Sunday, May 08, 2011

Ormstown-Powerscourt - Dundee

As a mid-ride destination, the Pont Percy covered bridge in Powerscourt on the Chateauguay River is hard to beat.

This covered bridge has just finished extensive renovations.

Look: no urban riding! We love this region for its pure farmland and forest scenery.

Spring has sprung and we extended out Valley explorations to the west a bit as the legs get used to pedaling longer distances and the ride-distance goes up in the crucial month of May. At the end of May it's summer and we want to be doing our favorite long rides in the over 100km distance category.

But with last week's perpetual rains we wanted something not too challenging but still scenic for our Saturday ride. Lucky for us the Ormstown area has lots of options, so we pulled out one we hadn't done yet this season.

Apparently we weren't the only ones with this idea, we saw a dozen groups of cyclists of various calibre enjoying the beautiful weather and of course the excellent cycling around the Chateauguay Valley.

Wanting to avoid the hordes, we rode the short distance south to the first road south of O-town, Tullochgorum if you head east, or Rang 3 if you head west, which we did. We like this road, but we liked the west wind we were riding directly in to a lot less. But, with years of headwind experience, we knew that when we turned around for the homeward bound direction we'd be flying with a strong tailwind.

This ride's only village is Athelstan. Otherwise urbanized civilization is avoided to our great pleasure. Athelstan might be small, but it's got a dep and a restaurant. At Athelstan we turned south and rode along the Chateauguay river for the few klicks to Powerscourt and our favorite covered bridge: Pont Percy. Did you know this is the oldest covered bridge in Quebec? 1861 my friends. Thats before Canada became a country. The west side of the bridge has one of the great sundecks that we know of. During our little snack break we watched the fisherman and women, but didn't notice any catches.

Then we headed west, over some perfect roads and raced a old tractor at 28-29 km/h. Eventually the tractor won, but it was close for a long time. When we reached the Rt 138 we turned north to begon the ride back home. Watch for the closed bridge (Pont Barré) in Sherrington. Crossing this bridge is your secret entrance back onto quiet farm roads. This took us back past Kelso Hall to Athelstan and from there we went a tiny bit north to Lost Nation and Boyd Settlement road to Dewittville. Here we crossed the river and took the old highway (Rt 138A) back to Ormstown. This section of the ride passes more giant trees than we can count!

Result was 75 km of fine sunny riding, in shorts and short sleeves for the first time this season.

See how we added a little western loop to the ride?

This ride was done a clockwise direction. We like this ride's perfect mix of forest and farm a lot. And it is close to Montreal.

A map of the ride is here on Bikely.


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