There isn’t a direct route that starts where stage 733 ended and finishes where 734 ends, so there’s a bit of meandering required on this stage to make sure that the destination is where it needs to be. Basically, that means a great big loop that finishes on a roughly straight line as the crow flies from the start towards Truro which is the next big milestone after Moncton. The stage is also a climber: the first half is mainly downhill while the second half is predominantly uphill, and especially towards the finish: it’s the worst kind of stage because you can see what’s coming all the way through the fun descent.
Despite being initially uphill, the rollout quickly switches mode into a descent that’s gathers pace and gradient as Highway 104 approaches Salt Springs after three miles. There, the road swings left and runs past Black Lake, Slade Lake and Vickery Lake to a curving right hander that passes by Salt Lake on the approach to the River Philip at ten miles. The crossing is the lowest elevation of the stage and the signal for twelve miles of pain thereafter. To the north of the junction lies the town of Oxford and to the south the community of Oxford Junction: the river flows through both heading south to north before emerging into the open sea at Port Howe twenty five miles north of Oxford..
The climb from ten miles to the finish, which incidentally is also the highest point on the stage, is lumpy and comes in segments. The first segment bends right as it climbs before levelling off to thirteen miles. There, a much steeper, albeit shorter climb kicks in before it too flattens out as the road approaches the left/right combo at Birchwood where the highway briefly dips to cross the Pugwash River. A second crossing then ensues at sixteen miles, that of Burntland Brook, and between the two waterways is a brief up/down.
The road rises further from Burntland Brook before descending once more, albeit higher than before to cross Tillits Creek at eighteen miles and sadly, that’s the end of the respite. Highway 104 passes to the west of Atkinson at nineteen miles and despite crossing more streams, continues to climb all the way to the finish approaching Westchester Valley high up on the hill.
Distance: 22 miles / 35 kilometres
Distance: 23 miles / 37 kilometres
Ascent: 764 feet / 233 metres
RGT Magic Road: 6uBVbmhD6xZq
Max elevation: 297 ft
Min elevation: -121 ft
Total climbing: 764 ft
Total descent: -673 ft
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