GranFondo a success, and only the beginning 

Organizers looking to expand field to 10,000


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Michael Brisbois, the general manager for The Keg and Brandy's, said they received notice in advance from Tourism Whistler and other organizations that it would be busy on Saturday, and took steps to accommodate the crowds.

"We had our waiters start early and our kitchen open a little earlier as well, as we were expecting a big influx of business into the resort that night," he said. "It went very well, people were happy and it was a great clientele for the town. I think next year we would possibly open a little earlier, maybe 4 p.m. because there were already people waiting to get in that had done the ride and we could have started earlier."

Brisbois has talked to other restaurant and shop owners and has heard that it was busy all day - first with families of riders looking for places to eat lunch and shopping before heading to the finish line, and later with riders celebrating their day.

"It was really well done, and I think it will be even better next year," said Brisbois. "There are always a few bugs for a new event, although this one went pretty well and will be even better next year. On the whole everybody seemed extremely happy, and the resort can be proud of that."

Mike Edwards also did the ride, as well as service a large number of riders and their families at his café businesses around Whistler. In both capacities he was extremely happy.

"As a rider it was fantastic, and really well done," he said. "It was similar to an Ironman, where everything has been thought of ahead of time, everything was put into place," he said. "The finish line was also incredible, really social with friends and family everywhere, and they had blankets to hand out when it got a little cooler. Everybody was really happy with the attention to detail."

As a business owner, Edwards says he would need to compare his numbers at The Lift Coffee Company, Java and his other businesses from week to week, but expects that it will be a busy one.

"Really, 4,000 riders brought about 12,000 people to the village, and we got a tonne of traffic," he said. "The race really brought people up here on a weekend where the weather wasn't that great and it would have been a lot quieter."

In terms of demographics, GranFondo riders are a dream demographic for Whistler. The largest category was Male 40 to 49 with 1,178 riders at the start line. Male 50 to 59 represented another 799 riders, and Male 30 to 39 another 492.

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