Stormin’ Stormont Township (56/76km)
Location: Crysler, North Stormont, United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, Ontario
Distance: 55.6/75.8 km (34.5/47.1 miles)
Elevation: 335 m (1099 ft)
Suggested Tire Width: 32mm or wider
Amenities: The starting point in the village of Crysler includes a general store and a couple of restaurants. Otherwise, there are no other amenities on route
Estimated gravel time: 80%
Parking: Dedicated parking facilities can be found in the village of Crysler, at the Crysler Community Centre.
This route embraces the farmland gravel that predominates the region east of Ottawa. While flat for the most part, the exposed nature of the roads means that any headwind more than makes up for the lack of hills. Meanwhile, the loop includes enough saucy bits of unmaintained and single-lane gravel to keep riders on their toes.
Beginning in the village of Crysler, head south-west and counter-clockwise via Charles Street. Soon, the route turns left, leaving the pavement behind via a series of gravel farmland roads. While mostly flat, this section of the route is completely exposed, leaving riders at the mercy of the prevailing winds.
After paralleling the South Nation River for approximately 13km, the route crosses the river via a brief section of pavement (County Rd 9), before making a right on Manley Rd. and once again returning to gravel. Eventually, the route joins Finch-Winchester Boundary Rd., heading south before crossing County Rd. 43 and transitioning to the route’s longest stretch of pavement. This section is approximately 7km long, half of which sees some fast-moving traffic (but includes a wide paved shoulder), while the remainder consists of a quiet country backroad (Grantley Rd.). Those looking to ride the 56km version of the route are advised to turn left on Hunter’s Rd before reaching Grantley Rd.
For those remaining on the 76km version of the loop, the route changes character as it leaves the asphalt behind in favour of a 2.5km stretch of unmaintained. Carr Rd. is a real treat and easily navigable with 32-35mm tires. After exiting Carr Rd., the route returns to pavement on several quiet back roads. A brief sojourn on County Road 11 leads riders back to gravel via Collins Rd. before reaching Lalonde Rd., a 2.5km section of unmaintained. Be advised that this section of the route can be wet, especially early in the season. Those with narrower tires, or those looking to keep their feet dry, are advised to take the recommended detour via County Rd. 11 to Allen Rd.
Upon exiting this final stretch of unmaintained, riders are treated to some delightful tree-lined stretches of single-lane gravel, including Allen and Nine Mile Roads, before making a left onto Hunters Rd and briefly returning to pavement, before heading right and rejoining the gravel portion of the route via Witteveen Rd.
The route then proceeds on a mix of exposed gravel and paved farm roads, gaining elevation ever so slightly, before eventually heading back north along St Lukes Rd. Here, riders continue on a series of gravel roads, eventually reaching the route’s “high” point on MacMillan Rd., somewhere within the Warwick Management Forest, before gradually descending towards Concession Rd. 8.Here, the route hangs a left, transitioning from gravel to asphalt as riders make the final push to the starting point in the village of Crysler.