Saturday, May 01, 2010

Rally in the Valley

This year we tried a ride we've never done before: the Valley Rally in Paul's Valley Oklahoma. I'd never been to Paul's Valley before although I had passed by on the highway many times (the usual sad take of a small town). I assumed it would be a smallish ride because a T shirt was guaranteed to the first 100 riders. Most of the rides we do are in the 600-1200 rider range, with the Hotter N Hell 100 attracting upwards of 10,000 riders. The date was right and the area was appealing so off we went to sample the delights of Garvin County Oklahoma. Rain and a big cool front was forecast for the day so I privately waffled about riding, but Shana was committed to going so we went dressed to get cold and wet.

Knowing that the terrain in that part of the state was mainly rolling hills i carefully considered my choice of rides and settled on the shortest option of 30 miles instead of trying a longer ride. I must admit that the fact that the route map

included a topographical map influenced my decision. Few rides specify where and how steep the hills are, and when they do one is well advised to pay attention. The longest ride I had done this season was 40 miles, but a flat forty. I have started riding my usual weekly hilly route, but am only up to about twenty miles so far. I made the sensible choice. No one else in our group was feeling ambitious either, partly because rain was coming and partly because we were just not ready to tackle a really tough ride yet.

Paul's Valley is a very attractive town, and the organizers put on a good ride. The T-Shirt is not
only good looking but really good quality. Breakfast on site included some of the best cinnamon rolls I've sampled in a long time, and pizza was served after the ride along with a good selection of cold drinks. Sag support was excellent - able to repair a brake hood issue for Shana about halfway through her ride and return her to us ready to continue.

The venue was really nice. We started from the old train depot. Registration and lunch were in a nearby gazebo and because the ride was a part of the annual Brickfest celebration we returned to booths, games and funnel cakes. I think these
should be served at every ride. I really enjoy the small town festivals. This one featured two raffles - one for a new car and the other for a restored 1953 Case tractor. There were also some animals from a nearby zoo - including an adorable baby goat.

The depot is a beautiful building and houses historical museum which was very interesting. There were all kinds of things to see from the important to the most mundane. One thing that caught my eye was an old sign for the White Waiting Room. Yankee that I am my first thought was that there had been waiting rooms of different colors at one time (white, blue...).

We had a great time and a challenging ride - the hills are long, rolling and numerous. Shana thought they might be slightly too numerous. We had the great fun of riding through Wynnewood on brick streets in pouring rain (later taking refuge under cover at Sonic). On the way out of town Shana and I stopped at Ballard's Drive In to sample a burger; our verdict was for the single the bun to meat ratio was not optimal, but the veggies were very fresh, the bun was very fresh, and the meat was well seasoned. It had lots of black pepper and was really tasty. The menu was long and classic old school Drive In with everything cooked to order.

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