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Stage 608 – Bienfait to Portal

Stage 608 spends ninety percent of its time tiptoeing down to the US border, before finally crossing into North Dakota just before the finish. The route is initially east, then south east for the main part of the stage, before finally turning right and hence south to make the crossing. It’s another flattish stage, yet it boasts twice as much climbing and descending as stage 607 courtesy of the Souris River at seven miles.

The rollout is flat and east for two miles to the junction with Highway 18 which branches off left to Bienfait as Highway 39 hangs a right to start heading down to the US border. There’s a small up/down at four miles before the flat terrain resumes, and it’s not until the highway approaches the meandering Souris River at seven miles that the fun really starts. The road loses a hundred feet of elevation in half a mile on the way down to the river, before promptly putting it all back on, and more, on the other side.

After the initial steep climb, the road continues rising, and it’s not until fourteen miles, part way along the six mile straight towards Portal, that the road crests the highest elevation of the stage at just over two thousand feet. The road then begins a gentle descent before running alongside the border on the Canadian side from eighteen miles until the road enters the town. The crossing is a mile later at nineteen miles where the route hangs a snaking right/left/right off Highway 39 onto US Route 52 and past the Americana Motel on the US side of town. Half a mile later, the road curves left and the finishing line is just past the junction with 108th St NW and County Highway 2.

Distance: 21 miles / 34 kilometres

Ascent: 377 feet / 115 metres

RGT Magic Road: UUd0IZfdJDBl

Total distance: 20.46 mi
Max elevation: 2057 ft
Min elevation: 1840 ft
Total climbing: 377 ft
Total descent: -319 ft

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