The Regina-to-Lumsden and return route is an iconic ride in the history of Saskatchewan cycling, and a favourite of local cyclists for more than 40 years. Outsiders think of Regina and the Prairies as being nothing but flat with wheat fields as far as the eye can see. While that’s largely true, the province has some scenic river valleys that interrupt the horizon, carved out of the ground when the glaciers melted.
The Qu’Appelle River Valley is approximately 35 kilometres from Regina via a four-lane highway named #11. This highway crosses the Valley with slopes of 5-7% grade that rise 250 feet. The Regina-to-Lumsden ride includes a figure-eight loop with two climbs. This route includes its most famous hill – “old Lumsden Hill,” or just “the Old Hill.” This hill is aptly named because it’s a section of the old #11 Highway, now closed to automotive traffic. An adjacent excavation firm keeps the top of the road closed by dumping a load of sand across the road every few years. However, we just bunny-hop the dirt pile to keep this loop in use on Tuesday night races.
In its heyday, the Old Hill was often incorporated into Tuesday-night club races, as well as for many road races and provincial Championships. The Old Hill even received a makeover when used for the 2005 Canada Summer Games. The Games helped pave the way for improvements that will extend the life of this deserted road for many years.
Recently, the popularity of my favourite route has waned, as the shoulders deteriorate due to congestion from construction activity on the new Regina Bypass. But once that work is complete and with some new shoulders added, I’m hoping for a return to this route’s glory days!
The iconic Regina-to-Lumsden and return route is a local favourite and an iconic ride in the history of Saskatchewan cycling.