September 10, 2011
Long View Systems (a NetApp Gold Partner) assembled a group of 18 riders to take part in the RBC Gran Fondo Whistler – a 120km “Big Ride” from Vancouver to Whistler, Canada on Saturday, September 10, 2011, including 7,500 feet of climbing! Participants included Andrew Bentley, Gord Mawhinney, Michael Kochorek, Alex Stieda and Robert Rodriguez from Long View. Partner participation from NetApp (Patrick Rogers, VP Corporate Alliances & Phil Brotherton, VP Microsoft Business Unit) and VMware (Scott Munson, Senior Director, Global Strategic Alliances). Benny Cifelli, NetApp’s Western Regional Manager tagged along as well! 10 Long View customers rode with us including clients from Cole Financial (Phoenix); CNRL and Alliance Pipeline (Calgary); West Vancouver School District, Glacier Media, Aritzia and Intrawest (Vancouver); and Simmax (Edmonton). The intrepid group was sponsored by the members of Team FlexPod – NetApp, VMware, Cisco and of course, Long View! All riders rode in the colours of NetApp’s professional cycling team, Team NetApp.
Friday night, VMware sponsored a group dinner to warm things up. We woke up at 5AM for a healthy buffet breakfast, then at 6AM rode over to the start in the dark under the street lights – very surreal. We turned the corner to see 7,000 other participants lined up to ride! After a team photo and stirring rendition of O’ Canada from long time Vancouver musicians Jim Cuddy and Barney Bentall, started the ride at 7AM. While the sun was rising, we rode over the Lions Gate Bridge….an incredible start to the day.
At the top of the first climb, we re-grouped into 2 teams of 9 (a Tour de France team has 9 riders) and rode together to the rest stop outside of Squamish, half way through the ride. After a quick water bottle refill, we starting the work of climbing to Whistler against a strong headwind and temperatures approaching 30C. Everyone rode at their own pace, wrestling with their inner demons and many finished with surprisingly fast times. After a cold ‘pop’ in the beer garden we took a power nap and got together for dinner that night sponsored by NetApp. Sunday morning, Cisco sponsored the breakfast hosted by Ronnie Scott one of their senior SE’s. A private bus whisked everyone back to Vancouver for their connections home.
Team NetApp Cycling also included a mention of our ride. Check it out here.