Pedal and pick a hand |

Pedal and pick a hand

BRECKENRIDGE – Trying your hand at mountain biking is more than it’s cracked up to be when there’s a poker game involved.

The annual Fat Tire Poker Ride has gained fame through the years as one of Summit County’s premier summer events, and its 16th running is Saturday.

“There’s a guy who comes in from Phoenix who always starts off his vacation with the poker ride, then stays through the Fourth of July,” said Marc Carlisle of Great Adventure Sports, which became involved in organizing the poker ride two years ago and is teaming up with Christy Sports this year. The poker ride typically draws a large number of mountain bikers from Summit County, the Front Range and visitors from other states.

Ben and Cynthia Gordon, former owners of the Knorr House – a popular Breckenridge bike shop that closed two years ago – are responsible for pioneering the poker ride. They started the ride as a fundraiser for the Summit Fat Tire Society, the local trail advocacy group responsible for building and maintaining several local mountain bike and multiuse trails.

The tradition continues with all proceeds from Saturday’s ride benefitting the Fat Tire Society.

“The idea is to show off the trails and projects the Fat Tire Society has been involved in through the years,” Carlisle said. “It’s a noncompetitive event that exposes people to trails they might not be aware of and raise money for Summit Fat Tire. Christy Sports is involved this year, but the event is not really affiliated with any one bike shop because most of the local shops are Fat Tire Society members.”

The course for this year’s ride is about 20 miles and begins at Great Adventure Sports in Breckenridge, where riders pick up their first poker card between 8 and 9:30 a.m. Saturday. All participants will be given maps of the course and suggested routes. The course takes riders to the middle flume trail up to Gold Run Road, down to French Creek, up Sally Barber to Baldy Road, onto the Baker’s Tank trail and down Boreas Pass Road. During the ride, cyclists stop to pick up three more cards. They then must draw their final cards at the Stephen C. West Ice Arena by 1 p.m. and will meet at Fatty’s Pizzeria on Ridge Street by 1:30 p.m. for lunch.

“It’s a really great course this year,” said Bill Burton of Christy Sports. “It’s for anyone that wants to go enjoy the ride and support a good cause. There’s going to be a lot of money in swag to give away too.”

Organizers are expecting about 150 bikers for this year’s ride. Prizes will be awarded for the best poker hands.

The ride begins between 8 and 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Great Adventure Sports in Breckenridge. Registration is $25 and includes lunch, prizes, raffle and a T-shirt to those who register by the end of Friday. Registration is available at Christy Sports in Frisco and Dillon, at Great Adventure, or at

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