Last weekend we rode the ride we’ve been waiting for all season; the GranFondo Whistler. 120 km, 2,400 m of climbing, 1,760 m of descending, 7 am departure time, along the scenic Sea-to-Sky highway.
We headed up to Vancouver Friday afternoon but not without a few snags. I had tried to pick my bike up Thursday but it wasn’t ready, so Friday as we were heading out I tried to pick it up again only to find it was still on the mechanics stand and the mechanic wasn’t around. We were already cutting things close but we couldn’t leave without my bike :).
In Vancouver we met up with the gang, ate a large, but mediocre Italian dinner and finished the night with a round of tequila at the hotel bar.
5:45 am came early but we had to be at the line by 6:30 am for a 7 am departure. Here’s the group waiting for things to get started:
Shortly after starting we got the Lion’s Gate bridge to ourselves:
First stop wasn’t until Squamish where we feasted on pasta, pizza and wine and surprisingly ran into Dean and Jeff who I last hung out with in Panorama a few years ago on our heliski trip:
Unfortunately shortly out of Squamish my legs started to badly cramp up. Guess the 3 beers, shot of tequila and wine at the rest stop was a huge mistake! I don’t remember much from the second half of the ride because I was in a lot of pain and was focused on keeping things moving. Despite having to stop a few times because my legs totally seized up I finished in 5:30:25. A full hour behind Rob, but only two minutes behind Ming, Joe, Robert and Emmett.
Thankfully it didn’t rain (we got lucky on the weather, it poured the next day) but it sure was chilly at the finish line:
Thanks to Chelsea and Heather for driving with us to Vancouver and then driving our luggage up to Whistler. Took them almost as long to get to Whistler as it took us! In fact the fastest riders finished in about three and half hours and they probably took longer than that to drive. So tip for people doing this next year, get dropped off in Vancouver and have your significant others drive up to Whistler Friday night.
Post ride after some beers at the finish line festival we moved over to Dubh Linn Gate for pountine, nachos and more beers. Followed by a few hours in the Pan Pacific’s hot tub overlooking the village followed by a long dinner at 21 Steps. For breakfast we gorged on crepes. I think it is safe to safe that we ate all the calories we lost and then some.
The next day we drove home in the rain. It was shocking to see how many people were doing the return trip given the weather. And a big thanks to Chels for getting us massages at the Pro Club Sunday night. Perfect timing :).