Canadian Cyclist


March 22/06 12:39 pm - Across the Highlands Mountain Bike Challenge

Posted by Editoress on 03/22/06

Across the Highlands Mountain Bike Challenge

August 18 - 20, 2006

Organized by Velo Cape Breton Bicycle Club, Across the Highlands MTB Challenge is three days of mountain biking specially tailored to challenge the mental and physical skills of the participants.

The ride over the plateau of the Cape Breton Highlands covers diverse terrain. There are large patches of new growth of evergreen, small brooks and lakes, wide open to narrow forest roads, abundant wildlife and a majestic landscape. Although most of the riding is dirt roads, there is a small amount of technical riding along single track.

The empty 'Highlands' is fascinating but unfortunately unknown. The craggy, remote Cape Breton Highlands hide one of Canada's best bike trails and this is a secret to too many. Sure you can visit Tibet to see the world's remote mountain culture, but what do people know of our own unique celtic mountain heritage and history right here in Cape Breton Canada?

The Signature Event
The signature event, held on Day 2, is the 65 kilometres crosses Cape Breton on the Highlands plateau from North River to Grand Etang. Starting from North River, the first five kilometres is a somewhat challenging climb. Once on the Plateau, the lightly rolling terrain of forest roads bring the cyclists on the main Highland Road for a short distance then off again and downhill to Big Intervale on the Margaree River. At this point more than half of the ride is completed. The remaining part is crossing the coastal range of mountain on the north side of the Island and end the ride with a 2.5 kilometres long exhilarating winding descent to Grand Etang on the shore of the Golf of St-Lawrence.

The Across the Highland Challenge is a "supported" event. Cyclists need only to pedal their bikes following their map-cue sheet and enjoy the day with friends. In 2000, 25 cyclists of all ages and level of training took on the Challenge and all but one completed the 65 kilometres distance.

Logistic support will be provided by members of the Isle Royale ATV Club of Sydney and volunteers in the Grand Etang/Cheticamp area. As well as providing cyclists with fresh water, fruit, juices, sport drinks and a limited supply of solid "fuel" at pit stops and at other strategic locations along the road, these volunteers will assist in case of emergency, mechanical or physical breakdown, directions, etc.

In Grand Etang, the welcoming party has everything ready for the riders to benefit of a fast recovery, fruits, fluids, food, showers, confortable chairs, etc. A catered dinner will be served at the end of the day followed by distribution of certificates. Participants and bikes will then be shuttled back to Baddeck to complete the day.

The crossing of the Cape Breton Highlands Plateau by mountain bike is a must-do off-road adventure that is bound to satisfy every type of mountain biker. From those who bike to relax and escape to the hard-core 24-hours-of-adrenaline type, there is something for everyone.

Please visit our website at:

About Velo Cape Breton:
Velo Cape Breton at the eve of its 3rd year is showing it’s leadership in bicycling in the maritimes. VCB is the largest bicycle club in Nova Scotia. It is a serious organization composed of President, Chris Milburn, physician trained in family medicine and ER, and currently doing ER full-time in the CBRM hospitals; Vice-President, André Gallant, Director of Sport for the Canada Games Council working from his home in Sydney; Secretary, Shelley Porter, mother of two children, M.Sc. in Biology from Acadia University. currently the Collaborative Environmental Planning Initiative Coordinator at Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources at Eskasoni, NS.; Treasurer, Ambrose Delaney, accomplished cyclist representing Nova Scotia at the Nationals 6 times and Atlantic Road Racing Champion in 1988, currently employed by Citizenship and Immigration Canada; Rides Captain, Jacques Coté, retired instructor at the Canadian Coast Guard College, Level 2 Cycling Coach, and extensive experience in organizing and supervising sporting events as Cross-Country skiing Technical Delegate National Level 3.


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