First Poker Run a success

Bates' Facebook summary of the event: "it seems that when you get a group of 20 people together, all who are carrying GPS enabled phones and bike computers, nobody seems to use these devices to confirm what the map says and they just stand around for 15 mins at a time guessing where to go... interesting!"

The morning kicked off with a good size group of riders who rolled into to the Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens to receive their ride instructions and to collect their mystery route/checkpoint map for the inaugural Poker Run.  Another half dozen riders, plus Will 'Card Shark' Lyons (commissaire extraordinaire) failed to find the start point (despite a good map and exact street address on the event page) which was an ominous hint of things to come! After a short wait for the stragglers to arrive from the wrong park, everyone was together for the brief rider instructions which were:

  • Collect a map so the mystery course is no longer a mystery
  • Sign-on and know your rider number so your cards can be marked
  • Draw your first card
  • Ride safely at your own pace, either alone or in a group following the route to discover the checkpoints to collect more cards to form a 'hand'
  • Arrive at the finish to collect your final card

Don Clifton had a look of horror upon discovering there was a short section of dirt road "aaargh my bike will need to be washed immediately" and the group more or less rolled out of the Gardens together.  Shortly after reaching Don's nightmare - the gentle climb up Sprigg (dirt) Road - the large group split into roughly 4 groups, each of which 'worked together'. 

Mylor Checkpoint - First GroupHowever it appear that 'working together' may also mean 'following blindly the rider in front' as both of the first two groups independently missed one particular turn and apparently had similar experiences of convincing themselves they were lost, to not being lost, to actually being lost but knowing roughly where they were, while huddling around a map in the cool conditions to work things out.  Only Hugh Parker who was caught standing uncertaintly on the correct turnoff had picked the correct corner, but he was soon 'convinced' (tricked) by the masses in the second group he was wrong and he too was mislead off course.  Despite being off-course both of these groups were able to figure out where Checkpoint 1 was (corner of Beaumonts and Tanahmerah Roads), arriving within minutes of each other to be greeted by cheery Checkpoint 1 volunteer Paul Zalkauskas to collect their second card.

The other two groups somehow got way off course, getting closer to Bridgewater and Checkpoint 3 before finding Checkpoint 1!  Eventually with a bit of 'phone a friend' assistance they found their way to collect the correct card from Paul some time later.

Meanwhile the first two faster groups had merged at Mylor, both taking the opportunity of the Checkpoint 2 (staffed by Andrew Crowe) being at the Harvest Cafe to afford a bit of catch-up time, talk cycling rubbish, meet new riders and consume a leisurely morning tea (hot beverages required to warm up) before heading off to Heathfield High School to meet Will the Card Shark and Paula 'Poker Face' Hollamby at Checkpoint 3 for the 4th card draw.   

The second two groups had learnt from their earlier mistake, and with their legs getting weary by the unnecessary 'accidental' extra off-route climbing managed to stay on course to reach Harvest Cafe for Checkpoint 2 and a quick snack.

The faster group again missed a turn adding a little extra distance which unfortunately for them meant climbing Ayers Hill Road to return to the finish.  Luckily a coffee van had conveniently set up at the lovely Botanic Gardens and was serving good cheap brew which helped pass the time as they waited for the other groups and the Will 'Card Shark' Lyonsthe final cards to arrive.  Brad Ward made good use of time and the park's beautiful surroundings by patching a tube, after finding where the small hole was by taking a walk with the inflated inner tube to immerse it in the lake.

The final riders - Andrew Wilson and the youngest rider of the day Oliver Wilson (12yo) - were greeted with a round of applause when they arrived at the finish, and the final cards were drawn.

Two riders had two-pair - but the best hand of the day was Darren Searle who had drawn three-of-a-kind Jacks.  The prize on offer was either $50 cash or a PACC Jersey (value $75) and he elected to take the jersey.

It appeared a good time was had by all, getting lost was taken in stride with good humour and the riding was on some of Adelaide's most scenic hill roads. Even if you did have to climb Mt George twice, due to your group's inability to read a map!

Thanks to Alex Bates and Sam England for devising the route (that no-one actually managed to follow 100%, not even Alex!)

Winner Darren Searle and his winning cards:

Winner- Darren Searle