Tuesday, July 03, 2007

North Lanaudiere explorations

Lanaudiere this time had 17% more adventure than usual.

Starting with the short but steep 18% hill at the towns edge, rolling terrain until the 10% hill, after which you have warmed up and rolling terrain takes you to little black lake hill side minidetour, to Sainte Catherine road, past raspberries and some happy looking outdoor pigs.

After a 10 minute rain it is the big hill up to the view of Ste-Emilie, the belevedere (scenic look out) rest stop was easier this time, and no less rewarding or spectacular, it’s a top spot on the ride.

From Ste-Emilie I rode for the first time up the Rt 131, north and into great narrow valley riverside with waterfall-rapids, and a big paved shoulder, wow.

When it was back to St-Emilie, this side trip was strictly to get a taste of the road, not to eat the whole thang!

Then it was up to feuille d’erable, my favorite 16% hill, : climb 16% hill, climb some more 16% hill, be amazed with the large fresh asphalt patches (the road suffered last spring – so I was very happy to see lots of big fresh road repairs here, it moves the road from terrible to great shape, good work Ste-Emilie), and there was still more 16% hill when I heard the dreaded tire leak (psst... psst... psst...psst) but luckily it was a slow leak so I could ride to the top of the hill (up to the open rolling descent), and when I finally got to top of the hill I got to stop and fix the flat. Oh, and get eaten by bugs.

The descent was good--wheeee!

I again tried to ride Belle Montage from the first time you pass it (i.e. not further down the road at the Depanneur Lau-Dan entrance). This is the second time this year, I try this road. Earlier it had fresh construction and grading and I almost immediately turned back when it changed to dirt. This time I an not turning around when it changes from asphalt to dirt).

Yeah, exploring can be miserable some times.

I discovered as the road changed to dirt, had short steep inrideable hills, then the road changes to a single car width (almost double track!), the dirt road surface kept being unrideable, not least because soon I was walking up the bike up super-steeps. I doubt my car would get up this road! It would be a great mtn bike road and must be at least 20%).

Finally I reach the top, and see hikers!!!

I continue walking down other side, but soon the road changes to asphalt.

I have come out the other side! Alive!

The road is paved but it’s a steep descent, Aieee!

Down on the familiar part of Belle Montagne, where this road transforms in name to St-Laurent on the way to St-Beatrix, the sky turns blue and the sun is beaming down.

Well, it really was like coming out of hell.

Unfortunately the bike makes a bad bottom bracket noise (19 yr old pitted cones and 4000 km since last overhaul = uh-oh), so despite the atmosphere going blue sky and sunshine, I decide to turn towards car and choose a short direct back to the car route. I had more exploring planned south of Ste-Beatrix, but it will have to wait for another day.

I have some ice cream in St-Felix and, phone home to arrange sushi for supper, arrive home, and discover big salad... no sushi cuz sushi place closed for oh Canada day.


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