Special Olympics BC's Andrea Zonneveld (on bike) accepted a cheque for $20

Special Olympics BC's Andrea Zonneveld (on bike) accepted a cheque for $20

Registration opens for Prospera Valley GranFondo

Fort Langley event raised $20,000 for B.C. Special Olympics

Following a successful inaugural event, organizers of the Prospera Valley GranFondo are expecting an even bigger turnout in 2013.

While the ride is still nine months away, early bird registration began on Nov. 1 with the Canadian Velo Event Management Society holding an official launch for the July 21, 2013 ride.

The launch was held at the Fort Langley Historic Site, which will again serve as the starting and finish point for the mass cycling event.

Last year saw 1,200 cyclists participate and organizers expect 2,000 riders this time around.

One of the changes in next year’s event is the addition of a 50-km PrestoFondo, a shorter ride which will give people who are new to the sport and opportunity to experience the thrill of participating in a new mass road-cycling event.

This will be one of three distances participants can choose from as there will also be an 88-km MedioFondo and the 160-km GranFondo.

Prospera Credit Union will serve as the title sponsor for the second straight year, and the proceeds from the event will again go to Special Olympics BC.

At the Nov. 1 launch event, Andrea Zonneveld accepted a $20,000 cheque on behalf of the organization.

“I thought it was pretty awesome and very cool,” said Zonneveld, who helped out at last year’s GranFondo.

Zonneveld has competed in Special Olympics for the past 20 years, playing floor hockey, basketball, curling, soccer and softball. She is debating giving golf a shot.

She thanked the GranFondo organizers for all the support they have provided Special Olympics athletes such as herself.

“It means a lot to have your support,” Zonneveld said.

“We have a lot of passion for our sports.”

“(We) are proud and excited to be the title sponsor,” said Bill Sandhu, the Langley Prospera Credit Union branch manager.

Sandhu was at the 2012 event and he recalled the excitement in cheering on the participants.

“That kind of excitement is contagious,” he said.

“That is why we are thrilled for the 2013 event.”

Township Mayor Jack Froese admitted to having some concerns heading into last year’s ride, but those proved to be baseless,

“It was seamless,” he said, also expressing admiration for the riders who participated.

Froese said that getting more and more people on bikes is the overall goal.

“To have a sporting event like this, not only does it support the sport, it encourages people to be healthy … and use bikes as a mode of transport,” he said.

To register, click here.

Cyclists take off down Mavis Avenue during the inaugural Prospera Valley GranFondo mass cycling event, benefiting Special Olympics B.C. The route took 1,200 cyclists from the Fort Langley National Historic Site, down country roads to Abbotsford, up Sumas Mountain and back to Fort Langley.

Miranda Gathercole/Langley Times file photo

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