Newcomer lays down four of a kind at Contagious opener

There would be a lot healthier poker players around card tables worldwide if every hand required a 12-kilometre bike ride.

There would be a lot healthier poker players around card tables worldwide if every hand required a 12-kilometre bike ride.

That’s just what 46 poker-playing cyclists did in the Contagious Mountain Bike Club’s Poker Ride and Kick-Off BBQ on Saturday, starting and finishing at the Schwatka Lake boat launch.

Drawing five playing cards at stations throughout the 12-kilometre ride through Chadburn Lake trails and along Schwatka Lake, the winner was not the first over the finish line, but the one to return with the best hand.

“I’m not a huge poker player, but this works with biking,” said winner Jamie Hlewka.

“Let’s just say I was pacing myself; I definitely wasn’t leading the pack. I was waiting around for the good cards.”

Hlewka took the top prize, returning with an eights-high four of a kind, taking in $115 in prize money. Having moved to Whitehorse from Calgary six months ago, Saturday was Hlewka’s first Contagious Mountain Bike Club event.

“I actually just joined the club today,” said Hlewka. “It’s a good way to start off.

“I’ve started seeing the trails – this is my third time out. There’s a lot of trails, so I’m glad there were ribbons everywhere marking the trail.”

As for second and third, diamonds were Sarah Laxton’s best friend – red diamonds to be specific – taking second with a jack-high flush, and Neil Rickman came third with a 10-high flush.

Saturday’s Poker Run was Contagious’ first of nine riding events scheduled for this season, with no new events added for the summer.

“We’re trying to simplify the schedule this year,” said club president Devon McDiarmid. “Last year we had a ton of different stuff going on. This year we want to simplify so there’s more quality instead of quantity of events.”

However, that does not mean nothing has changed for the club. During the off-season Contagious merged with the all women’s club, the Dirt Girls, in order to share resources.

“The Dirt Girls was a separately run club in previous years and this year we sort of assumed them,” said McDiarmid. “We are going to take care of the treasury, the website and all that board stuff.

“They will have an organizer that will take care of Dirt Girls as a separate entity. But instead of doubling up with all our efforts and boards, we’ve taken them on.

“I like that the clubs are working together to streamline with volunteers – not doubling up and burning out people.”

While Contagious is just in its fourth year, it will be organizing the 24 Hours of Light Festival, now in its 10th year. The event, scheduled for June 26-27, will be moved back to its original location at the Copperbelt Railway and Mining Museum.

“That’s filling up already,” said McDiarmid. “There’s on-line registration.”

Contagious’ next event will be the Boogaloo to Boreale on May 27, another non-competitive event on manageable trails for riders of all skill levels.

“It’s another fun event – it’s not a race at all,” said McDiarmid.

Around the same time Jay Hoots, who helped design the new skills park at Mt. McIntyre installed last year, will return to Whitehorse to put the finishing touches on the park.

“It’ll be all the wooden structures: drop-zone, wall-ride, teeter-totter, skinnies and a few other specifically built skills structures that are all very safe,” said McDiarmid. “We’re working closely with the city of Whitehorse – they are huge

supporters.”

Contagious Mountain Bike Club season calendar

May 27 – Boogaloo to Boreale

May 30 – Dirt jump park opening

June 19 – Kluane Chilkat International Road Relay

June 24 – 24 Hours of Light pre-race event

June 26-27 – 24 Hours of Light Festival

July 10 – Dri-Tri

August 21 – King of the Canyon

August 9 – Long Lake Triathlon

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

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