My First Climb of Mont Mégantic… On a bike!

Posted on July 15, 2019

I had the special honour of discovering Mont-Mégantic National Park when I participated in the Canada Xtreme event last year. I couldn’t wait to return to this peaceful environment and its eclectic, always luxuriant nature.

I was quite restless and, I must admit, a bit nervous as the date of my activity was rapidly approaching, notably because of the challenge I had given myself. My objective? To cycle up, for the first time, the Mont-Mégantic route, one of the most difficult routes, if not THE most difficult one in all of Quebec. The route offers an ascension of a bit more than 5 km for an elevation of 550 metres. It’s really something!

Before My Challenge, a Visit to the Astrolab

Before I start out, visiting the Astrolab seemed to be a must. Everything all around us here is so fascinating! The lab presenter piqued my curiosity with his general questions, but also with his more specific ones concerning the moon, the earth and the sun. I was lucky enough to be among the first to view the new movie Emergence: cosmic evolution, which tells the story of how the universe was created and how life developed on earth. I was truly impressed!

1,2,3 … Go!

After some pedalling on the road leading to the park, the time had now come to get started. As soon as the climb begins, the route continues on an 18-degree slope. It was, for sure, one of the most demanding sections. This being said, by following our own beat, it isn’t really that hard, at least for a well-trained cyclist!

When I arrived at the top, I visited the observatory and could easily understand why this dark sky reserve is the pride of the region. I promised myself to come back at night on one of the evening observation outings.

As I began to head back down, I could hear Mont St-Joseph calling out to me. I almost doubled back up the distance and the elevation I had reached, by taking a short detour that led to its top. I must say, it was the perfect day for this type activity; the weather was just right, not too hot, not too cold, and the view from the top was well worth the effort! Each time I pushed hard on the pedals I was greatly rewarded! Overall, the surface was superb, with only a few potholes I had to really watch out for as I sped down the mountain.

Once I was back in the village where I started my challenge, I headed to Piopolis, a town certified Coeur Villageois, where I had a bite to eat at the Resto Pub Au Soleil Levant, overlooking the lake; It was pure bliss!

This wasn’t my first visit to Mégantic, and it certainly will not be my last! For my next project, I plan to go for a swim in the lake after having completed my bike ride. I foresee much more fun ahead, I can’t wait!

Jessica Belisle's trip is part of this tour.

Photos : Ian Roberge

Jessica Belisle

I am a math teacher, endurance cyclist and recent triathlete who came to sports relatively late in life. Through my travels and adventures, I’ve accumulated cycling and human experiences and explored some of the most beautiful regions of Quebec, Canada and Europe. Recently, I relocated to the Eastern Townships and have been enjoying riding the quiet country roads of this supremely bike-friendly region. It is with great pleasure that, through a series of short posts, I will be sharing highlights from my new home.
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