BC Superweek: Gastown Grand Prix & Giro di Burnaby

Author: Shirley Wong

Vancouver Barista Gastown Grand Prix
The massive start line of the 2015 Gastown Grand Prix on Wednesday

“I’m bulletproof.”

– David Guetta  (from “Titanium”)

BC Superweek (July 10-18th) is an exciting time for local cycling fans . We get to watch a cluster of pro cycling races right in our own backyard: Tour de Delta, UBC Grand Prix, Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix, Giro di Burnaby and the Tour de White Rock.

For years, Mike and I have been fans of the Gastown and Burnaby races which are very different by nature of their neighbourhoods. In the Gastown Grand Prix, riders have the challenge of riding over a narrow brick road with a slight incline (that can quickly feel exhausting). It’s a crazy, noisy race which attracts 20k spectators that’s set in a hip neighbourhood. We love taking our usual place along a stretch of Water Street where the crowd roars, ring their cycling “cowbells” and pound the fence to cheer on the riders as they pass.

The Giro di Burnaby is in our backyard. The circuit zips along long stretches of East Hastings Street, briefly turns off onto blocks to race past houses and reappears again on Hastings. It’s also very flat and smooth, so the race feels extremely fast. We’re proud that Burnaby is so committed to this sport that every year they shut down a major artery of Hastings for hours, which is normally clogged with rush hour traffic.

On our bucket list: eventually check out all the races in one week. Enjoy our favourite pics from Wednesday’s Gastown race and Thursday’s Burnaby race!

Shirley & Mike

Vancouver Barista Gastown Grand Prix
Spectators enjoying the Gastown Grand Prix

Vancouver Barista Gastown Grand Prix
Our Gastown Grand Prix “cowbell” that we bring every year to cheer on the riders

Vancouver Barista Gastown Grand Prix
Shirley with the cowbell, in an excited crowd

 


Vancouver Barista Gastown Grand Prix
See those covered fences? Spectators pound them as cyclists go by and they make a sound that’s thunderous.

Vancouver Barista Gastown Grand Prix
Cyclists racing along the narrow cobbled road

Vancouver Barista Gastown Grand Prix
Gastown roads barricaded for the race

Vancouver Barista Gastown Grand Prix
A sign advertising the Gastown race under a shaded tree

Vancouver Barista Giro di Burnaby
Our Giro di Burnaby cowbell

 


Vancouver Barista Giro di Burnaby
The grandstand where an announcer broadcasts play-by-play and commentary of the race.

 


Vancouver Barista Giro di Burnaby
Watching the riders on a sunny afternoon

 


Vancouver Barista Giro di Burnaby
A young pro rider in the making?

Vancouver Barista Giro di Burnaby
Riders leaning into the turn

Vancouver Barista Giro di Burnaby
A cyclist taking photos of the race

Vancouver Barista Giro di Burnaby
A cluster of cyclists

Vancouver Barista Giro di Burnaby
A dog sleeps as a blur of cyclists go by

Vancouver Barista Giro di Burnaby
The cyclists are so close to spectators as they race by, which makes it very exciting

Vancouver Barista Giro di Burnaby
A young rider going home

Vancouver Barista Giro di Burnaby
Cycling attracts a broad base of fans and keeps growing

 


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