This Saturday, September 10th, Whistler hosts its 7th annual GranFondo – an iconic bicycle ride up the Sea to Sky Highway from Vancouver to Whistler. While tamer than their cliff-hucking, mountain biking colleagues, road cyclists or “roadies” as they refer to themselves are starting to take over the roadways around Whistler. Because of the smooth roads and scenic vistas in every direction, road biking has become an extremely popular sport and hobby for Whistler locals and tourists. I can barely turn out of my neighborhood onto the Highway anymore, because of the bikes constantly whizzing by. If the cars have cleared, you can bet I’ll still be waiting for another bike or 2 to go by.
GranFondo means "big ride." And big it certainly is – 122 kilometers long; 800 meters in elevation; 4,000 participants; and between $200 - $500 in entry fees. Road biking is becoming a big sport in itself. More and more people are enjoying the sport for fitness, social, competitive and entertainment reasons. An event like the GranFondo is the culmination of all the pain, training and comeraderie involved in the sport of road biking. A chance for participants to ride their bikes at their pace and at the end be able to say “I did it!" is a huge draw for this race.
This event brings many people and a great deal of business to Whistler's local businesses, on a weekend that typically marks the start of the "quiet" season in Whistler. After watching the event on the side of the Highway, race spectators can also attend the Post-Race Celebrations and Award Ceremony in the Whistler Olympic Plaza afterwards. On Sunday, less serious rides can participant in the Pursuit Challenge, and kids can ride in the GranFundo. So even if you’re like me, a valley trail rider at best, the GranFondo offers big fun for all!
Take advantage of the slow season and lower lodging rates, and come up to Whistler for this lively event. Blackcomb Peaks has a variety of Aspens Condos available for the weekend!