We could design a route that crosses the 20 bridges in an around our area that are on paved and hard-pack roads. We could even call the race La Tour des Vingt Ponts.
The route could start in the town of Morris and end in Beaudry Park, taking in St Malo, St Pierre Jolys, Aubigney, Rosenort, Brunkild, Ste. Agathe, St. Norbert, La Salle, Sandford, Oak Bluff, Starbuck, Elie, and St. Francois Xavier—as well as a number of smaller communities—on the way.
The route as laid out is roughly 350 km long. It probably makes the most sense to make this a multi-day race, with two or three overnight stops in communities along the way.
It would be relatively easy to extend this route. Options for extension include:
- adding Rosseau River to the south
- adding existing bike trails in the south-west corner of Winnipeg
- adding racing routes within some of the communities that have fairly extensive street systems, like St. Norbert
It would also be relatively easy to shorten the route.
There are a number of advantages to a circuitous route:
- It enables us to make the race run over three to five days. This will attract more riders, more media attention, and more spectators, all of which means everyone participating spends more time (and money) in our area.
- It introduces everyone involved to the whole of our area, rather than just one part of it.
- It brings our communities together in a shared event.
A circuitous route also brings challenges:
- more roads need to be marked
- more volunteers are needed
- more communities need to be convinced to join in this event
- communities that might want to have racing routes winding through their side streets require more effort than those that have the route passing straight through town
- communities where overnight stops occur need to be able to accommodate tents and trailers, and need to be able to offer food, washrooms, and other amenities
A considerable amount of discussion will be needed to develop a route that balances these benefits and challenges.
My apologies about my lack of French. I’m sure “La Tour des Vingt Ponts” is a lousy way version of “The Tour of the 20 Bridges”. I welcome your suggestions.