In July, several of my competitions were held in Quebec. This gave me a great opportunity to visit some of the most wonderful mountain biking trails our “Belle Province” has to offer. We filled up the car and cruised along the roads all month long, trying to win a few races and discover magnificent places!
Here are the four regions and five trail networks I was able to travel across.
For several years now, I have taken part in the Mont Tremblant Canada Cup. Since the route always sticks to the ski hill, my knowledge of the trails was limited to that particular area. However, a friend recently introduced me to another network that runs along the Diable River and Montée Ryan. These trails vary in difficulty, but they offer something to please every member of the family. They clearly get regular maintenance and are constantly being expanded. There are a few wooden bridges (some more narrow than others!), some trails with jumps, but mostly just a lot of wonderful singletracks that are scattered with rocks and roots but nevertheless allow for an unhindered ride.
This network offers a greater change in elevation compared to those of most other mountains in the Laurentians. This means a few more climbs, but mostly longer descents—which are always very much appreciated!
The Chantecler and 40/80
The Chantecler is my home network. This is where I do most of my training on trails. In general, it offers several short climbs and descents, a lot of fast and fluid turns, and guaranteed fun! Located in the beautiful town of Sainte-Adèle, this network is very well maintained and offers free admission with clearly marked trails, making it easy for you to find your way around.
If you’re looking for a few more thrills, there is a new option available near the mountain at the Chantecler! Just about a five-minute ride away is the summit of Pentes 40-80, where three downhill trails have recently been cleared. I often finish up my training sessions on one of these slopes for a wonderful end to my day!
East Hereford’s Circuits Frontières
In the last week of July, I took part in the Marathon Canadian Championship in East Hereford. I had never before pedalled in this region but now, having gone the race’s 82 km, I must admit that I’ve fallen for its trails, even though they gave me leg cramps!
Located about an hour east of Sherbrooke, East Hereford is a rather small town; the Circuits Frontières network (dedicated to mountain biking) is probably its most popular attraction. Whether you’re seeking accessible and relaxing trails, undulating routes through the forest, or abrupt and uneven descents, you’ll find what you’re looking for… along with the beautiful views the region has to offer. I strongly encourage you to take your mountain bike out to East Hereford!
I had been hearing about this network for years, but I just spent two days there for the very first time. I must say I really wasn’t disappointed!
First of all, the trails are very well maintained. It’s also easy to find your way around, even on your first visit, thanks to the maps and signs posted at each intersection. Given this, I felt that the small admission fee was very well worth it. There is also a bike shop on site, as well as a hotel and a good little restaurant that has recently been renovated.
Vallée Bras-du-Nord has two networks: the Saint-Raymond and Shannahan sectors.
On our first day, we started out with the Saint-Raymond sector, as it is closer to the town of Saint-Raymond. This smaller network runs over one mountain (Mont Laura), which you climb using two or three different access trails so you can then enjoy some wonderful, fast descents. My two-hour outing gave me a chance to cover all of the trails. Some of the descents were so exciting, I would have been happy to do them over and over again! Since the climbs are quite accessible and not very long, this is a great place to practice your descent skills. This made for a great day, which we capped off with a delicious meal on the patio at Le Roquemont resto-pub.
We then drove the 22 km that separated us from the Shannahan network, camping there overnight (several camping options are available). This network is completely different: unlike those in the Saint-Raymond sector, each of the trails here is quite long. We began our ride along a 9 km access road leading to the Nelson trail, which is the network’s most popular. This climb proved to be the perfect warm-up for the 10 km of singletrack along the Nelson, a magnificent, mostly descending trail that runs along the river, offering spectacular views. We continued our ride, enjoying some of the other trails. After about three hours, we had travelled each of the trails without ever covering the same ground twice!
Verdict: very positive!
Tobo-Ski Network in Saint-Félicien
Over thirty kilometres of trails await you at the Centre de vélo de montagne Saint-Félicien, also known as Tobo-Ski. The most striking feature of this network is “Les Crans”: several trails on the summit of the mountain, on its rocky capes. In late July, you can even stop to pick blueberries. There is a little bike park where you can work on more specific skills, with wider forested paths linking each of the singletracks. Whether you are a beginner or a more seasoned rider, the mountain has a lot to offer, and I think each member of the family will leave satisfied. There’s even a treetop aerial course for those who don’t ride!
There are many more regions in Quebec where I have not yet had a chance to go mountain biking, but I can assure you that those I have just mentioned are well worth it. In the last few years, I have had the opportunity to ride my bike in places all around the world, but I must admit that I feel very lucky to be from Quebec, where I can practice my favourite sport. Each time I come back to our “Belle Province,” I feel quite fortunate to have access to such wonderful trails that are varied, well designed, and challenging!
Enjoy your adventure!