The daffodils are starting to show off their color and neglected bikes are making their way out of garages, sheds and basements. Swarms of brightly colored boats navigate to and fro along the Deschutes River; paddlers uncertain of their balance and ability. Skate ski sessions end with down hill bike rides and nervous captains work diligently to fill the empty the slots on their team roosters.
Bend is preparing for its signature event, the Pole, Pedal, Paddle. Kicking off the start of summer and giving a final hurrah to ski season, Bend’s Annual Pole Pedal Paddle is an event that draws 2,800 competitors; teams, tandems and individuals skiing; skating, cycling, running, paddling and sprinting from Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort to Bend’s Les Schwab Amphitheater.
Preparation for the PPP can vary widely from intense months of endurance training to night before costume selection – and that is what makes it such a great event. Competitive athletes, families, friends, and the reluctant out-of-town uncle all come to get in on the fun. To be mildly prepared is a good thing, especially if undertaking the event alone. Following is a breakdown of what you will need to successfully complete the 6 stages for the Pole Pedal Paddle.
1. The Downhill Ski: To be competitive: Alpine skis with rear entry boots, your skate boots worn inside (for a speedy transition) and a current or former member of the US Alpine Ski Team To have fun: Snowboard or skis and the ability to ski down a Mt. Bachelor blue run To finish: Point your skis, snowboard or sled down hill and hope for the best
2. The Nordic Ski: To be competitive: Skate skis with fresh race wax and a competitive member of XC Oregon To have fun: Skate or Classic skies, at least one season of Nordic skiing under your belt and an intermediate level of mastery of those skinny skis To finish: The ability to make it up Screamer without passing out
3. The Bike: To be competitive: Time trial bike, helmet, and wicked aerodynamic position; a top 10 finish in last year's Cascade Cycling Classic wouldn’t hurt To have fun: A road bike with clip on aero bars, a couple of training rides under your belt and a well fitting helmet To finish: A bicycle with inflated tires, functioning brakes and a white Styrofoam dome protector
4. The Run: To be competitive: Running Shoes fit by the experts at Foot Zone, years of intervals and racing experience, and a top 5 finish in last year’s Dirty Half To have fun: The ability to fun 5 miles comfortably and still be smiling at the end To finish: Have run at least once at elevation since the last PPP; just keep breathing
5. The Paddle: To be competitive: Infusion Molded Fiberglass S1-X Surf-Ski and Carbon Wing Paddle and 3 months of on river training To have fun: Understand the difference between the bow and the stern and keep your boat traveling in a semi-straight line To finish: Something that floats, a paddle and the ability to swim in case of capsizing
6. The Sprint: To be competitive: Track intervals, weights, racing flats and of course, a sub 60 second 400m split. To have fun: A smile, you have made it! To finish: It is only 200 yards, you can crawl if needed All this equipment and all this training can seem overwhelming, but don’t despair. You can borrow almost everything you will need from a friend and the training, well; it's all down hill, isn’t it?