Bend, Oregon’s famous multi event race, the Pole Peddle Paddle, took place last weekend. Thousands of racers and an army of volunteers come together each May for an amazing sporting event that takes the town of Bend by storm. This race is an event that is probably not like any other you have tried. Participants range from the very serious to casual racers out for a day of fun activities. This being my very first Pole Peddle Paddle, I was somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. The early morning of May 15th found me shivering in my ski suit at the top of a Mt. Bachelor ski lift. Two hours of unusual, yet exciting, racing awaited.
The race starts half way up Mt. Bachelor. Racers line up for a Le Mans style start a few meters below their Alpine skis/snowboards. After running up to their skis and jumping into their bindings, the racers head down a challenging gated course.
XC Ski to Bike exchange
22 miles later, the bike is exchanged for running shoes. The run is a five-mile course that follows paved running paths and rolling dirt trails. The running course is great, but it can be difficult to get the legs moving again after the cycling. The kayak leg starts at the end of the running course. The course is a couple of miles on flat water. A fast vessel seems to really open up the race at this point. Almost anything that floats is legal, but you can bet that the race winners will be atop some kind of long, skinny, laws of physics- defying racing boat.