Sunday, September 11, 2016

2 rides in the Appalachian (Appalache) hills (keyword: hills!)



More hills.

Followed by a "Would you like some more hills?"

Yes it is late summer and driving to Plessisville to ride in the hills of the "Appalaches" south of town is on the menu.

This season I am investigating different routes into the hills for a clockwise direction ride.

Plessisville is on the flats of the St-Laurence river valley and the Applaches are in the Appalachian hills, going in a clockwise rode direction gives you several choices to enter the hills. Some of these are better (paved roads) than others.  My favorite entry point via Mont Apic ski hill and between St-Pierre-Baptiste and Inverness are still suffering from 4 km of road-reconstruction that remains unpaved (but rideable in a way that subtracts joy), while the big climb out of Lyster has a big dirt section on top of the hill, This is one of those ymmv decision, and some asphalt on these two roads would greatly improve the joy of cyclotourism.

For a counter-clockwise ride the only choice is via Ste-Sophie. There is no "easier version" of this direction's entry point into the hills. I like coming down the Ste-Sophie hill, so I generally ride this area clockwise.

Enough clock talk!

Parking in Plessisville has some advantages. There are good services (non-bike) and discount gourmet cheese (typically because after aging the cheese is slightly underweight) at the Saputo ice cream stand and cheese factory. 

This year I have taken the bike path east for a few Km and explored alternative routes south to the hills vs the traditional route of Rt 165 and Rang 10.  Mainly because I want an easy first 30 minutes to warm up the legs a bit more gradually. I still like Rang 10 and it gets down to business right away and next ride here will be this trad route.

Some things I like about riding here

historic roads Chemins Craig and Gosford were the first roads built between original Canada capital of Quebec City and to the USA for the 7-day stagecoach voyage from Quebec to Boston.
Scenic in a Vermont kind of way.
Most of the ride's roads are of the quiet country road variety.

The first ride last week was more of the traditional quiet country road variety. Yesterday's ride south to Thetford Mines (aka Thetford) was on two numbered highways - not busy ones but still not super quiet. The Rt 265 also had construction at two sections, which sucked but is only temporary and will not be a problem in future years.

So I would say that my traditional ride here through the quiet country roads of Chemins Gosford and Craig roads is my favorite version of the ride by a big margin. Even with the un-paved road between St-Pierre-Baptiste and Inverness (please please pave this road. The road rebuilding was finished two years ago!).

One historical fact going here is that the region was first opened up (aka colonized) by the first wave of immigrants to Canada from the British Isles. This is reflected in the english names of towns and several ghost towns with only now-historical churches and cemeteries remaining. These make great rest stops!

Another fact is that there are hilltop towns. Ok, maybe not towns but villages. Ok, maybe not towns OR villages, but definitely hamlets. I am speaking of St-Julien and Vianney. Both are tiny villages perched on top of hills that we do short out-and-back sections to add some spice to the ride. Also as they are near the end of the ride, we want the fun to continue for as long as possible and these short out-and-backs are great fun, and mandatory!


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