Behind the Scenes: Prospera Valley GranFondo« Back to News & Reviews
As part of our continuing series of getting the event organizers perspective on events, CCN interviewed Jeffrey Hansen-Carlson, General Manager of the Prospera Valley Credit Union.
1. Can you tell us a little about Prospera Valley GranFondo and how it came about?
The Prospera Valley GranFondo began where most brilliant ideas tend to...on a great bike ride! In the spring of 2011 a group of like-minded riders from the Fraser Valley Road Cycling club came to the conclusion that there was a need to showcase what we knew to be the best cycling territory in Canada; the Fraser Valley of BC. The idea was to create Canadian Velo Event Management Society, a not-for-profit organization that would develop world-class cycling events, creating legacies in the communities in which we live and work and share the success with charities that make a difference. The outcome was The Prospera Valley GranFondo, coming July 22, 2012.
Our event website is: www.valleygranfondo.com
Our society website is: www.canadianveloevents.com
2. When did you get the idea for the event?
The idea followed close on the heels of the formation of the society. We knew we had the best cycling experience in the country right at our doorstep here in the Fraser Valley. Not only can you ride your road bike year round, but the region provides some of the most stunning scenery imaginable, coupled with a wide range of topography that creates riding experiences from novice to professional. This was the genesis for the Valley GranFondo. Within weeks of establishing the event, we had secured Prospera Credit Union as title sponsor.
Jeffrey Hansen-Carlson, General Manager
3. This is the inaugural event. What will make it different from other rides?
Most granfondos offer challenging courses and traffic managed routes. That is the easy part. The Prospera Valley GranFondo offers much more. Starting and finishing at the Fort Langley National Historic Site in Fort Langley BC, riders will experience 160 kilometers of quiet, well paved country roads (some dating back to the late 19th century). Close your eyes and picture the most beautiful piece of road - that is our entire route. We believe it is about the ride! We offer well stocked and supported Aid Stations (yes, lots of portable washrooms!), an authentic First Nation Feast, and free beer awaiting the riders at the end of their journey.
4. What's keeping you up at night and/or what has surprised you so far in organizing the event?
What really surprised us was the overwhelming support from our community partners and sponsors. Events like the Prospera Valley GranFondo are built on relationships, and from the start we have had the pleasure of working with forward thinking municipal governments, police forces, tourism offices, business associations and local businesses. Rarely if ever did we hear the word "no", but rather it was "how can we help make this happen!"
5. Will this be an annual event and are there other events planned?
Our team's focus right now is on delivering a world class event on Sunday July 22nd. That, of course, sets the stage for the event to grow and yes, take place annually. We have a five-year commitment from our title sponsor to grow this event and make it Canada's best granfondo experience. Stay tuned for more!
7. What advice do you have for people who are thinking about riding in a GranFondo for the first time?
What may seem like a daunting challenge is really not as difficult as you might think. Join a bike club and start going on training rides. This is a great place to learn group riding technique, proper nutrition and common sense rules of the road. On our website, www.ValleyGranFondo.com we have an easy to follow training schedule that will help get you in shape for your first GranFondo. But most importantly...get some time in the saddle! If you are looking for a bike club to join in your area check in with Cycling BC.
8. With everything going on, do you have time to ride? What's your current bike/s and what might your next one be?
Riding is the only thing I have to keep my mind clear and I would be lying if I said I never have rescheduled a meeting because I just needed a ride... If I, or anyone on the team, need time to ride, they take it - it keeps us focused and productive.
I have a few bikes and I love them all. I believe each has a unique personality and thus deserves a name...
Samson - Cannondale EVO (sexy bike)
P.Diddy - CAAD 10 (winter bike)
Dirk - Masi Speciale Ultimate (fixie)
Murray - CAAD8 CX (commuter)
Ned - Cannondale Trail SL4 29'er (keeps me honest)
Jughead - Trek Classic Cruiser (good for cruiser dates with the wife!)
9. Any closing thoughts and comments?