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Vancouver’s GranFondo Whistler Cycling Road Race

 GranFondo Whistler

The GranFondo Whistler is a cycling event in September. The main race starts in Vancouver’s Stanley Park and ends with a party at Whistler‘s Celebration Plaza.

In 2023 the race is on September 9th. It resumed on September 10th, 2022, after it was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19.


GranFondo Whistler in 2023

The GranFondo Whistler is a cycling event with routes that span various distances. It goes along the beautiful Sea to Sky Highway from Vancouver to Whistler. “Gran Fondo” in Italian literally means “big ride” which is appropriate considering the distance cyclers need to travel between the two locations!


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GranFondo Routes

Cyclists have three route options to choose from that span different distances. There are the Medio, Gran and Forte races. They range between 55 km and 152 km in length.


Medio Cycling Race Route

The 55 kilometre “Medio” route starts and finishes in Whistler. Participants cycle to Whistler Olympic Park before making their way back to the main town. “Medio” is great for families and people looking for something easier and don’t want to cycle all the way from Vancouver.


GranFondo Race in the Early Morning
Heading to the North Shore


Gran Fondo Cycling Race Route

The most popular route, the “Gran Fondo,” starts in Stanley Park and ends in Whistler. It spans 122 kilometres and cyclists gain a total of 1,900 metres in elevation. Participants are on the Sea to Sky Highway for much of the journey and can enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way.

With this race cyclists don’t have to worry about traffic since the roads up are closed to cars for a good part of the day (which is great for them but not so convenient for people wanting to get to places along the Sea to Sky region by vehicle). If you plan to drive somewhere on the day of the race, plan accordingly!


GranFondo on Lions Gate Bridge
On Lions Gate Bridge after Leaving Stanley Park


Forte Cycling Race Route

Lastly, the most challenging “Forte” route goes for an impressive 152 kilometres. Much of the “Forte” is the same as the “Gran Fondo,” with the exception that participants go up to the Cypress Mountain ski area before coming back down and joining their fellow “Gran Fondo” cyclists on the main route. As a reward for their efforts, “Forte” riders receive an extra-large medal once they finish (along with extra sore legs!).


Celebration Plaza and Training

To honour each rider’s achievement, a big celebration takes place at Whistler Olympic Plaza from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on the day of the event (so on September 9th in 2023). Lots of food and drinks are available and a beer garden is there too. Different performers are also on site to keep folks entertained. The main live entertainment in 2023 takes place from 1:45 to 2:25 pm.

People interested in participating but lacking cycling experience have the option of signing up for training too. Ten-week programs for beginner to advanced level riders begin in June.


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Other Information

Visit the GranFondo Whistler website for more information about the cycling event.

Other articles that might be of interest include the following:

To learn more about the final destination of the race, see our article about Whistler Village or visit the website WhatToDoInWhistler.ca.