Get Ready for the 2023 Whistler Gran Fondo

Cyclists at the GranFondo Whistler

Cyclists at the GranFondo Whistler. Photo: Destination BC/Robin O’Neill

The RBC Whistler GranFondo is North America’s largest Gran Fondo as thousands of cyclists pedal the scenic Sea to Sky Highway between Vancouver and Whistler. The 2023 edition starts on September 9th, but there are lots of things to see and do leading up to the race.


Gran Fondo Facts

  • In Italian, gran fondo means big ride.
  • A gran fondo is a long-distance road bike ride open to cyclists at all levels.
  • The event starts in Vancouver’s Stanley Park and ends in Whistler Village.
  • There are three different distance options at the Whistler Gran Fondo. The main Gran Fondo route is 122 km long. The Forte route adds an extra climb up to Cypress Provincial Park for a total distance of 152 km. And the 55-kilometre-long Medio is an out-and-back route to Whistler Olympic Park from Whistler Village.
  • Finishers receive a custom meal and there are prizes for the competitive St. Regis Cup portion of the event.
Cyclists biking the Sea-to-Sky Hwy during the RBC GranFondo Whistler.

Cyclists biking the Sea-to-Sky Hwy during the RBC GranFondo Whistler. Photo: Destination Vancouver


Join the PrimaFondo Party

Get ready for the GranFondo with the PrimaFondo Party. (Prima means before in Italian!) Red Truck Brewery is hosting a group ride on Monday, September 4th followed by a barbecue, prizes, and of course beer.

Bikes outside Red Truck Brewery at the PrimaFondo Party

Bikes outside Red Brewery at the Prima Fondo Party. Photo: RBC Whistler GranFondo


Take a Chill Pre-Race Ride

Keep the legs moving with a relaxed pre-race ride. Locals love the ride around Stanley Park, often referred to as the “sloop” or “sploop” since cyclists often tackle the 10.7 km loop multiple times. Or head out with your family on one of Vancouver’s car-free bike paths.

Cyclists on the seawall

Cyclists on the sea wall. Photo: Destination Vancouver/Tanya Goehring


Stretch it Out

Vancouver is the home of yoga-wear giant lululemon, so yoga studios are everywhere. You can even enjoy outdoor classes on the beach! Head to a class for a pre-race stretch session that’s bound to leave you limber and relaxed.

Yoga on the beach

Yoga on the beach. Photo: Destination Vancouver/Hubert Kang


Have a Spa Day

Relax and unwind before the ride with a trip to the spa to relax in saunas, steam rooms, hydrotherapy tubs, and more. Vancouver has lots of quintessentially West Coast Coast spa experiences to choose from. Or book a session at one of the city’s sensory deprivation float tanks to relieve stress and get your brain race-day ready.

Scandinave Spa in Whistler

Photo: Chad Chomlack/ Scandinave Spa


Check out the VeloSpoke Bike Expo

The huge VeloSpoke Bike Expo takes place at the Vancouver Convention Centre on Friday, September 8th. Pick up your race package, then stay to check out booths from bike and wellness vendors, chat with experts, and listen to speakers.

Cyclists enjoy the exhibits at the RBC Gran Fondo Whistler VeloSpoke Bike Expo

RBC Gran Fondo Whistler VeloSpoke Bike Expo. Photo: RBC Whistler GranFondo


Grab a Healthy Pre-Race Meal

Fuel your body with a healthy pre-race meal. Vancouver has tons of restaurants that specialize in fresh local ingredients. Head to Tractor Foods for quick-service salads, grain bowls, and soups that cater to a variety of diets from vegan to carnivore. The Naam is Vancouver’s O.G. vegetarian and vegan joint, serving up healthy natural foods for over 50 years. Or treat yourself at The Acorn Restaurant, the MICHELIN Guide-recommended vegetable-forward fine dining restaurant in the hip Main Street neighbourhood.

Brunch at The Acorn

Brunch at The Acorn Restaurant. Photo: The Acorn/Instagram


Carbo-Load in Style

If you’re looking to carbo-load before the Gran Fondo, you can’t go wrong at Nook where they specialize in house-made pasta and wood-fired pizza. For classic Italian, head to Savio Volpe, which offers rustic and regional food styled after an old-school osteria. For something special, try Ask for Luigi, an intimate, family-style pasta spot that’s MICHELIN Guide-recommended.

Eating on the patio at Nook

Patio dining at Nook restaurant in the Shipyards District. Photo: Destination BC/@vancitywild

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed for this post

Comments are closed.