Quebec Singletrack Experience Stage 4 – CFB Valcartier in Charge
by Paul Craig
August 03, 2017 (Valcartier, Que.) – The organizers of the Quebec Singletrack Experience continue to impress on Stage 4 with remarkable trails and race venues. Today’s stage was held entirely at Canadian Forces Base Valcartier. With military helicopters buzzing overheard and gunfire in the distance we were fully immersed in what seemed like a military exercise.
Bikes racked © Paul Craig
At 24km, the short stage was filled with punchy climbs and twisty singletrack. As a B.C. boy I’m used to my twisty singletrack descending down the side of a mountain. However in today’s race the trail weaved across the forest floor. Numerous Ontario riders indicated that it was just like home and they were absolutely flying over this terrain. A nice touch were cadet volunteers that were stationed at many of the corners. They saluted and cheered as we passed yelling allez, allez. The stage ended with a stretch of military convoy road. For the “diesel” riders in the race this was their chance to show their stuff. The powerful riders were able to battle the crosswind and make time on some of their lightweight climber-rivals.
Beach finish © Paul Craig
My race went as planned, starting in the “A” group and immediately joining the usual suspects Bevin, Mark and Bill as we attacked the climbs at CFB Valcatier. A mid-race split saw Mark and Bevin get a small gap on Bill and I. We maintained our tempo and later were able to see Mark and Bevin ride right underneath us as we rode across a flyover. As we exited the singletrack we knew we had time to make up and Jim was just the guy to do it. We spent the next few kilometers in a full blown Team Time Trial blowing by Solo riders that were unable to match our pace. The four of us rolled across the finish line knowing that once again that we had accomplished something together that exceeded anything we could have done individually.
Lunch on the dock…nice © Paul Craig
The post-stage atmosphere was amazing. The short stage left riders some energy for swimming, kayaking and an even a few cannonballs of the end of the dock. We were served up a first class meal by the folks at the Centre Castor and there was free beer from Boréale. Even the event staff got caught up in the festive atmosphere as had a chance to go for a swim. The high point of the post-race party was a low level hover of a military helicopter over the lake just meters from the shore. On a day where temperatures were topping 30°C the breeze and mist kicked up by the choppers prop wash was as cooling as it was thrilling.
Ariane takes dip © Paul Craig
Our evening finished with a dinner at the cruise ship terminal on the banks of the St. Lawrence River. The food was plentiful and delicious including an appetizer course with salads, chicken wraps and roast beef on a baguette. This was followed by a main course of beef with mushroom sauce over rice with fresh vegetables. Finally deserts including chocolate cake and apple crumble. Beer and wine were available for those who were still in the party mood following our afternoon at the lake. Following dinner riders moved to the terrace to watch the fireworks show on the St. Lawrence River. A perfect party ending to a very fun day.
Military helicopter © Paul Craig
We are now “over the hump” with four days behind us and only three days to go. The next stage promises some of the best trails of the entire week at Lac-Beauport. Some of these trails will be ridden by the public for the first time and will also include one trail that has been specially built just for this event.
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