Have you taken a look at the latest issue of Canadian Cycling Magazine? Look what's inside:
Yep, that's our green bastard team on last year's Ride of the Damned, David, Rob, Todd and Rodd. I'm pretty sure I took the photo. I caught wind that the mag was putting together an article on cycling in Gatineau Park and looking for photos of road riding, so I sent them a couple from the RotD. I was pleased, though not entirely surprised, to see they ran this one with the covered bridge in the frame. Its certainly an iconic feature of the Gatineau Park. Grab a copy of the mag, its certainly Canada's best cycling publication. Ok, now on to my recon report.
I made it out for a ride in the wind Wednesday afternoon after two days off following the weekend's classics recon. While the legs felt fresh, I lacked motivation to push hard into the wind, so I didn't. Instead, I took the opportunity to scope out a few chunks of path and road we typically use for Cascades-Wakefield romps.
First up was the bike/recreational path through Lac Leamy. This path allows us to avoid St. Joseph or the highway on the east side of the Gatineau River as we roll toward Cantley. Aside from a section of overflow ice under a bridge along the path, the route from Jacques Cartier Park to St. Joseph is mostly snow and ice free. It is completely rideable with treaded tires, perhaps slightly sketchy in a couple places with slicks. Totally navigable though.
I had a nice narrative drafted from here on, but lost it last night when Safari froze on me. So I'll do the rest of this quick and dirty.
The Chamonix neighborhood's dirt roads are in great shape. Oslo's steep climb is not too loose, and the descent to Clark is as good as ever. Clark usually retains ice in shady spots, but is now ice free.
Cross Loop is undergoing construction near the entrance from the Wakefield end, but the construction seems to be around the road, not on the road, presumably for the highway 105 extension. The Loop is hardpacked; watch out for pointy embedded rocks along the way.
The trail running from Pine road into Gatineau Park is still under about 4-6 inches of snow. It'll be a two or three weeks until the trails are clear and dried out.
The bike path running from Mine Rd. toward the Parkway is partially covered in about 3 inches of snow, but was all rideable. Its going quickly. I accessed the Parkway at the bottom of Pink Lake from this path, and was not surprised to find the Parkway patched with snow. Again, it was all rideable. There is 3-6 inches from the base of Pink to the gate, with significant clear areas. Its melting well, and shouldn't be too long now. Sections on Fortune and Black usually take the longest to melt.
The bike path from the gate dropping down to Tache is still snow covered, as its mostly covered.
Back on the Ottawa side, I was pleased to find the bike path from the Arboritum through Pinecrest Creek good to go, with only a couple tiny patches of snow that might already be gone. Things are rolling, spring is here.