Athletes finishing the Whistler Gran Fondo Bike Race.

Gran fondo means big ride in Italian, and that’s certainly what it is. The Whistler Gran Fondo bike race is a 122-kilometre ride from Vancouver up the stunning Sea to Sky Highway, that’s happening this Saturday, September 6.

Attracting riders of all abilities there will people pedaling like there’s no tomorrow, and others snacking on sandwiches whilst taking in the views.

Fun Fact: Whistler was host to Canada’s first ever world-class gran fondo in 2010

Already a 122-kilometre undertaking, the organizers have decided to up the ante for 500 hard core riders this year and add a trip up Cypress Mountain before the ride out to Whistler. The new “forte” ride brings the k’s to 152 and with a 2,500 metre elevation gain it’s now the toughest gran fondo in the country.

Unless you’re one of the crazy 500 heading up Cypress, then the start of the cycle is at Stanley Park. Those looking to catch the worn-out finishers should head to the Celebration Plaza in Whistler, as the end line is on Blackcomb Way – just follow the cheering.

This isn’t the only new event, they’ve added the “Pursuit Challenge” on Sunday (Sept 7), which sees riders race down Blackcomb Way in a 900 metre sprint. Limited to 64 racers, the top finisher from each four-person knockout heat moves on to the next round, until the ultimate champion is determined. The action starts at 10am and 100% of the registration proceeds will be donated to the Whistler Cycling Club – thanks GranFondo! Here’s how it went down in Quebec last year:

Challenge Sprint Pro | 2013 from GPCQM on Vimeo.

If you think you might be interested in donning some Lycra, but the 122 kilometres of pedaling seems a little daunting? They do have the “medio” category which starts in Squamish and is a mere 55 kilometres.

The Whistler Gran Fondo bike race has a big party finish this year with BBQ and Deep Cove beers at the Longhorn, and the dance floor beckoning at Garfinkel’s.


Gibbons Whistler

Gibbons has been celebrating with people since 1979. We operate venues, run festivals, brew beer, talk travel and throw parties.