Bend’s iconic Pole Pedal Paddle multi-sport race has been canceled for the second straight year due to COVID safety concerns.
“Out of abundance of caution, we believe it is appropriate to postpone the SELCO Pole Pedal Paddle until May 21, 2022,” said Race Director Molly Cogswell-Kelley. “Over half of the participants travel from outside of Central Oregon to compete in the event. Even with limiting participation, we believe the race would be extremely hard to produce given the current state guidelines.”
The 44th annual race was canceled last year in April, about a month before it was scheduled to take place.
The multi-sport race includes alpine and cross-country skiing, cycling, running, and kayaking, and stretches from the slopes of Mt. Bachelor to the finish line in Bend.
More than 2,000 athletes of all ages compete in divisions ranging in skill level from novices to elite racers, and either individually or as part of a team.
Busy transition areas make it all but impossible to hold the event.
“One of the most unique features of the SELCO Pole Pedal Paddle is the transition exchange areas where fans, teammates and support crew gather,” Kelley said. “Not being able to gather in these areas would seriously diminish the overall experience of the race.”
MBSEF is a nonprofit race training organization that relies on income generated from this and other events to offset the company’s operating costs.
The PPP is produced by and for the benefit of MBSEF, which creates opportunities through competitive snow sports programs to support athletes in achieving their individual athletic, academic, and personal goals.
It’s almost an official holiday in the city of Bend. With thousands of racers, hundreds of volunteers and team assistants and dozens of vendors and sponsors, just about everyone is involved with the race in some way or another.