Walsh: Bikes, poker make good draw

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Bicyclists participating Monday in the 19th Annual Labor Day Poker Run will have a chance to win a bike and a variety of other prizes.

The rain-or-shine "run," organized by the Westmoreland Yough Trail Chapter (WYTC), consists of three non-competitive events -- a 12-mile bike ride, a 20-mile bike ride and a 4-mile walk/jog that also welcomes wheelchair riders along a "totally flat" course

Participants depart and return to the Arthur H. King Access Area in West Newton. They ride or walk along the Great Allegheny Passage, where they select a playing card. When they return to the starting site, each poker hand is tallied and the person with the best hand in each event wins a prize.

After those awards are presented, a raffle will be held, and all participants will be eligible to win prizes donated by local merchants.

The 12-mile riders will bike south to Smithton Beach and return, the 20-mile cyclists will pedal south through Smithton Beach to Whitsett and back, and the walkers/joggers/wheelchair participants will head north through the village of Collinsburg to the checkpoint at the Westmoreland/Allegheny county line and return.

All the events begin at 9 a.m. and end at 11 a.m.

All cyclists are required to wear an ANSI or SNELL certified helmet and sign a release form. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. The fee is $15. Make checks payable to RTC-WYTC.

All donations benefit the WYTC's trail-maintenance program and its trail-monitoring activities.

Information: 724-872-5586.

24 Hour Challenge

The Seven Springs 24 Hour Challenge, a team-relay mountain bike race, begins at noon today.

Spokeswoman Anna Weltz said the event will test the participants endurance, teamwork and their "ability to have fun." It may be difficult to find some fun while on the course between dusk to dawn. Fortunately, an almost full moon will help to light the way.

The 12-mile loop single-track course, the same one used in 2010 and brought back by popular demand, travels up and down open and wooded sections of the resort.

Teams will compete for awards in 13 categories -- age; gender; ability levels; solo riders; teams of two, four and five members; coed teams; and corporate teams (six to eight members). Weltz said all teams in each division will start at the same time.

The registration fees are $280 for the solo entries and up to $720 for the corporate teams.

Information: www.7springs.com; 1-800-452-2223.

One more count

The Trail Town Outreach Corps is seeking volunteers for the final trail count of the season from noon to 2 p.m. Sept. 22.

Volunteers are needed for McKeesport, Connellsville North, Connellsville South, Rockwood North, Rockwood South, Garrett North, Garrett South and Deal.

Contact: Rachael Christie at sca.rchristie@gmail.com.

sportsother - outdoors

Larry Walsh writes about recreational bicycling for the Post-Gazette.


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