Louiseville / MRC Maskinongé ride
One of my favorite destinations for an easy fun scenic quiet ride. Alternatively, if you want an insane ride, just ride from St-Alexis-des-Monts to Hotel Lac Sacacomie and back.
Sunday's ride was an easy ride, done after the rain had stopped and the roads had dried.
Louiseville aka MRC maskinongé aka buckwheat (sarrazin) central is an easy 103 km from Montreal on Autoroute 40, also known as the road to take when there's construction delays on all the south shore bridges.
I started late because rain (delayed departure = dryer roads) and I didn’t do either the long or mega long crazy hill version that goes deep north into the bush. Yesterday I stuck mostly to the plains below the hills.
This area is defined by two things.
First is old-tyme villages 5-10 km apart. The first road from Quebec to Montreal is along here and called the chemin du Roy (kings road) a mile inland from the St-Laurence. It is a Route Verte and when people bike Mtl-Quebec it is along this. Sometimes it is off the main highway and these are the good parts. Sometimes it is part of the busy 138 highway. Natch, I optimizes this.
Second is north south rivers crossing the plains into the St-Laurence river, so therefore there are plenty of quiet roads that follow these north/south direction, the trick is knowing where are the good east west roads that aren’t highways to link up the fun north south roads.
Also, the region has an excellent regional bike ride map with exquisite detail. Truly my favorite regional bike map!
So I followed one of these north that goes through one of the better tree-tunnels and several other scenic highlights). Then I explored a new road west (highway, but not the busy one) over to Ste-Angele. Here I joined the highway and was almost immediately passed by one of those old dudes on a bike who clearly ride 50,000 km a year. I accelerated & kept up but happily he turned south before I did.
Ste-Angele is at edge of escarpment where laurentien plateau / hills start. Usually (=always) this is a high speed descent last 1/4 of ride phase that is very zooming along. I decided to ride uphill on my fave escent road: Rang Agusta. It has fresh asphalt and is a rolling twisty road, a great descent and a fun climb. I took it up to the cell tower that defines the highest point in the region (and… if is a very tall tower.
Then it was zoom downhill on perfect fresh asphalt.
Slight mist type rain started so I put on my 2-way zip cycling vest (truly a most useful and versatile garment) and down I went along a route I know well. It is fairly an express ride section back to Louiseville, so at the last village before Louiseville (Ste-ursele (which also has a pretty good waterfall) I went west to explore a north-south road I never roade before. It was nice, but would have been nicer if it was not decayed to farm lane dirt road in the middle! At least it was well graded. Soon civilized asphalt returned and I arrived in the next village west from Louiseville – Maskinongé (1702). Here I join civilization, ride on the route verte that is also the Chemin du Roy, and is also the part of the chemin du Roy that is off the highway. Very nice section.
Then arrive in Louiseville and get refreshments and have completed a very fine easy level ride with almost no rain and in fact no real rain.
Version 2 of my ride, as written to my buddy Sid.
One of my favorite easy areas to ride is starting in Louiseville, near three rivers, which sounds far but isn’t: it is only 103 km from my house on easy driving A40.
There ride starts on the plains north of the St-Laurence, then one enters the laurentian plateau with a bit more hill terrain but generally never hard.
The highlight is always coming back down from the plateau from whichever is the turning south point and zooming back to the village. It is always a real highlight of my bike riding.
Sunday I didn’t go far into the plateau, only a few km on rang Augusta, which is a rollercoaster I usually come down, but going up is good too. It was freshly repaved and is perfection. The turnaround point is a cell tower above the highest point on the road, essentially all-downhill back to Louiseville. Woohoo.
It is a favorite ride destination.
The ride can include insanity, just continue north of St-Alexis-des-Monts to lac Sacacomie, which has crazy hills that test your sanity, meaning descending with or without braking. On the climb up (severe) I stopped on side of road for a micropause and a car stopped and passengers thought maybe I was dying. Maybe I was, but I was not going to admit it.
FYI: Alberta and Lake Louise are names after her too.