By John Ray
We all need incentives, enticements and encouragement to stay the course. One of the ways to do this is by throwing in a big ride event. We are blessed to have many of those here in NWA, but a personal favorite is the Hazel Valley Gran Prix coming up this weekend.
Part of the reason I love it so much is that it’s so different from my local commute. The smooth Greenway is traded for rural gravel, the gentle hills for lung-busting climbs, the relative solitude for group solidarity. It ain’t an easy ride by any measure, but man, is it a good one.
Maybe the best reason to join this ride is to experience the hospitality of Hazel Valley Ranch. Wayne Hudec is an avid cyclist and puts on one hell of a party at his spread for his fellow cyclists. Marty, the ranch’s head wrangler, has the place at its best for the event. The chow and refreshments are all top notch, and free! Look, even if you only pedal a portion of the course, you don’t want to miss the experience of the place and the people. I was so impressed with the HVR setting and amenities that when my own daughter got engaged over New Year’s, it was the first place I thought of for her wedding. Fortunately the dates the kids needed were still open (this place books up quickly) and we are all set for a fantastic wedding weekend this May.
But weddings aside, the memories (and sore muscles) from the Hazel Valley Gran Prix will invigorate your daily commute for a good, long time afterwards, and give you motivation to stay in shape for the next one.