The drive from Vancouver, BC to Whistler is itself an experience to be had. From the Sea to Sky highway, you pass turquoise colored glacier-fed inlets and lakes and as you move farther north, the Pacific range looms over the alpine valleys filled with waterfalls and an ever-changing landscape. There are multiple places to pull off for photos and to check-out the sites that are right along the highway.
When we arrived, we quickly set-up camp in our beautiful campsite at the Whistler RV Park and Campground with views spanning the valley and mountain range into Whistler Village. For our first day in the area, we did what any full-time roadtrippers do - find laundry and groceries. After only a few days on the road, we realized how much we are going to find these mundane tasks as actually rewarding and as a pleasant way to slow down. To have freshly cleaned sheets and non-campfire soaked clothes is a luxury we are truly beginning to appreciate.
After a few days, my friend arrived, as she was also participating in the upcoming GranFondo cycling race. The moment she parked, we hurried her into her hiking boots for a quick drive to a waterfall just down the road. Brandywine Falls is ‘must-see’, as it’s right off highway 99 and just a short walk to the view point. The water cascades over a 210 foot cliff into the river below, which opens into the valley and eventually pours into Daisy Lake.
The next day was spent in Vancouver, procuring our race packets and exploring the city as much as we could within a very short timeframe. We did have the most delicious ramen lunch along Robson Street and picked up some supplies for dinner that night, which ended being the OX marinated flank steak with fire roasted potatoes. A perfect pre-race day meal.
Saturday was race day and all of my anticipation was culminating in an extreme nervousness, due to my lack of real cycling training and really any training at all for the last couple of weeks. I was convincing myself that even though I was in good running shape, that was not going to translate to good shape on a bike. At some point, however, I did realize that regardless of my speed or cycling skills, it was going to be a beautiful ride and I was lucky to have my mom-in-law as my riding partner for the lovely, scenic route we both were about to enjoy. Also, as we milled around the start line, I noticed a few other hybrid bikes and a lack of professional-like riding gear on some of the participants - I was in good company.
The ride was amazing. There were plenty of hills to test the endurance of my quads, which were quickly followed by steep declines of reprieve. We made sure to hit every rest area and take advantage of their offerings, while observing how unhurried the cyclist seemed to be in contrast to running rest areas, where you’re literally running with your shot of water and chucking the empty cup at the poor volunteer stationed at the trash cans. Not the case here - I think there may have even been some riders taking a nap along the edges of the perimeter. As we neared the end of the 55 kilometers, I realized how much better I was dealing with the pain and soreness in my legs than I ever had in a running race. Something I had not anticipated, but makes me think cycling might be something I take up in a real way at some point.
When we finally crossed the finish line, we gathered our medals and made a bee-line for the beer and burgers, while celebrating our accomplishment. My friend ended up winning 1st in her division, while my mom-in-law and I celebrated our finish and our still being able to walk.
Whistler Village in summer is a hub of adventure-seekers, romantic get-away couples and everything in between. We got to know the little epicenter pretty well while staying there and while not really enjoying a meal at one of the many casual and upscale dining establishments, we did clean the Roots store out of their fall merchandise and popped into many of the shops. There is something for everyone in Whistler and with the backdrop of the Whistler and Blackcomb peaks, it’s not hard to fall in love with the mountain town.
On the way back from Whistler Village that evening, after enjoying a concert on the lawn of the Olympic Pavilion, we stopped at a little pizzeria in Creekside. The place was called Creekbread. A huge primitive wood fire oven is the centerpiece in the cozy and eclectic dining space, with wood everything and walls covered in whimsical forest art. Maybe it was the mountain air or our extreme hunger, but it was perhaps one of the best pizzas we've ever had.
Our last day in Whistler was spent enjoying our view and catching up on routine to-dos. I spent the afternoon baking pumpkin pie muffins, which turned out wonderfully. Please enjoy the recipe in the prior post.