The Eastern Canada Gravel Cup was created to expose more people to the gravel roads of Lanark and Renfrew Counties.
The journey began after the 2017 Almonte-Roubaix event, when I was inspired to go down some unmaintained roads in my area of West Carleton, roads that I'd always been curious about. After having much success discovering new places to ride, I started developing gravel routes in West Carleton and neighbouring Mississippi Mills. In 2018, this led to the creation of the Kinburn Kermesse gravel training race and the successful West Carleton Gravel Series. The goal was to expose more to the great gravel riding located in the western rural area of Ottawa.
In late 2017, having always been interested in geography, I began looking at google maps, specifically focusing on the area of the Canadian Shield. A short driving distance away, I noticed the many gravel roads in Lanark that didn't obey the normal road grid pattern of the primarily flat Ottawa Valley.
Driven by my enormous curiosity, all it took was one drive out to Hopetown and 24 km of riding to have one of the greatest cycling experiences of my life. It was an epiphany that was hard to express in words. I had just fallen into a world of endless single lane treed pristine gravel roads. At this point, it was October and I had little time left, so after a few more explorations, I made a plan to come back in 2018 and discover more.
Starting in the spring of 2018 with a new teammate, Alain Villeneuve, we made multiple journeys to Lanark and Renfrew Counties and couldn't believe our eyes. The euphoria from the experience was so overwhelming, we could barely speak on the short drive back. It was unbelievable to me that more people didn't know about these roads less than 40 mins from Ottawa. At that point I made it my mission to get more people out riding in Lanark and Renfrew. With much success, we instituted "Gravel Guys Rides" and participants became instant ambassadors after just one ride.
In August of 2018 at a cottage in Haliburton, it suddenly came to me and I realized what I needed to do. I sent Alain an email outlining 5 gravel cyclosportif events using all the knowledge we'd accumulated over the summer. After some adjustments here and there, things started becoming clearer and we began to plan.
The result is the Eastern Canada Gravel Cup Series; events designed around safety and enjoyment that welcome racers and riders equally.
When you see the abundance of peaceful scenic treed undulating roads, I hope you'll be as astounded as I was to discover the amazing gravel of Lanark and Renfrew Counties. Riding has never been the same for me and it's my hope that all participants will go through the same rabbit hole I did. Take the "red pill", stay in Wonderland and never look back.
A former National Team rider and 1996 Junior National Road Race Champion,
Brendan fell hard for gravel racing and got hooked on exploring the best of Eastern Ontario's gravel roads. He was the primary organizer of Canada's first gravel training race series, The Kinburn Kermesse and the West Carleton Gravel Series Cyclosportifs. He currently races Master 1 on the nine2fivepro Cycling Team founded by his younger brother Charlie.
A stay-at-home dad and husband, Brendan is the proud father of two sons, Kyle and Quinn. Before deciding to be a stay-at-home dad, he had a successful career in the banking sector as a Financial Advisor specializing in mortgages and investments.
As events that bring together both the adventure and the racing cyclist, Brendan recognizes the enormous growth potential of gravel racing and is committed to promoting it as an enjoyable alternative to the current racing scene.
After much exploration of Lanark and Renfrew County's spectacular gravel roads Brendan had a vision to create a series in the Ottawa Valley to get more people exposed to these breathtaking roads. The Eastern Canada Gravel Cup is that vision.