Planning for Pole Pedal Paddle | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Planning for Pole Pedal Paddle

Training tips for Bend's well-loved, multi-sport race, from someone doing the race solo

The SELCO Pole Pedal Paddle is the ultimate "Bend" race, combining a mountain town's favorite sports — skiing, kayaking, biking and running — into one go.

If you're new to Bend, aren't from Bend or have been living under a rock, here is what the Pole Pedal Paddle is: a 200-foot uphill sprint up Mt. Bachelor, a downhill ski run, an 5km skate ski, a 22-mile bike ride from Bachelor to Bend, a 5-mile trail run on the Deschutes River Trail, 1.5-mile kayak on the Deschutes and, to finish it off, about a mile sprint to the finish line at the Old Mill. Athletes team up to complete the six-leg course or do it solo.

click to enlarge Planning for Pole Pedal Paddle (2)
Becca Murphy
The SELCO Pole Pedal Paddle starts with a 200-foot sprint up Mt. Bachelor and a ski down Leeway. To train for this leg, I grabbed some friends and snowshoed up the cone before work

Since 1976, athletes have been starting at the top of Mt. Bachelor and racing their way to the Deschutes River, supporting Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation. Growing up in Central Oregon and not having participated before, I thought it was time to take on the challenge and do the race... alone. I've never participated in a solo race, but I thought this was a good place to start. After little thought and convincing a friend to solo sign up with me, I was in.

click to enlarge Planning for Pole Pedal Paddle
Christian Hunt
The 22-mile bike leg from Mt. Bachelor to Bend sounded like the scariest part, but after trying it, I think it will be my favorite leg.

Over the past few months, I have been "training" for the race. I didn't create a strict workout plan or set strict rules for myself. I set goals instead, and it has been working well for me. Here are the goals I made that have helped me feel prepared for race day:

  1. Do at least one or two activities every day. My thought was "If I am going to do a multi-sport race, I better make most of my days multi-sport days." Some days it's a long run after work and some yoga. Other days it's a bike ride and an hour of pickleball. Some days it's ski until the lifts close and indoor volleyball; on others it's a trail run and lifting weights at the gym, or it's spike ball and sand volleyball. Having the goal to do just go out and do something, even after a long day at work, empowered me to create space in my day for "training." Mixing in fun, social sports with individual training sports is key in staying active, spending time with friends and not burning out.

  2. Run at least two or three times a week. Goal #1 was my only goal for a while, but then I added Goal #2. I found it easy to get distracted by new sports, social sports and skiing, so I set this goal to maintain endurance and keep one thing consistent in my training—running. I haven't always been a runner, but I have grown to love it. Breathing in the fresh air on the trails, pushing mileage, seeing pace progress, feeling what my body is capable of, finding it easier every time I put my running shoes on — all these good feelings make it hard not to love. Since the PPP has two legs of running, feeling strong about those sections is important to me.

  3. Do every leg at least once before the race. My friend who I signed up with had this idea. Do everything once to get the soreness out and let our bodies know what it feels like. The courses we did weren't the same, but it was nice to know what to expect. We rode our bikes from Bachelor to Bend, followed by a 5-mile run. On the last groomer day of the season at Virginia Meissner, we skate-skied 8 miles for the first time ever. We hiked up the cone and skied down a few times. We still have to get a 1.5-mile kayak in, but we have time. Yes, this is all good training, but it helped my confidence more than anything. Just knowing I can do it goes a long way.

The PPP is about a week and a half away, and I am feeling ready to take it on. It wasn't easy to feel ready; training is one thing, but getting the gear is another. Gear is expensive. When I was thinking of signing up, I had downhill skis and running shoes... that's it. I was on the hunt for a kayak, skate skies and a bike.

If I didn't have family here, I don't think I could have signed up, because my mom lent me her road bike and my uncle lent me his kayak. I'm still on the lookout to rent some women's size 8 skate skis, if someone wants to help a local journalist out. My tip for those looking to find gear for a race like this is to just ask. Ask your friends. Ask your family. Ask local rental shops (we've got great ones here).

click to enlarge Planning for Pole Pedal Paddle (4)
Allie Noland
The 4th leg of the race is a trail run on the Deschutes River Trail.

Online registration for the SELCO Pole Pedal Paddle is open until Tuesday, May 9.

Pole Pedal Paddle
Sat., May 13, 9am
Mt. Bachelor to Old Mill District
Free to watch, $75-$140 to register

Allie Noland

Allie graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in journalism and public relations. She loves writing articles that have anything to do with the outdoors and culture. When she’s not writing, you can find her skiing, playing volleyball, backpacking, gardening or sitting at a local coffee shop.
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