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Stage 553 – Aitken Creek Road to Charlie Lake

Shortly, the North American legs of Around The World will be free of the clutches of the Rockies. The journey’s not quite there yet because stage 555 has a trick up its sleeve, but this stage is maybe a taster of the flatter days to come. Not only does it have a long stretch, almost half the stage if the truth be told, of what looks like flat road, but the hills that do exist are less much arduous than of late. This is a stage of considerable respite. It runs south east towards Fort St John, nudging ever closer to the border between British Columbia and Alberta: that’s a crossing that will be coming in about four stages time.

The rollout is lumpy up and down and snaking left and right to four miles where there’s a small lake on the left hand side of the road and a stream crossing under it: the stream comes at the bottom of a sharp one hundred foot descent. The road then does a quick up and down to a right hander at seven miles where the Alaska Highway crosses Red Creek next to another small lake. Although the road has undulated up and down quite wildly to this point, it has yet to achieve either the highest or the lowest elevation of the stage: both come near the end of the stage.

Away from the creek, as the highway passes by the junction of Beatton Airport Road, there’s another short rise before everything settles down on a long straight that runs practically all the way from nine miles to the finish apart from a wee left/right shimmy either side of twenty miles.

Between miles nine and nine and seventeen, the road gains just twenty five feet of elevation: it’s virtually flat, maybe with a shade of elevation towards the end. However on passing Montney Highway, where the gentle left hander kicks in, there’s what is arguably the sharpest climb of the stage, although it’s short, topping out just before nineteen miles at the highest elevation of the stage. That’s followed by a two hundred foot descent to just before twenty miles, which takes in the gentle right hander back the other way at the lowest elevation of the stage.

The foot of that descent comes half a mile from the finish and it would be a good idea to be carrying a lot of speed at the bottom because the final straight run in to the line is uphill and steep, albeit short in distance.

Distance: 20 miles / 32 kilometres

Distance: 20 miles / 32 kilometres

Ascent: 380 feet / 116 metres

RGT Magic Road: ZxlLKWQV0ZQq

Total distance: 20 mi
Max elevation: 2782 ft
Min elevation: 2594 ft
Total climbing: 381 ft
Total descent: -471 ft

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