Sing it with me: “I would drive 950 km, just to drive 950 more. Just to be the guy who drove 1900 kilometres to ride for (not quite) 34.” Not quite as catchy as the original, is it? Plus, I only really rode about 31km.
For those of you who don’t know, Mont Saint Anne is a gorgeous resort area just outside of Quebec City in Beaupré. It is also the only North American stop for the UCI Mountainbike World Cup (Take that Whistler!). The resort boasts both 110 km of cross country trails and 25 km of downhill trails served by a single lift. My goal was to get at least a small taste of what they had to offer.
Early on a Sunday morning, I packed my car full of all the gear, gadgets, and snacks I could fit and set off on the 10-hour drive. After a surprisingly small number of coffee breaks, I arrived in Mont-Sainte-Anne just in time to see the sunset. I checked into my hotel and tried to get some rest so I could hit as many trails as possible the next morning.
It is amazing how easy it is to wake up when you actually want to be doing something! I started the coffee maker and started chowing down on a very nutritious breakfast while reviewing the massive map I had picked up the night before.
After stuffing my face with way too many danishes, I rode over to the main office and picked up my trail pass. The attendant in the office recommended I start with La Boutteaboutte, so off I headed to get started. Or so I thought, turns out I had barely even started and I was already lost. While the trails are well marked, for the most part, I seemed to have trouble navigating them and this would just be the first of many times I had to pull out the map.
La Boutteaboutte turned out to be a massive challenge for my legs. The mixture of not being used to climbs that last longer than 100 metres and the fact that it had poured rain the night before turning parts of the trail to mud bogs ensured that I was in the pain cave as soon as I started riding. The whole climb up, I kept thinking about how much more fun it would be to ride it back down. So that’s exactly what I did, instead of climbing more.
The descent of La Boutteaboutte had me hooked. The perfect mix of smooth manicured features, natural roots and rocks, and awesome boardwalks over gorgeous rivers kept me entertained and hollering the whole way down.
I won’t describe every single trail in detail, but here’s the summary of my day in Mont-Sainte-Anne:
- Lots of climbing (at least for a boy from the flat part of Ontario).
- Lots of fun descents.
- Lots of challenges (I’ll openly admit that I walked a fair amount of the climbs. I can’t wait to go back and see how I’ve progressed).
- Way too many trails for just one day. Next time I am going to go for a week so I can try as many trails as possible as well as rip up the ones I love as many times as possible.
If anyone is looking to go to Mont-Sainte-Anne later this summer, let me know if you have extra room in your car!