Monday, May 12, 2014

Medium distance spring ride in Chateauguay Valley

Not (un)usual for us to run out of daylight before we run out of road!

This ride has many, many options for shortcuts or longer distances

As spring progresses, ride distances get longer. No longer is a one-hour ride going to satisfy the cyclists' need for scenery and more scenery.  The solution is simple: ride a longer ride, and in the Chateauguay Valley the easiest thing to do is to move the ride start downriver from Ormstown to Howick or Sainte-Martine.  We chose Saint-Martine, because the parking is good and the ride starts on a nice bike path.

Sunday had big winds from the southwest, and this ride offers some respite from the relentless nature of headwinds with some zigzagging into and away from the westerly headwinds.  

We chose Option B, straight home from Powerscourt instead of following the river

Compare the top picture with this map of the actual ride. We modified the route because the direct route back to Sainte-Martine became important because time was running out. And by time I mean sunny daylight fun-to-bike time. This wasn't a buzzkill, because this option also has great roads and scenery, and it had a heck of a great tailwind. We averaged 35 km/h for the last 50 km of the ride! No-one really likes headwinds, but the smarter among us know to ride into the headwind for the first half of a ride, because then the last half will be with a big tailwind, and wil probably give you  happy feeling to ride so fast with so little effort.

The ride zigzags and covers a lot of nice roads, in fact, it is all nice roads except for short sections on Rt 202 and Rt 203. Rt 203 will soon be bypass-able when the Sainte-Martine-to-Ormstown bike path opens in 2014 and Rt 203 death highway can be avoided.

We like this ride a lot and there are 119 good reasons why is it the template for the standard medium-distance Chateauguay Valley ride.

Another reason for liking this ride as we did it is the fact that only two kilometers of the 119 kilometres are in towns or villages.  So lots and lots and lots of riding with essentially zero corporate fast food, gas, and retail "every town looks the same" modern world bullshit.


Map for today's 119 km-version of the standard medium distance Chateauguay Valley ride. Note that you could do this ride (or variations thereof) with a ride-start of Ormstown, or Howick.

Here is the map for the shorter standard 60 km short-distance Chateauguay Valley ride. Here is a slightly longer and slightly better 74 km version of the Standard Short distance ride. For a shorter ride you could do this as a Ormstown out and back on the Rockburn side road to the US border (aller-retour) and avoid anything west of Dewittville/Rockburn for a shorter ride that is still top quality fun on top quality roads. (And we know fun--and top quality roads!)

This is a superb road-cycling destination for any length of ride, and is perfect in any of the spring, summer, or autumn seasons. Many people consider it to be a paradise du vélo, and we agree 100%.

spring has sprung!

white trilliums everywhere, red ones more rare

Sun streaming in Quebec's oldest covered bridge at Powerscourt

The round barn of Gore road

Tiny and very retro maple-sugar shack

Sunshine, green fields, forests, stone fences = another amazing ride


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