Page Contributor(s): Matteo Napoli, CAN; TNS Cycling Club
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Matteo Napoli from TNS Cycling Club (A group of elite cyclists based out of Quebec, Canada & Lisbon, Portugal) had had the pleasure of riding the Cabot Trail starting from Cheticamp to North Mountain and back! The road is pristine, and scenic from start to finish. Cars are very respectful as they are used to cyclist traffic. I never felt scared as there is a wide shoulder for 90% of the time.
The ride starts at the entrance of the Cape Breton National Park. There is a parking lot and visitors centre with washrooms and refreshments. Please make sure to purchase a park pass for 8$ and place it on car your windshield.
The first 15 KM is very scenic as the coast is on your left and mountains on your right. You are faced with a few small rollers right before you hit the 1st of 4 climbs of French Mountain.
Here you will ride through pleasant bay. You can stop at restaurants (highly recommend a lobster roll) or corner store to take a break and fuel up as North Mountain is the next climb.
This climb is 5.66Km long with 445M of elevation at average 6,9% gradient. Do not let then number fool you as 4KM of this climb is well over 10% average! It is a beautiful climb as you are riding through a majestic forest with many distractions to get your mind off the climb, however get those legs ready! Once you complete the the you can decide to descend it on the North side just to turn around and go back up on the way back to your car. It is pretty equal on both sides. I highly recommend the descent and climb back up as you will be rewarded with additional lookout points that are to die for!
At this point you are heading back towards your car with 55 KM in your legs and well over 2000M. The roads are familiar to you however you have 1 climb left which is Mackenzie Mountain!
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