What do they say?
“I am a 55 year old female and have been cycling for a few years. My cycling consisted of mainly commuting and I did a couple of “longer rides” of 50 and 100 km. A friend of mine did the medio fondo in 2017 and raved about it. I decided to sign up once I saw there was a training program to get me ready. I signed up for the beginners clinic out of North Vancouver (Comor) location.
“I was so nervous….even on the first night when we met at the St. Regis. I was intimidated and questioned my sanity. I was worried that everyone would be better than me, that I wouldn’t be able to keep up; that I wouldn’t make it up Taylor Way let alone to Whistler! The first clinic I felt my anxiety relax. The people in the clinic were just as nervous as I was!
“There were differing ages and some were more physically fit. But the common factor was we were all in it together. The instructors, Brad and Haley were great. Super encouraging. I made good friends through the clinic and we rode together during the lead up to the event. The training program was specific and allowed me to slowly build up the stamina for the event.
I also attended two of the PrimaFondo rides that the GranFondo put on at Red Truck Brewery. Each longer ride gave me more confidence. Last September every one of us successfully completed the Whistler Gran Fondo!”
“When I first joined the clinic it was with the intention that I wanted to learn bike riding technique and as well learn how to maximize my cycling efficiency and power. I was not feeling confident enough to consider completing the Gran Fondo.
“However our coaches Edwin and Marcelo were amazing. They taught us technique, ways to strength training, power diet, importance of rest, changing tires, carrying the right gear and equipment to fix minor problems with my bike and be prepared for weather conditions. Most of all they taught us to have confidence in our capability to ride. After 12 weeks of training hard I felt stronger, ambitious and had the confidence that I would be able to complete the Gran Fondo. This experience was so good that I am looking forward to do this year’s Intermediate Clinics.
“Completing the RBC GranFondo Whistler was an incredible achievement for me and I hope I empower more women in my family and life”.
“I decided to do the My FirstFondo clinic because I was very new to the sport of cycling. Although a welcome challenge, the thought of riding my bicycle to Whistler was quite intimidating. I wanted to become more confident riding on roads, be able to climb hills efficiently, and to be comfortable riding in groups.
The training clinics gave me the skills and confidence to be able to tackle the Fondo head on. I’m pretty sure that without the clinic, I would not have achieved my goals. I am now very passionate about cycling and get really excited helping my friends to come to love this sport too!”
Vanessa Konn - My FirstFondo 2017 rider
“I joked with my clinic leader, Brad, on our last ride before the RBC GranFondo Whistler, “they should really call this ‘Zero to Fondo in 12 Weeks’!” We laughed, but I reflected on that ride how true this rang for my training experience.
I’ve never considered myself an athlete by any means, I mostly exercised to be able to eat and drink what I wanted. I had hired a personal trainer and found myself decently strong, but my cardio condition was embarrassing, to say the least – so I was tasked to run for 3 km without stopping. Setting a fitness goal, working towards it, and conquering it were three completely new additions to my vocabulary.
In the spring of last year, I ran my first 5 km race, then my first 10 km, then pushed myself to my first half marathon in June. These were all things I never believed I could do. After the half marathon, I felt out of fitness goals. My mum had signed up for RBC GranFondo Whistler; I was a hard “no” and sure this would be way too difficult for a beginner cyclist – I didn’t even have a bike that would take me to Whistler. This all changed following the information at the My FirstFondo Kick-Off night, I had taken the plunge after meeting my future clinic lead, Brad, and speaking with several veteran Fondo riders. I upgraded my bike and jumped right in.
The My FirstFondo clinic turned out to be exactly what I needed to prepare myself for RBC GranFondo Whistler. My training group was full of other first-timers, who I found had a lot of the same “can I do this?” nerves as I did. We learned to corner, hill climb, signal, change a flat, and be efficient in our movements. We sweat, we laughed, our legs burned, some of us fell over, and we all completed the RBC GranFondo Whistler. I crossed the finish line alongside my mum, and experienced my most memorable finish-line-feeling yet.
I highly recommend the My FirstFondo clinics to anyone preparing for this incredible ride – it will give you the confidence and skills to conquer the RBC GranFondo Whistler, plus some new cycling friends!”
Mei Kempton - My FirstFondo 2017 rider
“Let me start by saying that I’m not a road biker, or biker at all. I learned to bike when I was 40 years old, I’m 48 years old now but last year was the first time doing anything over 20 km on a bike. One of my bucket list items was to do the RBC GranFondo Whistler before I turned 50 years old. I was doing a lot of spin classes and many of my fellow spinners were road cyclists and talked about the joys of doing a Fondo.
I signed up for a My FirstFondo training clinic with my husband who is an excellent biker, but came with me for moral support. The first class was a real eye opener. My instructor, Brad Hughes, wanted to access our abilities so we went on an easy 20 km around Mount Seymour Parkway… All my insecurities of riding, being around cars, flared up and had a panic attack. The instructors were so kind and one of them would always be with me till the end of the ride.
Needless to say, every class after that was another struggle of learning, beating down my demons, but with each class as well, I could see improvement. With the encouragement of Brad and the others in the class, students as well as the instructors, I started using clip in peddles, we did a climb up Cypress Mountain and each of the instructors would check in on all of us to make sure we were ok. Our My FirstFondo group really bonded together. We talked about our training, group rides, the ups and downs.
We, as a My FirstFondo group, finished the RBC GranFondo Whistler. All of us, who started that day, finished in the allotted time. It was one of the hardest, most rewarding athletic achievements I’ve ever accomplished. We met for supper a week later to relive our Fondo day. The My FirstFondo clinic really helped us bond and now we all have an experience of a lifetime that we will never forget.”