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GranFondo Whistler riders chasing personal goals

Fastest times just over three-and-a-quarter hours



There will be 7,000 riders in the second running of the RBC GranFondo Whistler on Sept. 10, all of them with personal goals for the 122-kilometre ride from Vancouver to Whistler. For some it will be to win their category while others will be looking to reach a time goal or beat their time from last year. Some will only be looking to finish.

There are dozens of Whistler locals in the event, including a few disabled riders that will be entering for a second year.

Phil Chew, an amputee who pedals with one leg is looking to better his time from last year.

"I did it in 4:40 last year - I was trying to get under five hours but I had no idea. This year, optimistically I'd like to do 4:20. Realistically, I think I could have done it in 4:30 but I made a few mistakes," he said. "One mistake was stopping in Squamish and trying to get water, and the whole zoo there. I was so wound up and trying to do everything to be fast, and it kind of threw me off a bit. I was there for five, six, seven minutes, and it took awhile to get going again.

"(Another mistake) was after the Lions Gate bridge where about 500 passed me at the Clover leaf. A guy was directing me to come one way, and when I came out that way I realized that I had to go back. About 500 people passed me and I had to work my way through that group to really get going again."

Chew has also been training a lot more this year and will go into the 2011 race about 20 pounds lighter than 2010. He's also entered a race in Langley this year that was 144 km so he's done more than the distance - and was also under five hours in that race.

"Now I have a better bike and few things in my favour," he said.

John Ryan is no stranger to pain after pedalling his hand-cycle across Canada - a distance of almost 9,000 km - in 1999 to raise money for spinal cord research, and he plans to get through the 2011 race even if hurts.

"I had some issues with my elbows and shoulders from Squamish, so I was definitely in a lot of pain by the time I got home," he said of his 2010 GranFondo. "I'm kind of worried about that to be honest, because I haven't done enough miles in training. Fitness-wise I'm okay but I need to get more miles in the saddle."

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