Having finally made the turn at the end of 715, stage 716 really gets it act together in making tracks south east across northern Alberta, heading for the border with New Brunswick and keeping the US international border a full twenty miles to the south. The stage is a climber, and a big one at that. Any stage that moves away from the coast (and the St Lawrence River is a coastal seaway) throws up a challenge in that regard and this one is no different. The lowest elevation is in the pen at the start of the ride and it throws up almost fifteen hundred feet of climbing before reaching the summit three miles from the finish. The good news, if there is any, is that the last mile is downhill.
The rollout is straight, uphill and south east for two miles to a gentle right hander that crosses two small streams before running straight to cross the Autoroute Claude-Bechard (Route 85) close to Lac Hickson at four miles. At the crossover point, the Chemin de Riviere-Verte Highway (that’s the ATW road for the early part of the stage) curves right before R85 then hangs a sharp left afterwards before running alongside or on its bigger brother for the remainder of the stage.
It wouldn’t be a Canadian stage of Around The World without water and this one does not disappoint. Having crossed a couple of small streams early on, the road crosses the Riviere Verte flowing south to north (that’s right to left under the road) at five miles before passing by the Lac a Chamard on the other side (left) of Route 85 at nine miles where the gradient actually flattens out for a couple of miles. Immediately after Lac a Chamard, the road crosses the Riviere des Roches which flows north west from Lac du Dentiste on the right hand side of the highway at ten miles.
As the road climbs further, there’s more water at twelve miles in the shape of the Ruisseau a Castorguay which is another right to left affair on its way to the St Lawrence River. The road then bends right/left/right as it makes its way around a bunch of small lakes, the most prominent of which is Lac a Tremblay at sixteen miles. By now the route has joined the Claude-Bechard Route 185 Autoroute and it remains on there until eighteen miles where it heads straight on onto the Route Gerard-Roy while R20 hangs a gentle left to form a dual carriageway.
The road is now straight and heading east and as it climbs to cross Highway 291 south of Saint Honore de Temiscouta, it achieves the highest point on the stage. Over the summit, the road passes by Lac a Rene and Lac a Rosaire on the left before curving gently right and running downhill to the finish approaching Riviere Bleue.
Distance: 23 miles / 37 kilometres
Ascent: 1463 feet / 446 metres
RGT Magic Road: OPTsDTXaJxMJ
Max elevation: 1503 ft
Min elevation: 335 ft
Total climbing: 1464 ft
Total descent: -668 ft
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