Around The World is now within a stage of Quebec so it’ll be very interesting to see where the next stage goes, and the one after that. The northern tip of Maine (USA) is still half a dozen stages away so what happens after Quebec will be crucial to the remaining stages in Canada, and indeed the ongoing route to Halifax, Nova Scotia where the North American leg ends. Stage 709 is relatively flat and would have even flatter if it weren’t for the Riviere Bourret at halfway: it accounts for the vast majority of the four hundred feet of climbing that the stage has to offer, although the climb up from the river is actually longer and higher than the descent.
The rollout is gently downhill and lumpy, crossing the Riviere du Petit Saut twice in the first three miles as Highway 226 swings left/right/left to Sainte Croix. On arriving in the town after four miles, H1226 comes to a T junction with Highway 132. Left is clearly wrong because that’s heading back down the St Lawarence River in the wrong direction: so right it is then. H132 is the new H226 and the route hugs the riverbank to the remainder of the stage.
There’s water again after five miles when the road crosses the Riviere du Petit Saut for the third time, close to where it flows into the St Lawrence River. By then the highway has also crossed a number of other small streams and passed by Plage Maurice after seven miles. But the stage is dominated by the Riviere Bourret and it’s really just a case of waiting for the descent to begin at eight miles. It’s gentle at first but really gets its act together at nine miles before crossing the river a mile later. However no sooner is the crossing done and dusted than karma begins on the other side. The incline is steep from miles ten to eleven, putting on a hundred and fifty feet. Things then settle down a little but the climb continues as a slog through Saint Antoine de Tilly and onwards all the way to fifteen miles and the highest elevation on the stage.
Off the top, there’s respite to nineteen miles but then the road rises again, albeit gently, to the finish in Saint Nicolas on the Route Marie-Victorin close to the junction with Rue Marguerite Demers.
Distance: 21 miles / 34 kilometres
Ascent: 466 feet / 142 metres
RGT Magic Road: Zsg6jtpr7x2B
Max elevation: 330 ft
Min elevation: 90 ft
Total climbing: 457 ft
Total descent: -452 ft