Route Authors: Matt Surch, Rodd Heino, Tall Tree Cycles and Tekné Cycling
Location: Ottawa, Ontario
Estimated Gravel Time: 35%
Full Route Map:
Distance: 152.8km (94.2 miles)
Alternate Route (67.5km): Looking to shorten this classic route, while maximizing the amount of time spent on dirt? Then the Upper Rider of the Damned is for you! Starting from Wakefield, this version offers the opportunity to sample the best parts of this legendary racing route. A full description of this alternative route can be found HERE.
Suggested Tire Width: 35mm or wider
Amenities: The route passes through several villages with various amenities including Low, Chelsea and Wakefield.
Parking: The official start of the route is in Ottawa. Those looking to start from the north end of the loop can park at the Central Gatineau Arena in Low, Quebec.
Full Route Description:
This is the legendary Ride of the Damned race route pioneered by Matt Surch, Rodd Heino, Tall Tree Cycles and Tekné Cycling in 2008.
Starting from Ottawa and riding counterclockwise, the route crosses the Ottawa River and follows a various car-free multi-use pathways, eventually joining a series of paved roads running north of Gatineau to the hamlet of Cantley.
Crossing Route 307, the route follows Chemin du Mont-des-Cascade, a twisty section of quiet pavement, before the eventually turning onto Chemin Oslo, and the loop's first gravel portion, ending quickly when riders return to Chemin du Mont-des-Cascade. Eventually the route turns right, briefly following Route 366, before turning left onto Chemin de la Montagne, which eventually transitions from pavement to gravel as the climbing begins in earnest.
Continuing north, the loop stays on dirt, eventually climbing steeply up Chemin de Farrellton to the route's namesake, the Paugan Dam. Riders descend quickly from the top of the dam, eventually entering the village of Low. Crossing Route 105 (caution ought to be exercised here as traffic can move quickly here), the loop follows Chemin Fieldville, a hilly stretch of pavement, before turning left on Chemin Murray and continuing on a series of dirt roads to the hamlet of Laschelle and the Magasin General La Peche.
From here, riders follow a series of paved roads to the town of Wakefield, the location of several restaurants and depanneurs. Upon exiting Wakefield, continue south on Chemin Riverside, one of the prettiest sections of gravel on the route, before turning right onto Chemin Cross Loop, eventually crossing the Ruisseau-Meech covered bridge. From here, riders follow paved roads for the remainder of the loop including a brief section of Route 105 (with its wide paved shoulder), and the Gatineau Parkway all the way back to Ottawa.
Photos Credit: Rodd Heino