It is one of the best kept secrets in Quebec, but for those who cycle in the annual 100 kilometer Le Tour des Pays-d’en Haut in the Laurentians every Victoria weekend, the abrupt and arduous hills that zigzag and cut into the Canadian escarpment provides cycling fanatics with a physically demanding challenge as well as bragging rights.
Concordia Students looking to break out of the drudgery of exams may want to consider this tour as a way to break into cycling season and shake out the exam doldrums.
The tour isn’t for the faint of heart. While no precise data is available on the tour, there is 61 kilometers of uphill climbing, 25 per cent of that in the last 30 kilometers, which in anybody’s books is steep and certainly deserves a name like Pays-d’en Haut.
The tour is an annual event that for the last 15 years has attracted many cycling enthusiasts who are looking for something a little more physically challenging when it comes to cycling while also offering spectacular scenery.
“It is recommended that you are in cycling shape,” says Pierre Gougoux, one of the committee organizers. “We suggest that participants own a bike that is adaptable to climbing some very steep hills.”
A bike with more than ten speeds is recommended, and your brakes should be in good working condition. It goes without saying that helmets are mandatory.
The tour starts on Saturday morning at Le Place de la Gare Val-David where you pay $25 to register and pick up your t-shirts.
It begins on relatively flat paths for easy cycling through Ste-Agathe des-Monts and Lac des Sables but it becomes a series of gradual climbs and descends through Sainte-Adolphe-d’Howard, the picturesque villages of Morin Heights and Saint Sauveur.
As you approach the historic train station at Pr