Rally In the Valley Recap

Spending a great spring day out with a bunch of like minded mountain bikers is one of the best ways to burn a few hours. When you are helping the trails and building relationships, it makes it exponentially better. Last Saturday was the PMBA sponsored Rally In The Valley, an annual day that serves as a spring celebration of Mountain Biking in the Philadelphia region. It also serves as the one and only fundraiser for the Philadelphia Mountain Biking Association (PMBA).

At the Rally there were vendors, bike shops, advocacy groups and a whole ton of riders. In my true to form fashion, I arrived just as the registration was closing down for the day. I had intended on coming out a bit earlier, but I wanted to accomplish some home stuff first. This was a whole day I had to ride and I was not about to come home and have to do some work to bust up the good feelings I had.

When I got there, I paid my registration and mounted up the single speed for a good ride. I skipped out on the first section of the marked trail because I felt that I could go down to the next bridge across the creek and pick up the trail there. I was able to muster the brain power to get on the first part of the well marked trail that the PMBA folks marked out for us. I was riding a different part of the park that I never ride. I love the that our park is big enough that it seems that some riders have “territories” where they wander and never really find themselves on the other side of things.

My cerebral delay was exacerbated by riding in a different territory on my single speed during the day in shorts weather. I seem to only really ride that bike on night rides in the winter on the same five or so trails. I guess that is how I ended up off the well marked and appointed trail. I had some hike a bike time that involved a transverse of a steep stone staircase and some funny looks from trail runners. Sorry I am…..new around here?

When I finally wrapped my head around following arrows and reading numbers, I was cruising on the trail. I was also back in my territory of the park. I was going backwards from my normal route, but that is good for your skills. Gotta switch it up a bit. I also found a great spot to work on my single speed hill climbing. I need to bone up on that for the rest of the MTB season and the rapidly approaching cyclocross season.

There were tons of other riders out on the trails. Some were trying new parts, there were some folks attempting log rides, and just flat out racing around the park. I rode on my own for a bit but hooked onto a group of guys from the shore that were “huckers” they loved my rigid single speed and how I could climb stuff they were waking on this thing. I wish they got to see the top three guys in the hill climb, they would see how to go up hill on a single speed then.

While riding the last section, I realized that I was actually kind of cold, so I hustled my way back to the main rally just in time for the end of lunch. Some local grocery stores stepped up big to help with the food for the included lunch. When I say big, I mean huge….a whole pig huge.

Not my thing, but if it were I would be like a pig…nevermind. With lunch time and some bike geekery over, it was time for the raffle to go off. With bikes from Fuji, Marin and Cannondale, the crowd was charged up for the prizes, but Ken needed to get on the horn to thank all of the great folks that donated money, time and product for the raffle to be a success once again.

Ken let us know that Temple University stepped up with $2K to finally put PMBA into the financial black! Thanks god for the Cherry and White!

Finally we got down to raffling off some stuff. Everyone wanted to see a bike go, so Ken raffled off the Marin MTB donated by REI. A young kid one. He must be about 14 or so. This bike was perfect for a young beginner, and I have not seen a more genuine smile on someone’s face in a long time.

After this bike, there were products from lift tickets to helmets to BCGP memberships and pedals. Just tons and tons of schwag for a grass roots event.

Before the last bike was raffled off, they crowned the king of the mountain. Nick ran the hillclimb all day. He challenged me, but I was on my way out to a ride. I would have done anything to avoid climbing that hill. Harlan Price made it up the climb with one hand on a dog leash and got 3rd place. Harlan would have had to stop to wash and shampoo his dog so that I would have had a chance at reaching the podium of a hill climb.

After that was announced Ken made us wait wait wait for the announcement of the Cannondale that was donated by Keswick Cycle.

Ken and Jon checking to confirm

Rider Starts his personal celebration moshpit.

Rider Beams with pride

The 4th Rally in the valley was a huge success. Everyone had a great time and the weather held out for everyone to get an awesome ride in. With all of that said, the ride became a bit sweeter when the revenues were counted and everything was figured out and the PMBA leadership let us minions know that almost $10k was raised between donations, registration, and door prize tickets. That is an amazing dollar amount when you consider there were a little bit more than 200 riders at the event for the day.

Great Job to Ken and the rest of the crew including all of the event volunteers and coordinators. Your work is so valuable to our trails and our sport.

Keep an eye on the PMBA website for more info including, DirtFest at Raystown (5/21), the Kingdom Trails trip, future TMD’s, and the May 5th General Membership Meeting at the Ugly Moose on your calendar.  Please refer to the website for exact details.

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