Routes - Zone 9
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Zone 1 Map Zone 9 sits on the eastern edge of the Golden Horseshoe. It is bordered to the west by Highway 12, the shores of Lake Ontario to the south, a mixture of regional roads, including Regional Road 16 to the east and Highway 7 to the north. Its most prominent geological feature is the Oak Ridges Moraine. Today you can see the land shaping effects by the beautiful valleys, rivers and rolling hills that it left behind. It is this geological feature that makes zone 9 such a fantastic place to ride your bike.

Today the moraine is home to many small communities that dot the hilly landscape. Farming is most prominent to the north of Taunton Rd. (Highway 4); this is, by far, the best place to ride your bike. To the south of Taunton Rd. towns and cities like Oshawa and Bowmanville fill the void with urban landscape all the way down to the shores of Lake Ontario. The further east you go the quicker the urban environment turns into country roads.

The starting location for this zone is in Bowmanville due to the fact that the country is much closer to Highway 401 than anywhere else along this corridor. Once you get to the rolling hills of the moraine the challenges come hard and fast. The rollers are constant and offer up huge amounts of fun as you climb one side and scream down the other. It's not often to get 2000 meters of climbing in 160 km in Southern Ontario, but you can get it in Zone 9.


Town/CityDistanceElevationCategorized Climbs
ViewBrooklin58 km692 mN/A
ViewDurham89 km890 mN/A
ViewDurham161 km1843 m2 - Cat. 5


Map of Durham


StartLengthStart | End ElevationAvg. GradeMountain Name
Category 5 icon 71.1 km 2.4 km 206 m | 252 m 46 m 1.9% Concession Rd. 6
Category 5 icon 97.2 km 2.3 km 171 m | 228 m 57 m 2.5% Concession Rd. 5


General Route Information:

  • Start Location: Bowmanville
  • Start Location: Garnet B. Rickard Recreation Complex
  • Distance: 161 km
  • Elevation Gain: 1843 m
  • Washrooms: On-site at the recreation centre
  • Food on Route: Burketon, Blackstock, Enniskillen,
  •     Tyrone, Newtonville, Newcastle, Hampton

Emergency Services:

  • Lakeridge Health Bowmanville
  •     47 Liberty St. S. | 905-623-3331
  • Lakeridge Health Oshawa
  •     1 Hospital Court, Oshawa | 905-576-8711
  • Lakeridge Health Port Perry
  •     451 Paxton St., Port Perry | 905-985-7321

  • Bowmanville Taxi | Bowmanville (905-623-4422)
  • Hiland Taxi | Port Perry (905-985-0407)
  • Island Taxi | Port Perry (909-985-8294)


This is the exact route I did during the United Way Durham Gran Fondo. To say the least, I was a bit surprised at how hilly the terrain was in the upper reaches and far eastern parts of the course. During my heaving breaths of keeping up with the front group in the peleton, I kept asking where's the hills? They promptly told me the further north and east you went the hillier it became. Well...they were right. Just after we hit Regional Rd. 3 the hills hit and I promptly slid to the back. Not only did I slide to the back, the group dropped me and slowly disappeared off into the distance never to be seen again. That was my introduction to riding the eastern edge of the Oak Ridges Moraine.

For a narrative on the first part of this route, basically from the starting location to where "Durham 89 km" turns left onto Regional Rd. 3 (the 64 km mark), please refer to the route details on that routes page. This will pick it up at Old Scugog Rd. south of Regional Rd. 3 (Enniskillen).

The hills seemed to get bigger the further east you went. The turn onto Concession Rd. 7 offered up the first categorised climb of the day, a category 5. Now keep in mind, just because there have been no categorised climbs up until this point does not mean the continuous hills did not wear you down. Now they just got a bit bigger. Normally climbs of this nature are mere bumps in the road, but this route seems to be a war of attrition. It just wears you down. The right hand turn onto Best Rd. offers some respite as it is basically all downhill towards Orono.

Once you cross over Hwy. 35 it is a long slow ascent all the way to the 90 km mark on Concession Rd. 6; about 7 km. Here you top out and enjoy a nice run down to Newtonville Rd. which then keeps descending all the way to Concession Rd. 5 where you will turn right and see your nemesis just up the road. They call it Heartbreak Hill. The organisers of the event made this hill a bit more than it actually was. They claimed it topped out at 20%, I got a max of 13%. Either way, for most of the climb it hovered around the 13% mark for about a kilometer of the 2.3 km climb. It was a pretty tough climb regardless of what anyone says. This was the second category 5 climb of the day.

Once you reach the top of Heartbreak Hill, the views are quite amazing. You can see all the way down to the lake on a clear day. And this, of course, is where we are headed next. The descent towards the lake was a nice respite from all the days climbing. What remained now was a fairly low key affair along the lake front. There were still some hills, but nothing too hard to negotiate. The route would eventually move away from the lake when you got to the Port of Newcastle, a nice resting spot I might add. It then moved north through the town of Newcastle winding it way north to Hampton where you basically do a u-turn and head back towards the finishing line in Bowmanville. This was a fantastic route. The massage put on by the organizers at the finishing line was a welcome relief for my very tired legs.

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