I was lucky enough to participate in the Royal Bank of Canada's Whistler Gran Fondo this past Saturday! A huge thank you to RBC for making this possible! As I've mentioned before, good things come in 3's, and this was the year's 3rd running of the "big bike". So, I wanted to highlight my 3 favourite things about this year's event.
It's not a race. It's an event. I was so happy about this. I've had my fair share of racing this summer and it does, undoubtably, take it's toll on your psyche. Your psyche affects your physiology, and mine was in definite need of rest time. But that's not to say that a girl can't hop on her bike (yes, tri bike, sorry roadies but I was too lazy to switch my pedals & saddle over to the roadster) and ride to Whistler for fun!
I have never ridden my bike up to Whistler because I think there is a high degree of risk riding on those roads, and as beautiful as it is, I have decided against biking to Whistler. So given the opportunity to ride on a protected course up to Whistler on a sunny Saturday was a dream event! After racing at Ironman Canada, I was ready to just ride.
I love the start of these events - go to any other 'race' and someone is always going fast from the gun, cannon, bull horn, you name it. In these events, the de rigueur is to nice out comfortably & at a friendly pace - what a nice way to start :) Now, that sort of flies out the window once cyclists triple jacked on caffiene all hit the Upper Levels and start mash hammering & passing from both left and right sides, but, until that point it's lovely. You cycle over the Lions' Gate bridge with the sun rising and mountains ahead of you and life just seems like a dream. It had to have been one of the best mornings I've spent outside all year. Simply fantastic.
Being a ride and not a race, it's likely the only event where I'll cycle behind Simon Whitfield. So, again, if that doesn't sell you on doing this ride, what will? (Editors note: I cycled behind him until Furry Creek Hill, then I promptly lost touch :)
This is a great event for anyone to do. If the 122km scares you, it shouldn't. If the mass starts spook you a bit, fair game - but there is plenty of opportunity to start at the back and take your time, and work your way through (and you get a great draft!). All you need is a bike that works, or works most of the time (there were lots of riders participating as Tech Support on course - as there were for Medical as well - props to the organizers for having riders in touch on the course!). And of course, should you need it, there were plenty of ambulancias out on course as well. Thanks guys!
There are beautiful aid stations with clean (yes, clean!) portapotties (a friend of mine even got an award for 'pee of the day' - which he did in a portapotty - but received a free cycling cap for his efforts - awesome!). I even got off my bike to pee, which was a total luxury (for me and others near me) so too bad I missed out on the 'prizing'. The aid stations are beautiful - full of fruit and Honey Stinger WAFFLES and all things sugary and good. I found myself hungry at aid station #2 and delightfully pulled over and stocked up on yummy treats - then ate said yummy treats whilst enjoying the view - things I don't get to do in an Ironman event. I was a very happy girl!
But back to my point - you can do this event. The organizers make it possible. This is not a hard core die hard hammer til you drop or die event. This is civilized. This is pleasant. To me, this event was truly luxurious in it's layout. So, is it worth the cost of $200 odd dollars for a little bike ride? I'd say it's a must do event one time in your life, and most certainly you'll forget about the cost once you've participated and enjoyed your life to the fullest that day. No price point on that, I don't think.
Terza volta e un fascino
I got to wear this...
You Just Got Chicked, one of my lovely sponsors, as released a sweet cycling kit that I was lucky enough to get my hands on for the RBC Whistler Gran Fondo! What a treat! I've been able to bust out my You Just Got Chicked gear for running and tri events, but not yet for cycling, so I was super excited to get this gear on and get my tuckus in motion and pass some boys out there.
It never fails! "AH, I just got chicked AGAIN" - it's my favourite phrase to hear as I smile and slice past boys on course. It's a great way to make riding fun (for more than just the rider, I swear - I'm pretty sure the guys love it). In fact, "I LOVE being chicked" was another hilarity someone shouted out as I zipped past. I also have to say, some guys say nothing, and that is pretty satisfying too :)
So ladies - I really think you should call up the Chicked girls and order this kit! The more Chicked girls out there the better - and what wouldn't be sweeter than a pace line of You Just Got Chicked cycling kits?? Um, nothing :)
Happy riding everyone - fall is coming - although luckily in Vancouver we appear to be getting a second shot at summer - just with a crisp morning and evening - not too shabby! Enjoy the outdoor rides before indoor training season is upon us.