Friday, 3 June 2011

On the route of this year's Eastern Townships' Challenge

I was poking around Vélo-Québec's website for more information about the Tremblant Challenge (such as what day it is!), when I decided to look at the route of this year's Eastern Township Challenge. I was was in for quite a surprise on the whole.

As in several previous years, the challenge starts at Mount Orford. From there, it goes through Magog (possibly a bad idea, but I'm not the one making the route) and heads down the Eastern shore of Lake Memphremagog to Fitch Bay, then turns inland to Ayer's Cliff, then up the 143, down Sherbrooke road into North Hatley and back to Magog via Katevale, fortunately, down the infamous Katevale hill. Side excursions go to Standstead, Hatley, Compton and Waterville.

What intrigues me about this route is that with a few exceptions I know all the roads in question, having grown up in North Hatley. Of the many Vélo-Québec Challenges or Défis I have been on, none have been in quite so familiar terrain. This will likely significantly change the nature of the experience as one aspect of these events is the discovery of new places and landscapes. This time, my parents and I will know parts of the route down to the last pothole! There will be less discovery for us on this one.

As well, I already have some reservations about some of the route choices made by Vélo-Québec. The extended bit on the 143 being the most notable! I also wonder whether the extended versions will incorporate not one but two segments of the former Massawippi Valley Railway now converted into bike paths.

All in all, it should be interesting but in a different way than usual.

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