By Dusty Trails
May has finally arrived. Which means athletes are scouring their garages for every piece of gear they own. Teams are coordinating their Jamaican bobsled outfits, military suits, and tutus. SUVs are loaded with kayaks, bikes and skis. The entire community is preparing for its signature event: The Pole Pedal Paddle.
The PPP on May 18 is the ultimate relay race. It starts just up the road from Tripleknot at Mt. Bachelor with an alpine leg to the exchange point at West Village Lodge. Then skate and classic skiers hit the Nordic trails for an 8 km dash to the cycling exchange, where racers enjoy a scenic 22-mile ride along Century Dive into Bend. The next leg is a 5-mile run along the Deschutes River Trail to a 1.5-mile canoe/kayak leg at Farewell Bend Park in the Old Mill District. As if all this wasn’t enough, the race ends with a .5-mile sprint along the grassy banks of the river to the finish line. Pheew! Did I forget anything? They don’t have a skydiving leg. But they might as well add one while they’re at it.
While it is Bend’s biggest community event, it’s far from being a local one. Incredible athletes from all over the country flock to this unique race. But you don’t have to be a pro to get your Pole Pedal Paddler on. You can compete individually, in pairs, and in teams. And you can be as competitive as you want. If you don’t compete, heading down to Farewell Bend to cheer the racers on and to enjoy the booths, live music, awesome food (and beer, of course), is just as much fun.
The Pole Pedal Paddle is the epitome of everything that Bend has to offer. On top of taking advantage of the awesome outdoor activities we are blessed to have in our town, the event demonstrates the strong sense of community we have built. We’ll see you out there on May 18 poling, pedaling, paddling and cheering!