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Stage 685 – Mattawa to Bissett Creek

The third of four difficult stages in a row, stage 685 meanders left and right following the line of the Ottawa River that’s flowing in the opposite direction. That inevitably means more climbing, although the worst of it is reserved exclusively for the second half of the stage. Highway 17 runs on the south side of the river so the stage remains in Ontario, with Quebec on the northern side.

Although the rollout is initially uphill, the road flattens after a mile before descending ever so gently to four miles where a stream crosses under the road into a small lake on the left as the road hangs a right. The highway then remains flat past Barbut Creek at six miles and again at seven miles where the creek flows into the Ottawa River.

At eight miles, where Brent Road heads south at a left hand bend, the road climbs up and over a headland that overlooks the river. That drops down into the small community of Head at eleven miles, and for the mile or so after that, the road runs east on a causeway on reclaimed land with the river on both sides. Beyond the causeway, Antler’s Kingfisher Lodge sits on the left hand side of the road next to the river, and it’s there that the major climb of the stage gets its act together. It’s a lumpy affair, especially after the first (false) summit at fourteen miles, and although the road runs lumpy flat for a mile after that, the climb resumes at fifteen miles before eventually peaking at seventeen miles at Gibson Creek which sits high up on the hill on either side of the road, connected by a stream that runs north/south under it.

Over the top, there are two more false summits before the descents kicks in for real at nineteen miles, then having done all the hard work going up, the stage promptly descends to its second lowest elevation at the finish approaching the small town of Bissett Creek to the east of Bernard Lake.

Distance: 22 miles / 35 kilometres

Ascent: 1020 feet / 311 metres

RGT Magic Road: MxYM4BT9gKVy

Total distance: 21.97 mi
Max elevation: 1034 ft
Min elevation: 510 ft
Total climbing: 1021 ft
Total descent: -1116 ft

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