6 weeks until race day and time is flying by as we all frantically try to get our flights booked, accommodations shorted, plans in place and keep training on track. For some of us attending SeaWheeze we have had the opportunity to explore Vancouver and the west coast before, for many of those racing it will be their first time visiting VanCity and it can be overwhelming to try to plan what to do while your mind is focused on a million other things… like what on earth will you buy/or not buy at the Expo Market.
Historically many of the folks who fly in for SeaWheeze arrive Thursday and head home or to another leg of their journey on Monday, this allows four days of action – 2 before race day and 2 after race day – for those of you who want to hustle to see as much as you can while your in the best city on the west coast! *In my humble opinion 🙂
Getting Around Vancouver
Some folks are under the impression that west coast cities don’t know how to do transit – comparing them to the NYC, Toronto and London’s of the world – shame on you! Vancouver’s SkyTrain is a project the region has been working on expanding over the past few years and they really have done a fantastic job connecting you from airport to city – in a matter of 25 minutes – and ensuring that you can explore the east side of the Great Vancouver Area as well with areas such as Burnaby, New Westminster and King George being serviced.
Rates are fairly reasonable – they charge you by the Zones you wish to travel within, saving you money if you just want to travel within the downtown core. You can purchase a Single Fare for each ride or you can obtain a Compass Card to load with funds and use at your leisure throughout your stay by tapping it to enter each station. You can also take the SkyTrain to the downtown city centre from YVR Airport, it costs approximately $9 total and you can purchase a ticket right on the platform – more information here.
Vancouver by Districts
You’ve probably heard a lot of people talk about tackling The Grind when they are in Vancouver, it’s truly an experience that I recommend if you’re up for the challenge. A 2.9 km trek up which will cover an elevation gain of 853 and have you scale 2,830 stairs before you reach the top!
A free bus shuttle can be picked up from Canada Place roughly every half hour – also makes stops at a few major hotels in the downtown area – before you receive the commentary tour of a life time on the bus ride to the base of the mountain. It’s a tricky climb, for us eastern Ontario folks the west coast version of “hike” usually means a lot of stair like steps versus incline trails. Once you start The Grind you must finish, they warn you of this before you begin but you can take as much time as you’d like to finish – trust me the view is worth it! Once you’re up you take the gondola back down to the base for around $12 where you can relax at the cafe before taking the shuttle back downtown.
More information here.
You’ll need a car to get to Squamish but I promise you it is worth every single STUNNING view that you can take in after climbing Chief’s Peak #1 or #2. Keep in mind that Peak #1 you can hike up and take the Sea to Sky Gondola back down, the trail is also easier for first-timers. Chief’s Peak #2 is unassisted up and down, a few patches of tricky terrain, a few ladders to climb and a rock wall to scale but the view of the water + spit below is unlike anything that I have ever seen.
More details on Sqaumish here.