Organizers of the RBC Gran Fondo bike race issued an apology on Sunday after they ran out of food at rest stops along the 122-kilometer route this weekend.
The annual race sees the Sea to Sky Highway closed to allow nearly 6,000 cyclists to race from Vancouver to the finish line in Whistler.
Several runners shared their frustration on social media, saying that the lack of food and water on the uphill track puts riders at risk.
“He’s never seen anything like it. If you told me I needed to bring my own food myself, I would. It has become a safety issue,” contestant Dave Thompson tweeted.
One rider, who asked not to be identified, snapped a photo of a green banana he received at the third stop near Alice Lake.
“It was tough,” he told the Daily Hive. “A hot day and a lot of climbing without enough hydration and nutrients. I ended up finishing but definitely depressed towards the end.”
Race organizers confirmed that food supplies were “partially exhausted” at three relief stations by the time some of the riders arrived.
“We are internally questioning the situation to understand the factors that led to this situation occurring after three years without incident,” the organizers said in a tweet.
“However, in the meantime, we would like to apologize directly… and let you know that sometimes we did not meet the high standards you would expect from the events we set.”
– RBC GranFondo (@rbcgranfondo) September 11, 2022
The cost of racing at Gran Fondo is about $400, and some participants were disappointed with the lack of service given what they paid.
“I did a Forte and had no food for the first 65 miles or more which was a joke, especially for a $400 event that promised that ‘every rest stop on the course is fully filled with all the sports nutrition you’ll need,'” participant Zachary Lee tweeted, “Raw plantain as food.” “.
“partially”? It was so dry, I did a Forte and didn’t have any food for the first ~65+ miles which was a joke, especially for a $400 event I promised: “Every break on the course is completely filled with all the sports nutrition you want and need.” Raw plantain does not count as food
– Zachary Lee (@zach_l_lee) September 12, 2022
“They were expecting food and water at the remaining stations and they weren’t prepared to go without it,” said Twitter user @karbohydr8s. “You shouldn’t be able to sell tickets to an event of 7,000 people without caring about them.”
First-time contestant Lakshmi Narasimhan tweeted: “I’ve never craved food like I did yesterday and have already been able to peel and eat tasteless, raw green bananas.”
My first time and I enjoyed the overall experience. Many riders including myself didn’t bother stopping at the first break because we had to climb the exit. I’ve never craved food like I did yesterday and have already been able to peel and eat tasteless, raw green bananas.
– Lakshmi Narasimhan (Titansking) September 12, 2022
“As a long-time volunteer for this event, I thought it might be a bad sign of things to come when the starting line doesn’t provide water. Even though they know many riders head to the starting line and rely on a water station to fill their bottles before leaving,” she tweeted Volunteer Debra Cato.
As a longtime volunteer for this event, I thought it might be a bad sign of things to come when the starting line doesn’t even provide water even though they know many riders commute to the starting line and rely on a water station to fill them up before leaving. #bigfile
– Debra Kato (@debrakato) September 12, 2022
Other riders said they would not rely on assistance stations in the future and would pack water and food.