The U.S. Bank Pole Pedal Paddle has consistently been the largest multi-sport event in Bend for 41 years – and counting.
On May 20, 2017, the community came together from Mt. Bachelor to the Les Schwab Amphitheater to support those racing the six leg race all throughout Central Oregon.
The race can be done individually, in pairs, or teams and has a plethora of different age categories. The first leg of the race, alpine skiing, begins at Mt. Bachelor’s Red Chair, where the racers must sprint 200 feet uphill. Each skier will then ski down the LeeWay run. The next leg is cross country skiing, an eight kilometer skate (or classic) ski, which is followed by the bike leg. While biking, the participants ride 22 miles along Century Drive. Next, the racers run five miles along the Deschutes River Trail. During the next leg, participants can use a kayak, canoe or stand up paddleboard. The racers begin at Riverbend Park and paddle upstream a half mile, downstream for three quarters of a mile, then upstream again for a quarter mile. Finally, participants run a half mile from the Columbia Street bridge to the Les Schwab Amphitheater where they cross the finish line.
The race is done each year for one reason: to raise money for the Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation (MBSEF). The foundation works to support and promote training for amateur junior athletes partaking in alpine skiing, cross country skiing, snowboarding and cycling.
Central Oregon Community College was involved with this year’s Pole Pedal Paddle in many ways. Aside from the usual student participants, students of COCC’s Massage Program were on site, offering sports massages to participants. Students from the Massage Program have been offering massages at Pole Pedal Paddle for more than nine years.
The Nursing Club was also on site, handing out buttons.
By Mckayla Schneider | The Broadside