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Stage 720 – Sainte Anne de Madawaska to Grand Falls

More of the same with a wee twist in the tail is the name of the game for stage 720. The stage is big, again, with lots of climbing and lots of descending, but whereas the previous stage saved most of the pain for the second half, this one chucks it at you relentlessly throughout the whole stage. There is no flat road on it, and to be honest, it’s a bit of a beast. The route is south east along Highway 2 following the St John River on the Canadian side of the border but then crossing it late on whilst still remaining in Canada: that’s because at Grand Falls, the border no longer hogs the river and instead runs directly south to Grand Lake over a hundred miles away.

The rollout is initially uphill but the road descends after half a mile to cross the Grande Riviere River after three miles: it’s the lowest point on a stage that still has over a thousand feet of climbing up its sleeve. As the road climbs, it arrives in Saint Leonard at five miles: it looks across the St John River to Van Buren on the US side of the border. There’s more water at six miles where the highway descends to cross Coombes Brook close to where it flows into the St John.

The road then snakes left and right slightly away from the St John River, and as it does so, it climbs further, crossing Mill Stream in a dip at eight miles before resuming the climb and reaching the highest point on the stage at nine miles after crossing Albert Road high up on the hill: it runs straight down the hill to route 144 at the river.

Highway 2 remains on the northern side of the St John River until Grand Falls at fifteen miles. Following a lumpy six mile descent off the summit, the highway curves right and crosses the river on the western side of town. After the crossing, the Grand Falls Golf Club sits on the right hand side of the road and runs up to the US border, which has now become a land border. I don’t think you want to go out of bounds there without carrying your passport.

With the road now heading south, it curves left at Grand Falls Portage (at eighteen miles) after yet another steep climb, before swinging back the other way and descending on a sweeping right hander before rising once more ahead of the finish at the junction with Highway 130.

Distance: 22 miles / 35 kilometres

Ascent: 1086 feet / 331 metres

RGT Magic Road: ovrsUQHg5jU1

Total distance: 22.47 mi
Max elevation: 826 ft
Min elevation: 539 ft
Total climbing: 1085 ft
Total descent: -1160 ft
Download file: Stage 720 - Around The World In 800 Days.gpx

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