400 million years ago, like a big hunk of gravel racing to Earth from the confines of space, a meteorite hit the Canadian Shield and its Laurentian massif here in Charlevoix. It is this phenomenal shock that created the breathtaking landscapes and rugged terrain that make the Charlevoix region famous, and a place that delights (or tortures) cyclists.
It is thus no surprise that Cycles Devinci chose Saint-Urbain-de-Charlevoix, in the heart of this prolific crater, to host the very first Grinduro Canada. But what exactly is a Grinduro? It’s a combo of a gravel grinder road race and an enduro: one long loop on all kinds of terrain, where finishing times aren’t based on overall loop time, but four timed segments.
But Grinduro is not just a bike race. It’s a celebration of cycling with as much emphasis on the fun as the ride. A real Big Bang for cyclists to revolutionize the bike world: a gravel grinder with excellent food, art, live music, camping, fresh air and loads of fun.
This will be one of the four stages of this global gravel bike series presented by Giro Sports, Rapha, Maxxis, Fabric and Devinci, for the Canadian race.
The beautiful region of Charlevoix will host the very first Grinduro Canada. Stretching along the Du Gouffre River, nestled at the foot of the bare mountains that guard the perimeter of the crater and surrounded by vertiginous ramparts, the picturesque village of Saint-Urbain will be the central hub of this crazy event. This small municipality, located just north of Baie-Saint-Paul, is the gateway to the Charlevoix hinterland and the Parc national des Grands-Jardins, a unique natural setting with magnificent landscapes.
Entrance, parking and camping for event
357 rue Sainte-Claire, Saint-Urbain, Québec
The fun will start on Friday evening in Saint-Urbain, with the whole village ready to welcome you. Once your car is parked, everything will be easy to access: the campsite bordered by the Du Gouffre River to cool off, the Inter-Marché general store, a snack bar, a restaurant and most importantly, a local craft beer pub to put you in the right mood! Kick back and enjoy the campfire, music, the stars and only a few black flies.
Saturday, everything will be taken care of for you: meals, a great atmosphere and the second night of camping. After your country breakfast in the community hall, we’ll wait for you and your bike near the starting line for announcements, instructions and everything else before you’re on your way.
The race remains challenging (100 km of up and downhill over rough terrain), but the Grinduro is not a festival of suffering. With a mass start in Gran Fondo style, the day then plays out at a moderate pace. You’ll be able to pedal with your friends and your heroes, since the race isn’t timed. Only four segments actually are, and they’re all very different. In this way, the Grinduro rewards the most well-rounded participants.
As you can see, the people of Charlevoix are very colourful. Make sure you check out the full description of the race...
In short, expect 100 km of pure joy, with a total elevation gain of nearly 1800 m.
In terms of timed segments, here’s what to expect:
Segment #1 at km 4 – a 3.7-km gravel climb (Entre Deux Bras hill), +240 m
Segment #2 at km 31.5 – a 7-km false flat downhill ride (Du Gouffre southwest descent), -110 m
Segment #3 at km 58.5 – a 10.5-km gravel time trial (“Cache toé-bin” Time Trial), +82 m / -206 m
Segment #4 at km 100 – a 3-km single track downhill course (The Ferro-Titanic – FeTiO3), +13 m / -269 m
You should arrive at the village towards the end of the afternoon. A perfect time for a dip in the refreshing Du Gouffre River. Saint-Urbain will be bustling in a festive vibe with all the exhibitors on site, including Giro and Devinci.
You’ll also get the chance to admire artists at work, since Charlevoix is the refuge of many talented artists. More details to come, and many surprises too!
To end the day in style, you’ll be invited to share in a fantastic feast! As Charlevoix is a popular gourmet destination, the Grinduro is a perfect opportunity for you to taste what the region has to offer.
A great show will mark the end of this first edition of Grinduro Canada - more details to come!
As you can see, the people of Charlevoix are very colourful. Here’s how they describe the day’s route – it’s like poetry! The route was designed by VéloCharlevoix’s forest riders, with Saint-Urbain at the start and finish: an “intra-crater” trip, orbiting through roughly 100 km of oscillating unevenness, with a 1800 m elevation gain.
The cyclonauts of this intergalactic loop will first climb out of the village over a few kilometres of asphalt on Route 381, to the Gros Bras tributary of the Du Gouffre River. They’ll enter the territory of the Seigneurie de Beaupré, an exclusive privilege to the participants of Grinduro Canada. Here, they’ll encounter the first timed segment: a steady ascent on a panoramic forest path. Straddling the watershed separating the Petit Bras from the Gros Bras, two tributaries of the Du Gouffre River that unite under the bridge they will cross before parting ways with the 381, the climb is close to 250 m in less than 4 km. The slope is sometimes steep, but a few flatter areas allow for the evacuation of lactic acid ... and for recovery!
Riders will return to their senses at the top of a small panoramic pass, savouring the landscapes, “relaxin’ and pedalin” towards the rock formations overlooking the crater to the north where the Lac à Moïse Mountain stands. About 15 km from the starting line, cyclists will leave the dirt road momentarily and pedal back onto the 381 for a little less than 2 km of uncrowded highway, in order to return to the fief of the Seigneurie de Beaupré more to the east, before reuniting with the wild scenery and terrain. At km 31.5, with the Lac des Cygnes, Lac à l'Empêche, Du Four and Eudore-Fortin mountains looking on approvingly, participants will undergo the second timed challenge: an all-out false flat over 7 km. Parallel to the southwestern part of the Du Gouffre River, another tributary of this salmon river that joins the St. Lawrence at Baie-Saint-Paul, this temperamental trail gently plunges back to the bottom of the crater, to the dead waters of the Du Gouffre River...
Back into relaxed mode and riding up into the mountains, participants will continue on a trail that narrows until it becomes a carpet of moss heading towards Boudreault Lake, at the foot of the majestic Morios Mountain. This is where our forest caterer will be waiting with his mid-course banquet: a tasty meal full of Charlevoix’s local ingredients... it’s time to ride the flavor trip!
Still in relaxed mode, cyclists will further immerse in this intergalactic scenery by crossing the Du Gouffre River in the Pied-des-Monts sector, the gateway to the Charlevoix hinterland. They’ll then foray briefly back into civilization via the cache toé-bin forest path. Then onto Rang Sainte-Christine, at Notre-Dame-des-Monts, with another little bit of quiet road. It’s on this sequence of immersive and composite terrestrial routes that the third timed segment will take place. The 10.5-km full speed “Cache-toé bin” Time Trial is twisty and turny. But as it follows the Du Gouffre River en route to the St. Lawrence, the path also loses altitude. It’s another false flat, both rugged and exciting... a bit like going through turbulence!
The return to Saint-Urbain is a mesmerizing combo of forest roads, farm tracks and double track trails that crosses the scenery of the Charlevoix countryside. As soon as riders have crossed the Du Gouffre River for the last time (don’t worry, you’ll meet again for a swim after your interstellar journey!), they’ll attack the Saint-Jérôme hill, a vertical asphalt section that rises 300 m over close to 3 km. This is a steep climb that riders will descend later on a single track course, the Ferro-Titanic, which will be the final timed segment of the day. Sneaking through the open pits of an old ilmenite mine (FeTiO3, a form of ferro-titanium), this trail was specially designed for the first edition of Grinduro Canada. Cyclonauts will find themselves in another dimension in this final intergalactic challenge!
The perfect party-to-race ratio! That’s the Grinduro motto.
So here’s a quick overview of what you can expect in terms of festivities.
A parterre à bières, our québécois version of a beer garden, will be set up for the event, showcasing local craft beers.
Partner exhibitions will be set up, including Giro and Devinci stands
Various live artistic presentations, details coming soon
Tasty terroir foods for you to discover, organized by the Table Agrotouristique de Charlevoix
A big show on Saturday night – get ready for an awesome atmosphere!
Enjoy the region’s beauty! Charlevoix offers loads of cultural and sports activities. Need some ideas?
The Baie Saint-Paul Pumptrack
Mountain biking on local trails, access to Le Genévrier camping site
View trails online thanks to Trailforks
Hiking trails – Complete trail guide
Sea kayaking and SUP on the St. Lawrence
The Flavour Trail
Spa and beauty services
Visit countless art galleries
The list goes on!
There is so much to do around here. To maximize your stay, visit the Tourisme Charlevoix website. You’ll also find an array of accommodations, if the camping option doesn’t apply to you.
Need a bike shop?
Retailers Devinci & Giro will be on site: Lessard Bicycle
A list of other Devinci retailers can be found here
In Baie-Saint-Paul: Centre du vélo PN Gariépy
Need a piece of camping equipment? La Galerie du Sport
The Grinduro course features a blend of pavement, dirt road, gravel road and single track.
THE BEST BIKE: You can ride any type of pedal-driven bicycle (no electric-pedal assist!), although we recommend a cyclocross bike or mountain bike. The ultimate setup is probably a disc brake-equipped cyclocross bike with fast-rolling, tubeless clincher tires. Be prepared with at least two extra tubes, a multi-tool and mini-pump.
August in Charlevoix is a bit unpredictable weather-wise! Plan on a waterproof coat and the basic stuff (long sleeves and extra legwear), just in case. The river is near, as are the mountains, so it can be hot by day and quite cool at night.
There will be feed zones (and an excellent lunch!), but smart riders will bring at least two water bottles and their favourite nutritional supplies.
You can ride this loop in road shoes with road pedals, but we recommend mountain bike pedals and shoes for their versatility.
And don’t take come to the start line without a helmet on!
Winners of each category will take home a Grinduro trophy and other great surprises.
If not for the generosity and efforts of our sponsors, there would be no such thing as Grinduro. Thank you to Giro Sport Design, Rapha, Maxxis, Fabric and DEVINCI.
Big thanks to our local partners that worked tirelessly to host Grinduro Canada:
The Saint-Urbain Municipality