British Columbia

The GranFondo: What you need to know

More than 4,000 cyclists will head up the Sea to Sky Highway for the RBC GranFondo Whistler Saturday. Whether you love it or loathe it, here's all the info you need.

The 122 km ride begins in downtown Vancouver and ends in Whistler

4,000 cyclists will ride from Vancouver to Whistler on Saturday 2:48

For the fourth year in a row, more than 4,000 cyclists will be heading up the Sea to Sky Highway for the RBC GranFondo Whistler on Saturday.

The 122 km ride from Vancouver to Whistler will take most riders somewhere between 3½ to 8 hours, depending on how much training they really did.

Whether you want to be part of the action or avoid it altogether, The Early Edition asked founder Kevin Thompson for his list of places to be -- and where to avoid -- during the race.

Fans cheering on riders along the GranFondo route. (GranFondo Whistler)

What not to miss?

  • The VeloSpoke Bike Expo at Vancouver Convention Centre on Friday from 11:00 a.m PT until 8:00 p.m is free to the general public.
  • Get downtown by 6:30 a.m. Saturday to see the start and catch the buzz of thousands of riders setting out for Whistler.
  • If you're in Squamish, walk or ride to the Garibaldi Mall between 8:00 a.m. and noon. There's a FanZone there and market place set up. You can watch the cyclists ride by and this is also the location for the start of the Medio (55 km course).
  • If you're in Whistler, you want to be at Olympic Plaza to see the first finishers around 10:15 a.m. and stay for the beer garden and live entertainment until 5:00 p.m.
The race begins in downtown Vancouver. (GranFondo Whistler)

How to avoid it:

  • Avoid the Sea to Sky Highway until midday if at all possible. There will be significant delays for motor vehicle traffic.
  • Lions Gate Bridge will be closed northbound from 6:00 a.m. until 8:00 a.m. Use the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge.
  • Obey traffic control personnel and follow all signs along the route.

With files from The Early Edition's Franny Karlinsky. You can follow her on twitter @franhey

The Whistler GranFondo route runs 122 km from downtown Vancouver to Whistler.