Pole, Pedal and Paddle Whenever You Want in Central Oregon

15 min read

Every May in Bend some 3,100 people participate in the US Bank Pole, Pedal, Paddle multi-sport race. (And there’s still time to sign up for this year’s event, held on May 20th.)

The event starts with three legs at Mt. Bachelor – a short downhill ski, 8k Nordic race and 22-mile bike ride – before the 5-mile run, 1.5-mile kayak and half mile sprint legs back down in Bend. It’s become the signature athletic event for Bend – if you’re not participating, you know someone who is or someone who is part of the army of volunteers it takes to pull it off so smoothly. (The race is the main fundraiser for the Mount Bachelor Sports Education Foundation, which promotes and supports amateur alpine, cross country, snowboard, and cycling training for junior athletes.

The event showcases everything that is great about Central Oregon – and the perfect time of year when doing all of those things in one day is possible.

But you don’t have to be competing to take advantage of everything the PPP provides. You can pole, pedal and paddle almost whenever you want.

Mt. Bachelor nordic skiing

There’s still tons of great powder up at Mt. Bachelor for some spring skiing. Or you can head over to the Nordic center for some great cross country skiing (and, many locals will tell you, the best burritos in Bend!) The ski area is expected to be open through May – extending one of the longest ski seasons in the country.

But come summer, when the snow’s gone you can just replace the “ski pole” with a different kind of pole…a fishing pole. Let the guides at Stillwater Fly Shop in Sunriver take you to one of their secret spots or go rent some gear at The Fly Fisher’s Place in Sisters and venture out on your own.

Once the snow melts enough, the road to Mt. Bachelor – also known as the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway – is a great place for a long road ride, but there are plenty of other scenic bikeway options for you in Central Oregon.  (McKenzie Pass early in the season is open only to cyclists, which is a great time to check out one of the most scenic rides in the state!) Or, you can turn it up a notch and hit some of the Central Oregon mountain bike trails nearby. Pine Mountain Sports, The Hub Cyclery and Hutch’s are a couple of great spots to rent bikes if you need them – or, if your legs are a little tired take a guided Bend brewery tour with Let it Ride Electric Bikes.

Pacific Crest Triathlon

If you’re not quite ready to kick off the race season in May, no problem. In June, Sunriver Resort hosts Central Oregon’s largest athletic event, the Pacific Crest Weekend Sports Festival.

More than 5,000 athletes, their family and friends, converge on majestic Central Oregon to take part in what is known as the jewel of multisport events in the Northwest. It has become a traditional destination race for athletes from across the nation, as well as from across the globe. Coupled with a finishing in a five-star destination resort, it is the perfect family vacation destination.

There is a race for absolutely everyone from the Long Course Tri/Du/Aquabike, Olympic Tri/Du/AquaBike, Ulta-Sprint Tri/Du/AquaBike, Marathon, Half Marathon, 10k, 5k, 26 and 55 mile Tour de Crest, Kids Tri and Kids ½ mile and 1-mile dashes.

Pacific Crest Swim

If running is your thing, you’re in luck. It’s Central Oregon’s thing too. With more than 65 miles of maintained trails just in Bend alone, you can find a running route to fit your needs whether it’s pavement, track or dirt – including the very scenic Deschutes River Trail (which is part of the PPP course.)

And while it’s not yet hot in Central Oregon, it’s warm enough to take advantage of all the water sport activities the region has to offer. Tumalo Creek Kayak and Canoe is located right on the river so it’s easy to rent some gear to get your paddle boarding muscles in shape for when high lakes open up this summer.

Sun Country Tours, stand up paddling

You can also create your own multi-sport event to impress all your friends. Click here for a look at what we like to call the “Central Oregon 6-pack.”

Whatever you decide to do, just get out, explore and have fun!

Life’s not about being timed.

Ted Taylor
Ted Taylor
Ted Taylor manages COVA's digital content, media relations, PR and social media. He's an award-winning reporter and editor who has worked in newspaper and televisions newsrooms in Nebraska, Colorado, Arkansas and Oregon. A former assistant golf professional, Ted still loves to sneak in a quick 9, but you're more likely these days to find him on the mountain bike trails when he's not spending time with his family. He's called Bend home for 17 years.