The Terrace Off-Road Cycling Association’s (TORCA) first annual Rusty Chain Poker Ride was a shocking success – drawing more riders than a full deck of cards.
The brainchild of Chad France, TORCA’s race director and event planner, the May 13 event benefited from great weather, a non-competitive atmosphere, and by focusing on a fun, social event.
Participants included those with a whole range of experience, from complete newbs to seasoned Terrace riders and they rode through a course of trails, stopping at checkpoints along the way. After hitting all or some of the checkpoints (that’s right, riders could decide how much of the route they wanted to complete) they then compared cards and competed for prizes.
The Terrace Standard asked France a few questions about the drive behind the event – and what it means for cycling in Terrace going forward.
Where did you get the idea?
The idea started by trying to come up with an event to showcase the fantastic trails that have been built on the Terrace Mountain/Steinhoe area. We wanted an event that would interest everyone. With a little brainstorming amongst the TORCA executive we came up with the Rusty Chain Poker Ride. Poker Rides are traditionally based around fund raising for a local initiative, so supporting the trail maintenance and construction projects planned for 2015 became our initiative.
Cindy Drouin had the winning hand with a full house, jacks high. But, anyone who enjoys the Terrace Mountain/Steinhoe trail network will benefit as all proceeds are being directed to support the new trail construction and maintenance projects planned for this summer. We estimate that the proceeds should cover the construction cost of approximately 55m of new machine built trail.
Did most people do the full ride?
I believe the majority of riders did do the full ride. But the course was designed for riders to receive a poker hand of five cards if they only wanted to ride half of the route.
Do you think you’ll host this event again?
Yes, I believe we will organize a similar event for next year. It was a lot of fun for the riders – there wasn’t a rider spotted without a smile on their face throughout the day. We couldn’t have asked for better trail conditions. Plus, if all 2015 planned trail work is completed, there is a possibility of new trails for the poker ride next summer.