The community of Bend is gearing up for its next Pole Pedal Paddle race. Event organizers expect ten thousand spectators this year, a record turnout for Bend’s iconic sporting event. This year, participants will be treated to good snow conditions for the skiing portion, and warm weather for the cycling, running, and kayaking sections. The weather is expected to be Bend beautiful, with blue skies and crisp air. Conditions are coming together to make for a fantastic event.
Where to watch the Pole Pedal Paddle
To watch the skiing portion, head up to Mt. Bachelor ski resort. There is plenty of parking, and be sure to plan plenty of time to make the drive. With the anticipated turnout, you could face delays from traffic along the road and for parking at the summit. The skiing portion is one of the most exciting aspects of the race, and we encourage skiing enthusiasts to attend this portion of the race. Keep in mind, however, that spectators at the ski resort will be rerouted through Sunriver to return to Bend, so count on adding an extra half hour of driving for the way back. This also means that spectators on the mountain will likely miss some of the events at the bottom of the race.
The bridge leading to Farewell Bend Park is a fantastic place to watch runners and cyclists. Farewell Bend Park is also a great place to watch the transition to the paddle portion of the race. Keep in mind that parking is extremely limited, and in consideration of the turnout, either plan ahead and arrive early or (and this is new this year) have an Uber drop you off at Old Mill.
There are three bridges along the river from which you can view the race. The most popular is the bridge nearest the Les Schwab Amphitheater. The other two bridges up river offer great viewing spots of their own. If a bridge isn’t your first choice for viewing, you can also view the race from the bike trail that contours the river at any number of spots, including directly across the river from the boat launch.
Who to watch at the Pole Pedal Paddle
This year, the Pole Pedal Paddle will see the return of six former top-finishers on the men’s side. Among them will be Matt Briggs, last year’s runner up, and Marshall Greene, a six-time Pole Pedal Paddle winner who last competed in 2014. A large number of new athletes aspiring to unseat the top brass have also entered the race, which will make for an exciting event this year.
On the women’s side, returning champion Zoë Roy is heavily favored to win. Roy gained notoriety last year for being the first second-generation winner of the Pole Pedal Paddle. Her mother, Muffy Roy, won the event in 1994 and 2013. Roy, a top-class, well rounded athlete, hopes to break her time record from last year and complete the race in under two hours. If she succeeds, she will not only be the champion of this year’s race, but also its record holder for time.
To learn more about the Pole Pedal Paddle, visit their website.