind. There’s always next year.