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Stage 663 – Saint Jacques to Thompson

From one peninsular to another: stage 663 has a remarkably similar elevation profile to 662, with a relatively calm first half preceding a testing start to the second half ahead of a descent to the finish. The stage heads east across the northern end of Lake Michigan and one is left to ponder what the route would have looked like had Mark Beaumont not had to deviate south in Minnesota to avoid fierce headwinds. I suspect that instead of tacking east on Highway 2, he’d have been heading in the same direction forty miles to the north on Highway 28.

The rollout descends to cross the East Branch Ogontz River immediately after the start, before climbing to Saint Jacques after a mile. There’s then a further gentle descent to Nahma Junction at three miles where the road crosses the meandering Sturgeon River as it flows south into Lake Michigan. Moss Lake is next on the geographical agenda, and Highway 2 passes south of its southern shore at five miles as the road climbs to Isabella at seven miles where Highway 495 tracks south to Nahma where the Sturgeon River flows into the lake.

Beyond Isabella, the road crosses the Fishdam River and the Little Fishdam River in quick succession on the way to Garden Corners which sits on the lakeside at eleven miles. It’s also where the climbing starts. The remainder of the stage crosses the peninsular from Garden Corners to Thompson and there’s a testing five mile climb from Garden Corners to the summit at Michaud Lake at sixteen miles. En route, the road passes by Cousineau Lake at eleven miles before crossing the Little Fishdam River a second time much nearer to its source up on the hill at twelve miles.

On the descent back down to the lake, Highway 2 passes by Ninemile Lake at eighteen miles then picks up the flow of Williams Creek at twenty miles which it then crosses a mile later on the run in to the finish approaching Thompson.

Distance: 22 miles / 35 kilometres

Ascent: 394 feet / 120 metres

RGT Magic Road: P1LpFbxYyjKU

Total distance: 20.96 mi
Max elevation: 766 ft
Min elevation: 629 ft
Total climbing: 384 ft
Total descent: -366 ft

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