After a three-year pandemic pause and being forced to cancel hosting the 2020 UCI Gran Fondo World Championships, Gran Fondo Whistler triumphantly announced its return on Saturday 10 September in Vancouver, Canada, but most of the 6700 riders though it a disaster.

After skipping three years the organizers neglected to properly stock en route aid stations, which ran out of food and water, handed out green bananas and left most riders in dire circumstances.

Afterwards social media was on fire with comments:

“The last section to Whistler was littered with riders on the side of the road cramping from lack of hydration and nutrition,” competitor Mark Firmani told the Vancouver Sun afterwards.

The bananas were hard, green, and inedible,” Nadia Erickson posted on Facebook. “[They] promised us a supported ride and failed miserably.”

On Twitter @zach_l_lee wrote, “…having no food for the first ~65+ miles was a joke, especially for an event that costed $400 and promised: ‘Each rest stop on course is fully stocked with all the athlete nutrition you will need.’ Raw plantains don’t count as food.”

In a press release, the organizer tried to lay blamed for the aid station failure on “strong headwinds throughout the day creating greater calorie demands than usual.”

“Headwinds? Really…..that’s the reason. Very lame,” Rich T. replied on Twitter.

Reddit user GrantStand1986 was more direct. “Absolutely no fucking excuses for this fiasco. They’re still pumping out propaganda images on social media about how great this was. I’ve done it for several years up to 2019. It was organized and the rest stops were fully stocked. This was about squeezing as much out of fees for management and overhead as possible because they’re making up for not getting any juice from 2020 and 2021. They clearly didn’t have a single rider involved in the planning -at least no one who had a grasp of logistics. It’s just dumb. And they’ve fucked themselves because there ain’t no way I’m shelling out hundreds of dollars for the ‘privilege’ of riding on the sea to sky only to get a lousy $2 sandwich at the end.

Gran Fondo Whistler is the largest point-to-point cycling event in North America, with most riders leaving from sea level in Vancouver and arriving 122 kilometers later on 2182 meter high Whistler Mountain, one of the world’s best ski mountains. The route takes riders along the Sea-To-Sky Highway, which is completely closed to traffic.

In the women’s race, Brooke Davis (who did not stop for green bananas) took top honors, winning in 3:49:51. Jen Petersen (3:55:09) was second and Harrison Glotman (3:55:27) took third place.

The first man to reach Whistler was Torin Halvorson who crossed under the finish banner in 3:37:45, followed by Thomas Ford (3:38:18) and Kris Yip (3:38:19).

Complete Gran Fondo Whistler results HERE.

Photos: Reddit-Okwan123, Twitter-Randy Clowes