East Bound and Down: Quebec, Canada

Jul 27, 2016 at 11:41
by Brice Shirbach  
East Bound and Down

Views: 10,773    Faves: 53    Comments: 3


I couldn't help but to notice the dichotomy between the line of cars entering America from Canada, and Canada from the States. Well, there wasn't really one at all on the southbound side, but the wait at the gate was more than half an hour for those of us headed north. I was spending my July 4th on the road, headed to our neighbors up north to spend the week exploring the various trail networks that surround Quebec City. When the Canadian Customs agent asked me why there were two bikes on the back of my car, but only one person inside, I gave pause before telling her I wasn't really sure what I was going to be getting myself into, so I had a spare bike just in case things go wrong; an admittedly very "first world problems preparedness" approach. She cracked a smile and welcomed me to Canada.

East Bound and Down Quebec City
Ville de Quebec.

There are a few things that stand out when you arrive in Canada's largest province. First, the road signs are decidedly useless to anyone outside of the Quebecois, a handful of Ontarians, and of course, actual French people. Fortunately, the people here are remarkably friendly and are more than accommodating to uninformed 'Mericans such as myself, which was another thing that stood out. Additionally, while the hills don't rise to quite the same height as those found throughout Quebec's west coast cousins in Alberta and British Columbia, or even those south of the border in places like New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York, it is a beautiful, ancient landscape whose glacial origins are abundantly clear as you scan the horizon. Closer to the city, architecture that dates as far back as the 17th century which, along with the fortified wall that surrounds Old Quebec, explains the UNESCO World Heritage designation. There's also a clean, manicured impression that seems to come naturally to Quebec. Maybe it has something to do with the precipitous population dropoff as you venture further north into the province and there are less people available to make a mess of things, but it's clear that this is a part of the world that takes pride in its presentation.

East Bound and Down Quebec City
A must-have Quebec institution: poutine.

As the last cradle of French culture remaining in North America, Quebec has a distinctively European feel to it despite being just a couple of hours north of the American border. Throughout the entire province, though especially in the capital city itself, there's an idiosyncratic aesthetic that sets the region apart from the rest of Canada. One of the oldest cities in all of North America, Quebec combines an old world beauty with an active local contingent, and a forward thinking approach to tourism that makes for one of the most comprehensive adventure destinations in the country. The city of 750,000 hosts up to 5,000,000 visitors annually, making tourism, of which 30,000 jobs are directly linked to, an important economic driver for the region. Mountain biking, as it turns out, is poised to play a major role for the area moving forward.

East Bound and Down Quebec City
The ladies of Sentiers du Moulin getting some last light shredding in.

East Bound and Down Quebec City
Will from the Free Radicals guinea pigs a new drop on a new trail at Saint Raymond.
East Bound and Down Quebec City
Some of the LB Cycles boys get in line on their new LBC-2 trail.

My week in Quebec would be spent exploring three regions that surround Quebec City: the Saint Raymond sector of the Vallee Bras du Nord network, Sentiers du Moulin in Lac Beauport, and Mont-Sainte-Anne. Together, the three networks have formed an alliance in part with Quebec City tourism called the Quebec Destination Velo de Montagne, or in English, the Quebec Mountain Bike Destination. Joining me on my adventure would be Ontario natives turned BC locals, Will Cadham and Mark Taylor, who together make up half of the Free Radicals group of van life pinners. Also along for the ride was Northman Insurance's, Nick Van Egmond, a regular among the east coast enduro race scene, and my Canadian translator for the trip. We had the good fortune to stay at the home of NS Bikes factory rider, Franck Kirscher and his wife Sylvie for the first portion of our trip. This would prove to be not only an incredibly generous gesture on their part, but very convenient for us as they were just north of Quebec City in the town of Sainte-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier, just 15 minutes from the Saint Raymond trail head and 30 from Sentiers du Moulin.

East Bound and Down Quebec City
Will and Mark drive around the world in a van, but they still appreciate time together on wall rides as well.



Vallee Bras du Nord: The Saint Raymond Sector



East Bound and Down Quebec City
Mark, the other half of the Free Radicals, sends 'er at Saint Raymond.

While the Vallee Bras du Nord has been receiving some well-earned media attention over the last couple of years, it's been the Shannahan sector and particularly the Neilson trail that has been getting most of the love. That makes perfect sense too, as that may very well be one of the best trails anywhere on the planet. But the Saint Raymond network of Valle Bras du Nord is ready to shine after years of hard work and scores of volunteers have helped to develop a truly progressive set of gravity fed trails that are 30 minutes closer to Quebec City than its northerly sibling. The vast majority of the trails found here are on private property with the exception of a section towards the summit by the Chapel Mt-Laura, and trails found on the ski resort property, which is actually owned by the town. There's even a section called “Swiss Mountain”, which features over 10 km of (incredibly fun) singletrack on a single parcel of private property. Tommy Paquet spent two years on the board of directors for the Vallee Bras du Nord, and is one of Saint Raymond's primary trail builders and ambassadors. He's also one of the landowners whose own property houses a large chunk of the trails found here.

East Bound and Down Quebec City
Post ride snacks at Hotel Roquefort.
East Bound and Down Quebec City
Will takes the un-chicken line.

East Bound and Down Quebec City
Saint Raymond trail builder, Tommy Paquet was more than excited to show us what they have in Vallee Bra du Nord.

"I was born and raised 2 km down this road in Saint Raymond." he tells me during a break from riding. We're sprawled across his backyard drinking water and listening intently as Tommy shares a bit of local trail history with us. "That’s where I grew up. I have been building trails for about 10 years. When I was a kid, I used to use all of these trails for motocross. That’s how I became familiar with the area. Afterwards, when I had to ask for permissions from the landowners, they all knew who I was. Fortunately, I wasn’t a bad kid which made it easier for them to allow me to use their trails."

East Bound and Down Quebec City
Tommy discusses the history of the region during a break in his backyard.
East Bound and Down Quebec City
Who wouldn't want their home to be smack in the center of some of the finest Canadian singletrack you can find?

The aluminum factory machine operator by trade has seen this place evolve from a network of motocross come social mountain biking trails, into a growing network that truly has something for every type of rider. "In 2005 we invited the guys from Valle Bras du Nord to start building some trails here. They actually spent some time at the Kingdom Trails down in Vermont and were inspired by what they had done, so they figured they could do the same here and began to build some XC mountain bike trails. The town of Saint Raymond injected some money into the trails as well, and as a result, the residents or taxpayers are free to use the trails however they please. It really encouraged people in the area to go and use the trails, and that in turn has really helped a lot of area businesses to grow."

East Bound and Down Quebec City
Tommy and the boys en route to his aforementioned trailside home.

East Bound and Down Quebec City
Did he ride it out?
East Bound and Down Quebec City
Well, did he??

The over 26 km of trail here utilize a modest amount of vertical, man-made and natural features, and offer up beautiful views of a staggered landscape of hills, rivers and quaint towns in the distance. Much of the manpower behind several build days has actually come from a surprising and innovative source as Tommy explains. "We have a really cool social reintegration program for at-risk youth here as well. We get them out on the trails helping with building and maintaining. 85% of them come back after the program to continue to help with the trails. It’s been really good for the community. I think it has probably saved several lives since the program began."

East Bound and Down Quebec City
The gate at the top of Mont Laura is closed to cars, but not bikes.



Sentiers du Moulin



East Bound and Down Quebec City
Stephanie Morneau owns Cafe Noisette which is across the street from Sentiers du Moulin, and counts herself as one of the business owners who are eager to see what trail development does for the region.
East Bound and Down Quebec City
Pre-ride or post, the espresso at Noisette is on point.

"We got bored with the kinds of trails we had in the area for so many years," Alex Roy says between bites during a lunch break from riding. "We wanted to put some stuff in that was similar to what you might find in BC." He is explaining the layout of Sentiers du Moulin, a network of primarily advanced trails just a few minutes north of Quebec City, located in Lac Beauport. Alex is a part of the contingent of trail builders and riders in the area known as LB Cycle, who are largely responsible for the cultivation and development of trails in and around Lac Beauport. "It’s funny, because we were told by SDM that there was a section of the mountain that was too steep for them to build nordic or hiking trails on but that if we wanted to, we could use it for whatever we’d like. I was like, 'Wow, this is the best part of the mountain!' It’s steep and has these cool slick rocks. It reminded me of North Vancouver. Last summer, we built LBC-1. Lots of people came from all over the place to ride the trail and they loved it. Earlier this spring SDM asked us if we could build another trail, so we went and built LBC-2."

East Bound and Down Quebec City
The modest structure that greets riders at Les Sentiers du Moulin belies the amazing trails that surround it.

East Bound and Down Quebec City
Hey look! Trailforks being put to good use!
East Bound and Down Quebec City
Alex is certainly looking forward to some upgrades in the near future.

East Bound and Down Quebec City
Did he ride it out?
East Bound and Down Quebec City
Mark Taylor leads the way down a step series of slabs and drops.

The trails that Alex and company are responsible for have proved a hit among both the local contingent and virtually everyone who has made the trip to the region to ride. So much so, that the Quebec City tourism council has deemed Sentiers du Moulin an appropriate landing spot for some serious financial assistance. Alex Lemerise, the managing director at SDM, is with us and is understandably excited about the support they're receiving from Quebec City. "Because we’re 20 minutes from Quebec City," Alex says. "The office of tourism told us that they want to include mountain biking as a primary focus for their efforts over the next few years. They gave us $200,000 that we used to build 15 km of new trails. This is a place with lots of very active people. On the roads you’ll see people running and riding road bikes, but yeah we have a pretty big mountain bike community here as well. There’s a lot of XC skiing here in the winter, but over the last 3 years, some guys in the area have been interested in using the mountain to build mountain bike trails. It just makes sense to have these trails built on our property."

East Bound and Down Quebec City
Alexe Lacroix is the founder of the local women's mountain bike club.
East Bound and Down Quebec City
The ladies in a hard-charging train toward the bottom of the mountain.

East Bound and Down Quebec City
Two of the area's latest and greatest trails, LBC-1 and LBC-2, intersect midway down and again at the very bottom.

"All of the trails on SDM are public," Alex continues. "But we’d like to start getting permissions from private landowners to begin developing trails on private properties, similar to how it works down in East Burke (Vermont). I think that the people in our town (Lac Beauport) have seen now that we can build some really good trails, and the city wants to be known as a cycling destination. Long-term, we’d like for it to be a lot like what the Kingdom Trails Association is for East Burke."

East Bound and Down Quebec City
Will gets lippy at the first of several steep rock rolls on LBC-2.

East Bound and Down Quebec City
Alexe Lacroix started the women's group with the main goal of helping women ride as much as possible and helping them discover new trails around Quebec city.

East Bound and Down Quebec City
Benoit Paradis parties down the trail before eventually hosting a party on his deck later in the day.

The East Burke comparison is an interesting one, in part because as far the big pictures goes, Quebec City and its surrounding areas have a massive population compared to the sparsely occupied hometown of the Kingdom Trails. Additionally, while there is the Burke Mountain bike park, the vast majority of the Kingdom Trails are smooth, flowy and roller coaster fast, while much of the trails that surround Quebec City are steep, deep and quite a bit more technical. Still, riders from both Quebec and Vermont trade places often, and do in fact seem to enjoy a plebeian relationship. While the miles found in East Burke aren't quite available in any of the singular regions that make up this triumvirate, it's a combination that in time could very well rival any riding destination found elsewhere in North America.

East Bound and Down Quebec City
Rudy Girard with a right hook towards the bottom of LBC-1.

East Bound and Down Quebec City
Alex Roy discusses the evolution of the trails at Sentiers du Moulin over some nachos and burgers.
East Bound and Down Quebec City
The aforementioned burger.

East Bound and Down Quebec City
The aforementioned deck party.

"We have this great alliance with Mont-Sainte-Anne and Valle Bras du Nord as well," Alex Roy tells me as we wrap up our lunch and get ready to do some more riding. "And we want to continue to develop that over the next few years. It would be great to attract people from other parts of North America and even Europe. What we have is really fun, but we want people to come spend many days here, and so we just need to keep building trails. We need to put some progressive style trails in, with some small features for young riders. We have a hard mountain with a tough climb that you have to go up in order to ride down some of these trails. We’re pooling some significant financial and volunteer resources along with the other two locations to make the alliance valuable to Quebec City and the surrounding areas. The trails here are not like ones found in BC with huge mountains. We have smaller mountains with lots of rocks, so we have really technical trails. Even our 'easy trails' are not very easy. We know what we have and who we are, and we embrace it."

East Bound and Down Quebec City
Will blasts across the bridge that kicks things off for LBC-2.
East Bound and Down Quebec City
Carolanne Gariepy floats over some rocks during a QC MTB Girls group ride.



Mont-Sainte-Anne



East Bound and Down Quebec City
Will flattens out a hip on La Yable.

The final leg of our Quebec adventure brought us to the home of one of the World Cup's most endearing and revered stops for what will be 26 years in a row in 2016, Mont-Sainte-Anne. Of the three regions that make up the Quebec Mountain Bike Destination alliance, MSA is furthest from the city, but it's the only opportunity for riders to enjoy a true mountain experience, with over 2,000 vertical feet of elevation relief. MSA claims to have 115 km of XC trails, and offers 25 km of downhill terrain across 9 different trails. Unfortunately for us, the lifts are closed and have been all season due to late snows and heavy rains throughout the spring and summer. Fortunately for anyone willing to do some pedaling, the XC trails are readily available near the base of the resort, including those used for the World Cup race, and it's only 20 minutes up a gravel service road to get to some new "enduro" oriented trails that are properly fun, and certainly illustrate this place's potential.

East Bound and Down Quebec City
Belle, sombre, et profonde.

Surprising as it is given the notoriety and long-standing tenure of the World Cup here, Mont-Sainte-Anne seems to be in the greatest state of flux among the Quebec City alliance, and it's not for a lack of trying on the part of the riders. Despite pumping however many thousands of dollars over the past couple of decades into the UCI in order to continually host the World Cup, the resort itself has been slow to develop its own mountain bike community at the local level. Patrice Dorion first began working on trails here when the World Cup first visited the region as an event volunteer. By 1996 he was on the downhill course trail crew, before eventually taking over trail operations for the mountain in 2008. It was after the 2011 season when Patrice, understandably frustrated with the state of affairs at MSA, decided to take a break from banging his head against the proverbial wall and head west to BC for a taste of the trails and lifestyle offered there.

East Bound and Down Quebec City
Patrice Dorion is the main driving force for gravity fed trails at MSA.
East Bound and Down Quebec City
Hummus melts on local brioche and topped with an egg: breakfast of champions.

His time in British Columbia helped to sharpen his own trail building skills, but more importantly, it showed him just how profound the effect a well organized and supported trail system can have on its respective community. "Right now I own a trail building company, and am in my second year of running the business." he says. "I ran the MSA trails from 2008-2011, and moved out to Whistler after that for a few years. Now I'm back home and we’re able to bring some of that BC style to the east coast here."

East Bound and Down Quebec City
Even with downhill trails closed well into the season due to late snows and heavy rains this year, MSA has plenty of great trails. It just needs more people to come and check them out.

East Bound and Down Quebec City
Downtime at the Chalets Montmorency.

That "BC style" is abundantly clear on trails like Yable, which feature plenty of lumber, some perfectly built berms, and a handful of opportunities to get sendy. But Patrice, who's currently working on the World Cup downhill and XC courses as well as the GAAP Enduro course, can't help but feel like in spite of the rather obvious potential here, the mountain itself seems to be dragging its feet with regards to its bike-specific operations.

East Bound and Down Quebec City
Franck and his family are currently building their next home on the slopes of Mont Sainte Anne. I'm obviously hoping for an invite back soon.

"For me, I’d like to see MSA function as the gravity heavy part of the Quebec trail alliance. There are so many good places to ride, but we have the biggest mountain here, and I think we should use it for downhill and enduro trails primarily. It’s not there yet, so we just need to push harder for more and more downhill stuff. We have lots of really nice trails, but MSA won’t always put those on the map because they might not be comfortable with the features on that trail. They want control of the mountain and the risks involved with being on it. Some accidents have happened and I think that has scared them a bit. Hopefully this kind of attention helps with that."

East Bound and Down Quebec City
The World Cup XC course is incredibly easy to access and makes for some super fun trail riding.



Merci Beaucoup, Quebec.



East Bound and Down Quebec City
16th-century architecture aplenty in the city by the Saint Lawrence.
East Bound and Down Quebec City
Quebec is one of the few cities that looks beautiful even in the rain.

It's funny to hear people from all three riding areas discuss how much work they have ahead of them, when as far as I can tell, they already have what might be one of the two or three best places to ride anywhere in the eastern half of North America. That, along with the proximity to the culturally stunning, and beautifully built capital city of Quebec, makes for one hell of a compelling argument to spend a lot of time here. Any of the three regions that make up the Quebec Destination Velo de Montagne could easily put their respective heads down, and continue to promote themselves independently of one another. But fortunately for the rest of us, and for the region as well, they've come together in a singular fashion that benefits everyone.

East Bound and Down Quebec City
Quebec City is brimming with European charm on our side of the Atlantic.

East Bound and Down Quebec City
The Free Radicals, alongside Northman's Nick Van Egmond and local builder, Alex Roy do their best to stay dry.

"Mont-Sainte-Anne has had this potential for years," Patrice notes. "And I think that the alliance will finally help make it a reality. There’s definitely interest from the city in bringing more riders up to the mountain, which is really important. This group of riders between here, Sentiers du Moulin, and Vallee Bras du Nord want to work together to have guys like you come into town and showcase the area."

East Bound and Down Quebec City
The trails of Sentiers don't feature a ton of vertical relief with 600 feet of elevation change, but there are a lot of them and they will have you smiling from top to bottom.

East Bound and Down Quebec City
Pivot rider and On the Edge employee, Antoine Caron enjoys a rip between the Free Radical boys.

Alex Roy agrees. "We have a newer cycling culture here in Quebec than they have out in BC. You still see a ton of spandex here. But it’s growing. You see more and more big bikes every day. For people who aren’t too far from Quebec, I think it’s already a destination. For people from western Canada, I think it’s just a couple of years away, but it’ll happen. We have Sentiers du Moulin, Vallee Bras du Nord, and Mont-Sainte-Anne. All of these places are putting a ton of effort into building really good trails."

East Bound and Down Quebec City
Alex Roy spent several years riding BC's finest trails and is looking to introduce some of that style to eastern Canada.

Tommy Paquet's optimism is clear as we gear up in his backyard to have a go at the "Swiss Mountain" portion of Saint Raymond. "The more visible we become," he says. "The more it pushes other trail networks to get better. We just need to keep pushing and pushing so we’re able to stand out. It’s about more than mountain biking as well, since there’s so much to do here. That helps push us ahead of so many other areas. It makes us a complete destination. Find somewhere in North America where you have this much to do in such a compact area. We have huge plans that extend beyond 2020. In a perfect world, Quebec City would act as the main draw for the region. My hope is to then to link the city to Mont-Sainte-Anne, MSA to Sentiers du Moulin, and from there to Valle Bras du Nord. One trail to connect us all. I’m sure one day that will happen."

East Bound and Down Quebec City
Quebec: where old world vibes...
East Bound and Down Quebec City
...meet otherworldly trails.

East Bound and Down Quebec City

Sentiers du Moulin mountain biking trails
VBN Secteur Saint-Raymond mountain biking trails
Mont-Sainte-Anne XC Park mountain biking trails
EB&D Travel Information:

For more information regarding the Quebec Destination Velo de Montagne, click here.

For more information regarding Vallee Bras du Nord, click here.

For more information regarding Sentiers du Moulin, click here.

For more information regarding Pat Dorion's work with the GAAP Enduro, click here.

Special thank you to Cafe Noisette for the delicious coffee and snacks!

Thank you to the Northman Insurance Group and its ambassadors; Nick Van Egmond, Mark Taylor and William Coldcastle for making this trip possible. Check them out, they provide insurance for athletes, travelers and other people who revel in adventure.

Looking for a place to stay with you and your pals? The Chalet Montmorency offers riders discounts up to 58% off in the summer. They just want people to come hang and ride at Mont-Sainte-Anne!



MENTIONS: @briceshirbach




60 Comments

  • + 20
 Quebec City has amazing trails, as this article highlights. The Quebec mountain bike scene is full of rich history and character. The trail systems are unique, special and due to local efforts they keep getting better. I only wish that articles like this one can please stop the references and comparisons to BC and west coast riding. We don't need to explain ourselves or apologize for the size of our mountains.
  • + 4
 That's a fair point...duly noted!
  • + 15
 Here are 2 videos made recently to present 2 of our enduro trail including LBC2 mentioned in this article ! Thank you Brice for this article !!!

Léon - www.pinkbike.com/video/449400
LBC2 - www.pinkbike.com/video/451572
  • + 2
 Those trails look great! Nice work.
  • + 11
 I went to Vallee Bras du Nord at the beginning of July and had an absolute blast. The motel with beer, restaurant and trails literally in the parking make it almost perfect.

BUT, no mention of Neilson? You missed out....
  • + 4
 Technically it was mentioned, but we wanted to showcase trails that haven't received nearly as much attention.
  • + 2
 Dam I should get myself out there, these pictures make it look like a wicked place to visit
  • + 2
 @briceshirbach: True. Did you ride it?

I'm going back a second time this summer/fall. That place blew my mind.
  • + 2
 @Canadmos: No, but I'm heading back this fall and plan to!
  • + 1
 @briceshirbach: Sweet. I'm sure you'll love it. Neilson was on another level compared to the other trails near the Roquemont motel.

My only problem was that I only gave myself two days of riding.

A few more pics.. www.pinkbike.com/u/canadmos/album/Vallee-Bras-du-Nord
  • + 2
 @briceshirbach: Be sure to check with locals before going in this fall, sections of the Neilson is closed during hunt season in fall.
  • + 3
 @briceshirbach: depending when you'll come back in the area, the 10km extension of the Neilson will be ready. Did I mention it now starts with 400m of negative elevation and it's shuttle-able? My crew finished the bridges last week and we're almost done raking and compacting the trail.

And the Boréale will also start at the top of the hill instead of mid-mountain. And the Descent to Hell is getting some love (and a new connector). And much more to come Wink

Just contact me or Tommy when you'll be around.

Jerome @ Sentiers Boréals
  • + 1
 @HypNoTic: Hey, so will this extension bring Neilson ever further up the hill or is it down lower?

I didn't get to ride Boreale, my legs were cooked by the time I got to the climb haha.
  • + 1
 @HypNoTic: I want to come in mid-Sept, do you think the extension will be done then? What's the details on being shuttle-able? I'm with @Canadmos , don't mind climbing but the road was kinda long. Others I ride with really hate climbs :p
  • + 4
 @Canadmos: This bring the phase 3 of the Neilson on the top of the eastern rim of the valley. It now starts at top of the Ti-Oui access road, just past the ZEC entrance. From the Touzin lake, it goes up a little bit to reach full altitude potential, then goes down to the current entrance of the Neilson by descending over 4km non stop.

With the new trail and the South section of the Neilson, you can loop a "shuttle" loop of +12km and drive back up the access road. Be advise that you currently need a pickup to drive up there. Work is scheduled on the road to make it more car-friendly in the future.

Once the Neilson will be complete, it will be 36km of epic singletrack, starting from the Shanahan trailhead. And Epic might actually be an understatement this time.
  • + 3
 @ChaseMe:

By Mid-sept, weather permitting, the new section of the Neilson should be open. See other reply to Canadmos for more details.

And make sure you ride Boréale. It's totally worth the painful climb to get there.
  • + 2
 @HypNoTic: Dude that sounds amazing. I am excited to go back.
  • + 1
 @HypNoTic: Mid-sept, wow!! In July I was told it could even be not before next spring, so things are going well! Please open it for sept. 10th, I'm bringing friends for their first time in vbn or at least in the Nielson!!! Big Grin

By the way, vbn really should do shuttle like twice a day, with their kayak's truck! They could ask 5$ per person, I'm sure a lot of people would be happy!
  • + 1
 @Canadmos: Hey we've been at vbn at the same time! I saw your beautiful raw spitfire in the locker! Wink

And +1 for the Boréale, it is worth the painful (easier if you start your day with it, like I did last time) climb!
  • + 1
 @Canadmos: east side of the actual Neilson trail and will have a connector to the upper section of the South Neilson ! Wink
  • + 2
 @Timo82: That's cool, small world!
  • + 7
 We went to sentiers du moulin / Vallée bras du nord 2 weeks ago. Sentiers du moulin was a big hit for us. Technical ups and technical downs, so it is fun all over. There are easier options for beginners but the more advanced riders will get a run for their money too, which is rare in a "XC" network these days. Can't wait to go back.

Vallée bras du nord, sector Shannahan is really great. The Neilson (the staple trail) climb isn't all that great (mostly gravel roads but grande ourse is a lot of fun) but it is quite quick and the trail itself is worth it. The "decently technical/different without being dangerous" kind, which I feel is the sort of trail most network seem to lack. Really enjoyed that side of the network, to the point where if we would have known what we now know, we'd would have spent a second day there. We'll be back for sure. The saint-raymond sector is more the "flowy" side of things and honestly, I don't feel it offers much different riding than any other flow trail area, which is cool if you're a local but it is something I find has been plaguing networks when traveling. It was alright, nothing more. The Roquemont restaurant had great food and at an affordable price, I feel it is a must if you're in the area. Great way to finish your ride.

Couldn't hit MSA due to weather/time constraints, maybe next year!
  • + 1
 @PLC07 Thanks for the input! Heading out there in September and will mention this to the crew!
  • + 7
 That's very cool how the three areas and regions are cooperating in promotions and funding. Too often regions compete and cannibalize each other. I had no idea how dense the networks were. They look amazingly fun.

Someone else said... no need to compare these to BC and I'd have to agree. They look like a blast in and of themselves. Wonder how they'd look in fall colours?

Final word too on how well written this was with a human face to the trails and the hard work behind the communities
  • + 10
 I'm sure the rest of this article is great, but all I can think about now is getting some poutine after seeing that photo.
  • + 6
 Awesome shout out to Alex Roy! I have ridden with him in Squamish and he is fast (up and down). His brother Fred Roy built one of my favorite trails in Squamish - Hueso. I can only imagine how incredible Alex inspired trails must be.
  • + 4
 That last part about the MSA is so spot on. Really glad it's been brought up by an "outsider" with influence. Locals have been saying similar things for years. If Quebec is serious about positioning itself as a true mountain bike destination, it needs the vertical of MSA, or even better, from Le Massif in the Charlevoix.
  • + 4
 The common Québecois mentality is that they are the only french culture remaining in north America. But French is strong and actually flourishing and growing all over regions like Louisiana, Maine, Manitoba, Ontario and of course right here in the Canadian East-coast and l'Acadie!
  • + 8
 TABERNAK
  • + 5
 TABARNAK
  • + 1
 @myanh: Sacre Bleu!
  • + 1
 TABERNOUCHE!
  • + 1
 Calisse !!!
  • + 2
 I just returned from my first trip to Saint Raymond/Shannahan. It was an incredible experience to ride trails of this quality on the Eastern side of Canada. I cannot return soon enough. If you are in Saint Raymond, make sure to get Poutine from Ti Qui Snack Bar!
  • + 2
 My wife is a French teacher and always dreams of teaching in Quebec. This article makes me think that dream could become a reality for us. I don't care where we go, just gotta be able to ride awesome trails. The culture and history are icing on the cake. Great article, thanks!
  • + 2
 If someone is a good rider and wanna trail build for the next few month, @HypNo Tik is now hiring to work at VBN. Wink or check out on Sentier Boréale Facebook page! Wink you would be working on the signature trails at Vallee Bras du Nord
  • + 3
 Can't wait to get to vallee bras du nord ! Nice spot for sure ! If you haven't visited yet also, East-Hereford Near the N-H is also a great place to ride !
  • + 1
 Just got back from BDN-Shannahan, camped there last week. Had a great time and the people I met were wonderful. Loved the Neilson trails and agree that a shuttle upnto the trail head for $5 is a great idea as the fire road climb is a bit of a grind. The scenery here is a real bonus, it's spectacular. It was a solo trip too and I drove from central Ontario. Some pics...

goo.gl/photos/5dFesusrvC4hipex6
  • + 3
 Great article ! Thanks guys that was pleasant to read, looking forward to ride in Quebec one day Wink
  • + 2
 Very cool article Brice! Being from Quebec City, this really makes me proud.
  • + 3
 You forgot to visite Bromont !
  • + 4
 I hear ya, but the focus here was on the QC Alliance networks. I'm sure Mr. Fearon will have something new to satisfy your Bromont needs soon enough!
  • + 2
 That spine > roller on LBC2. Damn! Looks fun. Quebec now on the hit-list for sure.
  • + 3
 2 words : Stephanie Morneau
  • + 3
 Alexe Lacroix. So that's 4 words! Wink
  • + 2
 Merci Beaucoup. Un bel article.
  • + 2
 16th-century architecture? Really?

Great write-up; beautiful photos.
  • + 3
 nice
  • + 2
 Did he ride it out??????? Smile
  • + 2
 Looks like a little slice of paradise.
  • + 2
 this was a great article, really enjoyed reading it!
  • + 2
 I can feel it in my plums
  • + 2
 Wow. The only thing missing in Qc is free trails!
  • + 1
 Depends on where you live, I have like 10 networks within 45 minutes of my house that are free. They're nowhere near as developped/maintained as the pay-to-ride ones though.
  • + 3
 There's actually quite a few free trails near Sentiers. Obviously a bit less manicured, but very fun nonetheless.
  • + 2
 @PLC07: The $16 to ride all day in Saint-Raymond is well worth it, in my opinion. Its no different than paying for a pass at a DH hill. You know the trails are good and they'll be maintained better than most free ones.
  • + 1
 @Canadmos: Oh I agree, I spent over ~150$ just last month in riding passes and I own a DH lift access pass too and it was well worth it in most cases. I was just saying that some areas have a lot of free trails contrary to what "noobs" implied.
  • + 1
 @PLC07: oh yeah I totally agree with you!
  • + 1
 Looks like a great journey.
Agréable de voir les sentiers dans ce secteur. Merci pour les photos !
  • + 1
 Oh man! Psyched to ride these trails!

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