Stage Six at Vallée Bras-du-Nord-Shannahan had been billed as a single stage that could justify participation in the event, and it delivered at every turn. The venue for the start was on the shore of Lac-Gouat. Surrounded by mountains and granite cliffs, you could not help but feel you were on the West Coast. I spoke to Tommy Paquet, a Quebec rider who knew this stage well. Paquet has spent some time riding with Greg Day of the Rocky Factory XC team in Squamish, B.C. “You are going to love the timed descent,” he said. “It’s going to remind you a lot of the trails in Squamish.”
The timed descent was on a trail called Neilson Est, and as per Paquet’s description, it delivered in true West Coast fashion – a steep downhill with perfect berms punctuated with granite roll-downs and a few rocky, rooty sections to keep you on your toes. This led us to the signature trails of this area along the Neilson River. The combination of natural granite slabs and bridgework was unlike anything I’ve ever
seen. The imagination and artistry that went into the building of this trail made it one of the most impressive routes I have ever ridden. To the trail-builders of Vallée Bras-du-Nord-Shannahan and all the builders from every stage who shared their hard work and passion with us, a sincere merci beaucoup.
It was emotional for many riders to cross the final finish line, receive their medal and
officially earn the title of “Que-Biker.”