Whistler Gran Fondo - 2016

Updated: Nov 27, 2019

RBC Gran Fondo

I had heard of this Fondo from a few people & it intrigued me. Vancouver to Whistler. Ocean to mountain top-ish. 120km wasn’t anything crazy, unheard of distance & although there were mountains, would it be like those in Europe ? It was gonna be harder for sure than anything from the Prairies.

I received the invitation from good friend & organizer of the ‘Ride with the Winemaker’ event in the Okanagan, Graham Pierce who has attended before & was looking for a partner for this event. Graham is a strong rider, grew up around the Vancouver area & would definitely have the local intel on what to expect. Also being a winemaker brought with it some perks like getting the VIP treatment which enhanced my first time at this event to another level. The pre-event ride & dinner, the sweet swag & also our own starting gate kept the world class status this event has received. Thanks to Neil & his team for this.

What to expect ? There were gonna be some faster riders & people that understood how to work in a team. When to pull, how to draft, mutually benefit a group; all things that you learn from many groups rides & races. Graham’s experience had been that 'if you can stay with a good group, not only is your work load going to be easier, but you’d surprisingly ‘fly’ upto Whistler'. Modern bikes, a couple feed stops, sounds good.

On our Friday ride with a few Olympians, sponsors & select riders, I had a chance to confirm all of this info. This was the first time that I met Fillipo from the Belvedere Hotel in Riccione, Italy. I had heard about this place as I was leading tours in Mexico at the time & some of our clients had been to Italy & boasted of this amazing experience. Here was one of the guys who made this happen. The natural style he rode with, all around positive & fun demeanour along with the big smile & Italian hospitality, how could you not love this guy. After chatting a bit & learning Italian as we rode around Stanley Park, I knew this was going to have to be a future trip.