Fraser Valley residents can expect to see hundreds of cyclists on the back roads this weekend as the first ever 2012 Prospera Valley GranFondo comes to town.
Riders will wind their way through quiet country roads, over a mountain and along the river valley as they participate in a 160-kilometre GranFondo, an 80-km MedioFondo, or a 3-km FamilyFondo this Sunday.
As many as 1,000 riders are expected in the GranFondo, which leaves Fort Langley at 7 a.m. for the 160-km (100mile) ride.
The route will take cyclists from Fort Langley south through Langley's country roads to the U.S. border, along Zero Avenue into Abbotsford and through the community of Arnold.
Then they will double back along the Sumas Prairie, up and over Sumas Mountain in Abbotsford, along the Matsqui flats and through Glen Valley along the Fraser River back to Fort Langley.
Participants will climb and descend; they will open up the throttle along the flats (where they may battle some wind), and they will take it easy on occasion to marvel at the beauty of the route.
Riders will begin crossing the finish line back in Fort Langley at 11 a.m., at which time the cycling-themed festivities will begin.
The 80-km (50-mile) MedioFondo, designed to inspire and challenge novice cyclists 16 years and up, is half the size of its big brother, but it is just as good.
Cyclists leave Fort Langley and head south along Langley's country roads, along Zero Avenue and begin their journey back to Fort Langley through Bradner and along the Fraser River and through Glen Valley.
For the outstandingly fit, the Thule Hill Climb Challenge, a 3-km timed hill climb up Sumas Mountain in Abbotsford will motivate the diehard cyclists to climb a little harder.
And for the younger set, the Sylvan FamilyFondo will include a safe cycling clinic offered by the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition and a 3-km flat route ride with no interaction with traffic.
It is geared for children ages 6 - 12. After their rides, participants can relax at Fort Langley's National Historic Site and take in all the Fondo festivities.
For more information visit www.valleygranfondo.com.