Vancouver, BC Gran Fondo first timer


#1

Hello, I am in Vancouver, BC Canada and thinking about trying a gran fondo this year, it would be my first one. I am new to endurance sports as I just got into them this year (swim bike & run). I am going to focus on running from now til May 2019 as I will do a half marathon in Feb and try my first full marathon in May. I will shoot for a half marathon time of 1 hour 50 min and I would like to do the marathon just under 4 hours if I can.
Anyway, after the marathon is done I would like to shift my focus back to the bike (I only just finished sweet spot low volume part 1) and see if I can try a gran fondo or 2 this year. Maybe the valley fondo and or the whistler fondo. There is the gibsons fondo but that may be a bit more work to participate in than I am looking for at the moment.
So I am curious if there is any feedback on me just going out and doing a gran fondo solo, by myself, or should I try to find a group to do it with?
Any other feedback is also welcomed.
Thank you


#2

Hi! Glad to have another TrainerRoad user from Vancouver. I have done the Valley GranFondo twice (2016 and 2017) and the Whistler GranFondo once in 2018. Both are excellent, well organized events and I would highly recommend them.

If you are looking to get your feet wet, so to speak, I would suggest the Pacific Populaire which is in the April timeframe. It’s a good way to try out an organized longer distance event without the bigger cost. They have 25/50/100km options. From there, the Valley GranFondo is a good bet as it offers several distances and less elevation than Whistler. But, if you are looking for an epic event with world class scenery then you must add the Whistler GranFondo to your bucket list :-).

I am not currently a member with any local bike club (just google around to find them) as I find scheduling difficult with young kids at home. I know that the Whistler GranFondo offers training programs and social group rides prior to the event (PrimaFondo rides), so that may be a good option if you are looking for organized rides.

Also, there are learn to ride clinics offered through BSP Bikes - I have done several and they are worthwhile.

You are always welcome to send me a private message should you have more specific questions.


#3

Thank you @brianv17
I also have young kids so fitting in long outdoor rides is tough, thank you trainer road :+1:.
I will keep my eyes out for Pacific populaire.
I heard about the bsp sessions and will check their site in the spring for the new sessions.
Thanks again


#4

I’m also a Vancouverite (North Vancouver).

I did the Whistler Granfondo in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Since then I’ve done other fondos like the Valley Granfondo, Tour de Victoria and the Penticton Granfondo.

If you are doing it solo and you are new to group riding, the Valley Granfondo may be the best place to start. It’s the cheapest and you can just drive out to Fort Langley for the day. Whistler, Victoria and Penticon all include extra travel costs, considerations and logistics.

If you haven’t done a lot of group riding, I highly recommend joining a local ride club. It will help you learn how to ride in a group, namely for etiquette and safety. Each club will divide up into different groups based on ability. The social aspect of ride clubs is also a big part of the fun. I have been a remember of the Steed Cycles Ride Club for the past 5 years - it’s a great community.


#5

Thanks @John_Barclay. It does look like the valley fondo makes sense for me to target. I’ll keep checking the site to see when they announce the 2019 date. I’m in north burnaby so I wish there was a cycling club somewhat close to me but everything is downtown, kits, ubc, or north shore. Maybe I will check out Steed in the spring. Thanks for the info.


#6

I think there are a few people from North Burnaby that are a part of the Steed club. The group rides start in mid-April.