Tag Archives: biking

GranFondo 2014

Today (Saturday August 6th 2014) marks the 5th annual GranFondo bike race to take place from Vancouver to Whistler.

Gran fondo (or “big ride” as loosely translated from Italian) events have been popular in Europe for many years and have been gaining speed within North America. These mass participated cycling events often involve riding a hundred kilometers or more. Gran fondos are aimed and designed for a wide variety of cycling levels and are not races even though the top finishers are recognized.

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Zachery Garland being recognized as coming in first place in the 2011 GranFondo. PHOTO FROM THE GRANFONDO WHISTLER WEBSITE.

Kevin Thomson and Neil McKinnon got together in 2007 with the idea of creating a world-class cycling event to be part of the legacy left behind from the Vancouver 2010 Olympic games. This vision was realized in September 2010 with the first GranFondo race in BC. 4000 people and their bikes attended this first year and made their way from downtown Vancouver to Whistler on the Sea to Sky Highway.

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GrandFondo participants 2010. PHOTO FROM THE GRANFONDO WHISTLER WEBSITE.

In 2011, 7000 cyclists made the trek and in 2012 the amount of people coming from all around the world grew as the Vancouver to Whistler GranFondo established itself as one of the best cycling events in North America.

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GrandFondo participants 2010. PHOTO FROM THE GRANFONDO WHISTLER WEBSITE.

We wish everyone on the trek all the best. For more information click here.

The Great Snow-Earth-Water Race Returns!

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The Great Snow Earth Water Race is being revived in 2014. A truly organic Whistler experience, we at the museum are really excited to see the return of this awesome event.

The original race began in 1975 and involved skiing, canoeing, cycling and running. Thirty teams composed of five men and women took part in that first year and the race was won by a dream team made up of Dave Murray, Trudy Alder, D.J. Muzullo, Nancy Greene Raine and Joe Czimazia. In the beginning there were very few rules, so a certain amount of “questionable” tactics were employed, including driving down the mountain!

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Competitors began at the top of Whistler Mountain where they would ski to wherever the snow finished. From there they would have to run the rest of the way down to Creekside (in ski boots, carrying their skis). At Creekside the baton was passed off to a cyclist, who would ride around Alta Lake and pass it off to the canoeists. The paddlers worked their way up the lake to the first weir on the River of Golden Dreams. Then they handed off to runners who ran back along the highway to Creekside.

Apparently, Great Race canoeist copythe canoeing was the most amusing part for bystanders. Dave Steers recalls, “Most of the teams had members who could tell the front of a canoe from the back. A few teams didn’t even have that.” Consequently there were plenty of tipped canoes and great hilarity for all.

As the years went on the race evolved to include more sports. In the 2014 revival there will be six stages: ski or snowboard touring, ski or snowboard downhill, downhill mountain biking, running, canoeing and cross-country biking.

If you fancy putting a team together it’s sure to be hilarious fun. Visit http://www.greatoutdoorsfest.com for details. The race is also in need of volunteers to help all go smoothly, so if you have spare time on May 18th and want to sign up for a piece of pure Whistler fun, you won’t regret it!