Sunday was the 2nd Annual Gonads -N- Strife Poker Run. I missed the event last year, but I heard it it was a blast. Being a fan of the Poker Run format, I was excited to see if this ride was as cool as I heard it was.
The ride began at the reasonable hour of noon at the Great Basin Brewing Company. Late enough so you can sleep in, and late enough so you can start enjoying great beer without feeling like an alcoholic. After sign-ups, instructions, and our 1st poker card, we left Victorian Square and headed towards Reno.
Something that became evident as soon as we started rolling, was that the pace was pretty fast. At least fast compared to the Slow Rollers Poker Run up at Lake Tahoe. We had some miles to cover though, so the faster speed was understandable.
Before we got on to the Truckee River Bike Path, we rode some main roads that might have been a bit dangerous if not for the mob of cyclists taking the lane. If there’s one way to get the respect of automobile operators, it’s to mob the road! Not to say that we rode disrespectful. Riders stayed off the sidewalk and saved the left lane for car traffic.
Mark and Dan at the Wild River Grille
As soon as we hit the bike path, things got a bit more relaxed. It was nice to be away from traffic. I hadn’t ridden the Truckee River bike path in years. I had forgotten how beautiful the river is. Or maybe I just didn’t appreciate it as much when I was younger… There wasn’t much oncoming traffic, and we were flying! Lots of fun turns and bridges.
We soon arrived at the Wild River Grille for our second poker card, and my first beer of the day, a Deschutes Brewery Black Butte Porter. We enjoyed the nice urban setting along the river with our beers, and then headed into the streets for the Record Street Cafe.
Jason and Tasha
The Record Street Cafe didn’t offer much shelter from the sun. Luckily they were taking beer orders in line, and I was able to enjoy a Rouge Dead Guy Ale. After getting our 3rd poker card, we headed back downtown. Before long we were at the Silver Peak Brewery, and it was time for lunch, our 4th poker card, and of course, more beer! We grabbed some burritos from across the street, and I enjoyed a Silver Peak Peavine Porter. In the words of the brewer, “a rich and complex black beer with a smooth, deep, roasted flavor, and a chocolaty-coffee finish”. This was my most memorable beer of the day! We finished our beer and burritos on the shady steps of the brewery, had some great conversations, and then headed back for the Great Basin Brewing Company, and the event finale.
Chip on his self-fabricated chopper
The ride back to the Brewery was fun. People were loosened up pretty good and having a good time! We arrived at the Great Basin, drew our last poker card, and had a glass of “Icky”. Named after Nevada’s state fossil, Ichthyosaur India Pale Ale was a great way to end the day. Icky has a strong hop finish like most IPA’s, but is not overly bitter like you might expect. As we drank our beers, they began the prize give-away. The guy in this picture had the highest hand, and won the New Belgium cruiser. The raffle prizes began after this, and a lucky lady took home the Nirve cruiser on the right. Many other prizes were given away, including a cool helmet won by Carson’s Tasha G. (pictured above). The band was due to play after the raffle, but unfortunately a strong gust of wind came up and knocked over the upright bass. The neck separated from the body, and the gig was over before it started. Too bad…I could hear these guys warming up, and they sounded promising.
In summary, it was a well planned event that ran very smoothly. Gary and Jules really know how to put on an event! The sponsors were generous and the restaurants/breweries along the way were very accommodating to the big group of riders. And speaking of the riders….Once again my belief that cyclists are among the friendliest people on earth is reaffirmed! I’m looking forward to the 2008 event!
More pictures of the event can be found HERE.