Organizers said close to 1,400 riders took part in the annual Prospera Valley Granfondo bicycle tour that started this morning in historic Fort Langley.
It got underway just before 7 a.m. with registered elite riders going first, followed a second, larger wave a few minutes later.
The Sunday ride through Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack was expected to be a hot one, with the AccuWeather.com forecast calling for “abundant sunshine” and a “very warm” temperature topping 30 degrees in the communities along the ride route, in contrast to the relatively cool temperatures experienced during the 2017 edition.
Organizers increased the amount of water avalable for riders and event director Marc Campbell warned participants to make sure they travel with enough liquids to keep hydrated.
“Be prepared to drink a lot of water,” Campbell said.
The ride offers three categories of challenges:
GranFondo Imperial Century is the longest at 100 miles or 160 km, which includes several steep hill climbs.
The shorter MedioFondo Metric Century, which is 100 km, is for “recreational to advanced riders …a great alternative if you’re not up for the longer time and distance of the Imperial GranFondo” the website states.
The PrestoFondo Half Century is 50 km.
Each ride begins and ends in Fort Langley and takes riders through the scenic Fraser Valley.
The event includes the London Drugs Ride for Hope, which is open to riders participating in any distance of the Valley Fondo.
Last year, the Ride for Hope team raised almost $20,000 for the Canuck Place children’s hospice.
The Prospera Valley GranFondo was started in 2012 by Canadian Velo Event Management Society, a not-for-profit incorporated society that develops and manages cycling events by partnering with community organizations and businesses.
Gran Fondos are mass participation cycling events that have been popular in Europe for decades.