Sandman Supports Their Own at Gran Fondo Whistler!

A large part of being a good corporate citizen is taking responsibility for the well-being of their surrounding community. This area of philanthropy is something we have come to take very seriously. From silent auctions to golf tournaments, we are approached by groups big and small, representing causes ranging from cystic fibrosis to literacy. Another way we have gotten involved is through sponsorships in and around the communities we are present in. Large scale sponsorships include our affiliations with the CFL and WHL, but are not limited to just large organizations.

Take for example, our very own National Account Manager, John Webster. Not only is he one of our key account managers in our Tour & Travel sales department, he is an avid amateur athlete as well. This summer, he found the time to train 19 weeks for the Gran Fondo Whistler race, held September 10, taking him from downtown Vancouver to Whistler Village. Upon hearing of his 124km ride (uphill, no less!), Sandman Hotel Group got involved, and was able to sponsor this incredible achievement. In case you’re wondering how it might feel to cycle that far, we invited John to be our guest blogger this week!


Sat, Sep 10 – I woke up to a clear sky as the sun was just creeping up in the East. Me and 7,000 fellow Gran Fondo cyclists, all made our way to the start line that took up 7 blocks of West Georgia Street. Each of us found our way to the dedicated starting corral and you couldn’t help but be awed by the sheer volume of lycra and helmets as far as you could see in both directions. For me, I’d trained hard for 19 weeks for an estimated finish time of around 4 hours 45 min or even more precise, an average speed of 27km p/hour.


The ride up to Whistler couldn’t have been better, with a dedicated lane free of traffic all the way up to the resort. At times, there were even 2 dedicated lanes, making for an even faster and smoother ride.  Feed stations at about every 25 km mark, allowed for plenty of re-fueling options.


The last 20km just before Whistler were a grind as there was a strong head wind to battle and the temperature was starting to climb. With Whistler Village clearly in sight, that was the biggest motivator to really crank it up for a strong finish. The fans were amazing all the way up the Sea to Sky, but in Whistler, they were full on. Cow bells and more cow bells rang out as each rider raced across the finish line.


Lots of time and dedication went in to training for the Gran Fondo Whistler, and a shiny medal, some good food and cold beer along with Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo and Barney Bentall, made it all worth while. Oh, and my finish time was exactly 4:39:00. Next year, I think I’ll do the Gran Fondo Kelowna or Penticton. So many exciting options!

David Howe, Director of All AlaskaTours out of Anchorage, Alaska (R) with John Webster, National Account Manager, Tour & Travel (L) at the finish line!

Talk about taking ‘tour & travel’ to a whole new level! Congratulations to you, John! If you’re interested in having Sandman Hotel Group sponsor your event, or if you would like us to make a donation towards your cause, visit our website and download our Sponsorship/Donation Request Form. We will review and reply to each and every one – our promise to you!

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