Saturday, July 26, 2008

Glorious Mauricie river and St-Tite ride

Riding on perfect new asphalt... along the magnificent Maurice river

Northeast Mauricie region, a spectacular ride

We had high hopes for this ride, sometimes high expectations can betray you, but sometimes you get a ride that is perfect and amazing.

This triangular-shaped ride turned out to have all the ingredients needed for a great bike ride.

The northern segment along the St-Maurice river was great, with lots of new asphalt and good shoulders, the next segment southeast to Ste-Tite and St-Thecle were simply top-of-the-line, and the open country westward back to the starting point was scenic and had a covered bridge (pont Bordeleau)

North along gorgeous St-Maurice river - note excellent paved shoulders

Riding south to St-Tite - Rt 159 is one of the great valley roads in Quebec

There were two downsides, both temporary, and both were initially extremely good things.

I speak first of the wind, which was gusting to 30 km'm. The ride up the mauricie river was greatly aided by this major tailwind! We were doing 40-50 km/m on rolling terrain, very fast indeed. But the wind became out enemy on the last third of the ride - the return westward leg. Yes, 30 km'h headwinds can getcha down. But we knew that the distance back to the car at St-Flores was shrinking each minute. And we were happy that the occasional rain showers stayed to the north of us. Just.

The other great thing that turned out less great was the new asphalt. It was fresh: it was only hours old. This made for amazingly fast and smooth riding (remember that big tailwind thing). But when the construction site ended and we were back on normal road, we discovered that our ties had a new coating of very sticky tar, and our tires picked up a new coating of roadside rocks up to 5 mm size. Happily this wore off after a while and our tires returned to being high-speed miracles.

Some of the scenic and cyclistic highlights were:
  • beauty of the St-Maurice river
  • high speed cycling along this river
  • the awesome hills and narrow twisty valley north of St-Tite on Rt 153
  • quiet farmland vistas after that
  • Pont Bordeleau covered bridge, we had been here 3 years ago (video here)
  • excellent paved shoulders almost everywhere

leaving St-Thecle, powered by raisin cookies bought at local bakery

Karma levels were good cuz rain arrived 5 before the end of the ride and the heavy rain waited for five minutes AFTER the end of the ride.

Rating: highly recommended!

Colours other than green

back at Pont Bordeleau, we were here one cold October day three years ago

Click here to go to the Bikely map for this ride from Veloshawinigan (and give him/her a big thanks for creating this route on Bikely)


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