The best leg-straining, lung-busting routes in the country for you to ‘enjoy’
Cape Smokey, Cape Breton, N.S.
The Cabot Trail is a 300-km grind around Cape Breton Island, with plenty of climbing along the way. But of all the climbs, Cape Smokey best exemplifies the bleak majesty of the place.
Rattlesnake Point, Milton, Ont.
The climb starts out as a gradual drag and gets steadily steeper as it twists to the top of the ridge, hitting 16 per cent before a hairpin under a thick canopy of trees that make the road slow to dry out after a shower: slipping rear tires are common.
Voie Camillien Houde, Montreal
If any climb in Canada can claim status as a cycling monument, it’s the two-lane road that winds over Mount Royal. It’s here that Eddy Merckx won his third and final world road championship race in 1974.
Goldstream Heights, B.C.
A popular training route for those riders takes in Goldstream Heights. It’s not for the faint of heart because it means a long day with plenty of climbing.
Highwood Pass, Highway 40, Alta.
Highwood Pass is not a particularly challenging climb. But at 2,206 m, it’s the highest paved road in Canada.
Eastern Canada isn’t known for its alpine terrain, but Mont-Mégantic is one place true climbers can stretch their legs.
Tunkwa Lake, B.C.
Few people have more experience than seasoned road pro and bike adventurer Svein Tuft. One of his favourites is the climb to Tunkwa Lake from Savona. He takes Tunkwa Lake Road, which runs south off the Trans-Canada Highway about 46 km west of Kamloops.
White Pass, Skagway, Alaska to the Canadian Border
“The White Pass has spectacular views of the Skagway River Valley on one side the Pacific Ocean at your back, the rugged peaks of the Coastal Mountains in front and a sheer rock wall on the other side with numerous little waterfalls,” says Yukon cycling fixture Greig Bell, who is the father of former pro and current women’s team director at Rally Cycling Zach Bell.
Apex Mountain Resort, B.C.
Hidden in the mountains just west of Penticton, B.C., is a climb that would rank among the toughest in the Tour de France.
Mount Revelstoke, B.C.
If you’re looking for an alpine climb, Mount Revelstoke is the place for you. With some 15 hairpins within 26 km, even the best climbers take more than an hour to slog their way up this monster.