As mentioned in an earlier post we signed up for the virtual version of the GranFondo Whistler 2020. GranFondo translates to ”big ride”. The concept started in Italy and allows big groups of riders, of any level to enjoy a community fun ride. Nicky and Derek have done the Whistler one in past year. It’s a spectacular ride on the Sea-to-Sky highway from Vancouver to Whistler. It’s 122 km (or 152 for the longer version) and 1900 m of vertical. For this year’s virtual version, all we had to do was ride 152 km between Sept 1 and 12. We did the ride in two rides. One on Thursday for 71 km and 604m vertical and today we rode 82 km and 929 m of vertical. We’ve never done that much climbing. It’s a testament to the terrain here and we are again ever thankful for the e-bikes. The hills were tough but very doable with the e-bikes.
What made our rides fun was doing it with Nicky (and Derek for part of today). It was great to have expert route planners! We did two very different rides and both were fantastic rides.
Thursday’s ride took us from Duncan up to Lake Cowichan. We have done this before along the bike trail but this ride followed the River Bottom Road which wound its way up and down some big hills, close to the the Cowichan River. It is pretty low right now and a bit of a lazy river, but we also looked down into the Marie Canyon which reminded us a bit of the Barren Canyon. There was some paved roads and some washboardy gravel roads that make us shaken (not stirred). Quite a ride.
We had a short rest in the town of Lake Cowichan and then took the easy way back along the bike trail back to Duncan.
Today’s ride was a lot different. Starting again from Duncan we made our way to Mill Bay, up part of the Malahat Mountain to Bamberton Prov Park, back to Mill Bay for lunch and then a slight different route back to Duncan. The ride was beautiful and varied. We passed farms, many vineyards, rode along the water, climbed many hills (and enjoyed some great downhills as well). Nicky and I extended the planned route so we could finish the 152 km in just two rides. So we did a loop out to Maple Bay before returning to Duncan. It was a great day to accomplish lots of kilometres and almost 1000 m of elevation which is definitely a first for me. We had a grand finish!
So virtual events can be successful and more importantly fun! We had great rides (perfect weather) and fun together. Bill and I got to see routes and areas that we may not have found on our own, thanks to Nicky and Derek’s riding experience here in the Cowichan Valley. There are so many roads, and almost all of them are exceptional pavement quality (especially compared to Ontario) with paved shoulders as well, making them ideal for biking. We loved seeing the new routes and so many different views.
Next Saturday we will ride to raise funds for World Bicycle Relief. World Bicycle Relief mobilizes individuals and communities through The Power of Bicycles. They are committed to helping people conquer the challenge of distance, achieve independence and thrive.
According to the World Bank, over 60% of the 1 billion people living in sub-Saharan Africa are living in rural areas – that’s 600 million people whose primary means of transportation is walking.
We would love raise funds via donations to provide bicycles to help people create positive change in their lives and communities. If you would like to donate please visit my fundraiser page here. Remember – every $200 provides a new bike for a very deserving individual. Thanks!