Some changes are coming to the 2020 Selco Pole Pedal Paddle.
Race officials have announced 100 teams can opt to do a mountain bike leg instead of the traditional Nordic ski leg.
Currently, racers start with a downhill ski or snowboard before a 8K skate ski followed by a 22-mile road bike ride down Century Drive. Racers then do a 5-mile run, 1.5-mile kayak and finally, a sprint to the finish.
The new stage would have racers go from Mt. Bachelor to the Wanoga Sno-park on their mountain bikes, where they would then have a few options:
- Hop on a road bike and cruise down Century Drive to the run leg.
- Stay on their mountain bike and ride down Century.
- Stay on their mountain bike and ride Funner, Storm King singletrack trails and Conklin road before getting on Century to the Athletic Club for the run leg.
Teams that opt for the mountain bike leg will not be timed with the traditional racers, making it essentially its own race.
MBSEF Event Director Molly Cogswell-Kelley said the new leg was added after hearing from numerous past participants who have said they didn’t have access to Nordic trails where they live or, simply, didn’t know how to Nordic ski.
And despite numerous clinics ahead of the race aimed at teaching people the sport, Cogswell-Kelley said for many people, the Nordic leg was the only barrier to entering the race.
“We thought it would be cool to add a leg for those people,” she said. “I hope it brings in people that don’t normally race the Selco PPP.”
Cogswell-Kelley said they’re not sure if the addition will be permanent, “but we’re going to try it this year.” Snow levels might force them to rethink the issue in future years, she said.
The annual event marks 44 years in 2020 with 2,000 athletes competing in a multi-stage race from the slopes of Mt. Bachelor to the Old Mill District.
The 2020 race is scheduled for May 16th. Online registration is expected to go live on January 2nd.
Image courtesy BendTrails.org