This is my last post about Ironman Canada… I promise!
When we registered for Ironman Canada last October, we were pretty clueless about the logistics. I figured we’d get around to booking lodging eventually and would just ship our bikes via TriBike Transport (because that service is slick!). Fast forward a few months, friend Sonia found a great deal on a condo close to all the action, so we booked the unit below. And, Nick’s mom generously decided to drive to BC, bikes in tow, saving us a good chunk of change. As for everything else… we winged it once we arrived.
So, for those of you racing in 2014, here’s a little cheat sheet with some recommendations based on our fantastic experience there. Lucky you ;)
If you go (and, you should because it’s awesome)…
Stoney Creek Lagoons. We stayed here pre-race, and at just two blocks from Olympic Plaza, where nearly all things IM took place, it was the perfect location. Unit 41 was quiet, on the ground level (no stairs to walk up!), had comfortable beds, a full kitchen, wifi and underground parking, and allowed bikes. It was also an easy walk to the grocery store, race check-in, the expo, the bus pick-up race morning, and, most importantly, to the finish line. Ideal because you pretty much just want to eat and shower after swimbikerunning all day and then head to the finish line for the last hour.
The Fitzsimmons. Two days after the race, we stayed here. It’s in the heart of the village (and above La Bocca), so it’s a bit loud in the late evenings (i.e. not good if you want a good night’s sleep before the race). But, it was super comfortable and huge (three levels… perfect for a big group) and had a full kitchen, wifi and underground parking. One drawback: It didn’t allow bikes in the unit; however, no one checked, so you could likely get away with it.
Wild Wood Pacific Bistro. Best bacon, eggs and gluten-free toast around. And, definitely order the banana bread French toast. It’s kind of tucked back off the beaten path, but it’s well worth the visit. We brunched there twice!
La Bocca. I’m still craving the pickled beet, fresh salmon, goat cheese and arugula salad I ate here. The funky restaurant is in the village, has a sweet patio (with heat lamps and blankets!), great service and delicious food. We ate here three times, including with our race meal voucher… and, yes, I had that salad two of those visits.
Sushi Village. We had platefuls of fresh sushi + sashimi and a couple pitchers of sake margaritas while cozied into our own private dining room. Sushi doesn’t get much better.
Lift Coffee Company. The coffee and tea were tasty, and the gluten-free muffin Nick and I shared… well, I should have had my own; it was too good to share. Wireless was a bit spotty and slow, but the view of the Peak 2 Peak gondola and downhill mountain biking was nice (those bikers are insane). I had to restrain Nick from renting a downhill bike the day after IM.
Glutenull. I eat a lot of toast because it’s easy on my sensitive stomach. And, because I don’t eat gluten, I typically travel with a loaf of GF bread (along with lots of other snacks… apples, Picky Bars, dark chocolate, avocados). A poor planner this trip, I only packed five slices – just enough for breakfast the first day there and on race day. However, while wandering around the grocery store one block from Stoney Creek Lagoons (another location bonus!), I found Glutenull. Hands-down the best GF bread I’ve had, and I’ve tried a lot. Even better, there are only six ingredients in the brown rice bread. I’m currently trying to get my local co-op to carry it; it’s that good.
Peak 2 Peak gondola. At $50 each, it’s pricey, but the views are worth it (we had two-for-one tickets in our race bags). Plus, it’s a good way to relax after ironman. Be sure to wait for the glass bottom gondola (they come around every 15 minutes or so), and if you’re not too sore from racing, allow yourself enough time to hike on the Blackcomb side.
Village stroll. There’s plenty of shopping, people watching and coffee drinking in the quaint village. We spent a solid afternoon bumming around, shopping at classic Canadian companies, Roots and lululemon (because duh), as well as checking out some new reads at Armchair Books.
Olympic Plaza. Because who doesn’t dream of going to the Olympics?! Sure, the Winter Olympics took place here in 2010, but hanging out in Olympic Plaza is the next best thing (this is where the race expo was set up, too). Obligatory photos in the rings!
Sea-to-Sky Highway. There isn’t a bad view on this drive (or bike!), even when it’s raining. Mountains on one side + water (and more mountains) on the other = gorgeous.
Farmers market. Every Wednesday the farmers market pops up at the base of Blackcomb. We bought the most delicious fresh blackberries and strawberries (I could have eaten them all in one sitting) and some incredible locally-made coconut butter (I’m hoarding it because I don’t want the jar to be empty!).