Sure, this title might not really work in French, but hey, poetic license. This past Sunday was slated as a BIG ride day for months. Waaaay back in the throes of winter I was looking over my backroads map book of the Outaouais when I noticed a park between Wakefield and Mont Tremblant I'd never heard of: Papineau-Labelle nature reserve. The reserve is absent from google maps, adding to its wilderness mystique. I figured we might as well schedule a point to point from Ottawa to Tremblant through the reserve, knocking off a new randonnee style ride through altogether new terrain.
Fast forward to last week. I'd put out reminders for a while, and secured a number of compatriots to share the ride with. All were prepared to head pretty much blind to Tremblant, trusting me to come up with a route we could survive. Unfortunately, the plan came apart at the seams when we failed to secure enough car rides back from Tremblant, as a return trip by bike didn't really seem like a good idea. Thus, the plan was revised: we'd do a route to and around Papineau-Labelle, taking in a bunch of new roads.
Zoom to Saturday morning, up early after having spent a couple hours pouring over maps of the reserve, plotting a potential route of 185k. Pascal indicated he'd like to go scope out the entrance, so off we went at 9:30 to drive to the park. A couple hours later, we'd had two conversations with the park official at the Val des Bois entrance, driven to Lac Echo, and pretty thoroughly scoped the scenario. It didn't take long before we were talking about which tires we'd run - the biggest we could - as the dirt road were, in a word, raw. As Pascal so aptly put it, the roads were not so much 'road-plus' as 'mountain bike-minus." Due to the lack of potable water anywhere in the reserve, we'd have to park at Lac Echo, ride as long as our water would carry us, return, re-fuel, and ride more. This was definitely sounding like more of a mtb ride than an all-road one. Plus, the drive would be 1.5 hours each way. I think we both arrived at the same conclusion at almost the same moment: pull the chute. We agreed that time could be better spent riding, or, as it would turn out, Depanneuring!
Stay tuned for the rest, with photos and map!