This was the biggest Pole Pedal Paddle ever, with 2,925 racers, and maybe even the best ever too, with absolutely perfect race weather. Huge congratulations go to Molly Cogswell-Kelley, the MBSEF crew and all the volunteers for an amazing event.
We did pretty well with our race predictions here. Marshall Greene repeated as men's champion by a solid three minutes, while Sarah Max repeated as women's champion by edging out Source pick Muffy Roy by 56 seconds. At the finish line, Sarah commented that she proved me wrong, so I want to give her credit. PPP has a history of champions stringing together win streaks (a la Justin Wadsworth, Ben Husaby and Suzanne King). Racers who figure out all the fine nuances to win the race seem to be able to do it again. Sarah is only 34 and Marshall is only 27, so both have a great shot at becoming the winningest PPP champions ever. (The feat would require four more victories for Sarah and five for Marshall).
We were right on here with our picks for male pairs (Eric Martin and Paul Parsons turned in the fastest time of the day, once again, in 1:41:58) and female pairs (Molly Grove and Suzanne King), but we missed on co-ed pairs because we didn't realize that the Andy and Kathy Fectau were racing under the moniker Shaky Mess. A few days before the race, I paddled past Andy (who has finished second in the men's solo category about a bazillion times) in his surfski, looking sort of like, well, a shaky mess. "First time in the boat in two years," he said tippily. I'm guessing he got his groove back.
The thought that ran through my head while basking in the endorphin afterglow this weekend was, "It takes a village to do PPP." I sure could not have done it without my incredible support crew, who went above and beyond by even taking my dog for a hike while I attended the awards ceremony. The race sure couldn't happen without each and every volunteer and the support of the whole community. Many call it the "BBB" (Beg Borrow and Barter), as boats and bikes and boots are loaned out all over town. It's that spirit of comraderie that I love most about the event. See you next year!
LIFE AFTER PPP
For me, PPP represented the grand finale of my comeback from being hit by a car while riding my bike on Labor Day last year. I was lucky to survive, but two other cyclists were fatally injured by motorists in Bend in 2008. So, I'm hoping you read this in time to join the Ride of Silence on Wednesday, May 20 at 7:00pm at the City Hall parking area across from the Deschutes Public Library on Wall Street. Bend will join communities around the world in conducting the ride in honor of the memory of bicyclists who have been killed or seriously injured by motor vehicles. The ride promotes the concept that motorists and cyclists alike need to share the road.
The Ride of Silence invites the community to remember those fallen cyclists by joining in a 5-mile, mostly flat, slow-paced bike ride through Bend. The ride will start and finish at Bend City Hall. Riders must wear bike helmets and obey all traffic controls. The ride is neither a race nor a party, but respectful and non-confrontational in character. Cyclists are encouraged to wear black armbands in memory of cyclists who have been killed and red armbands to indicate cyclists who have been injured in an accident.
The Ride of Silence was first organized in 2003 by Chris Phelan in Dallas, Texas to honor endurance cyclist Larry Schwartz, who died after being struck by the mirror of a passing bus on an otherwise empty road. Since that time, it has expanded to include rides in more than 300 cities around the world. In 2007, the first year the event was organized in Bend, approximately 180 local cyclists participated in the event. The event is now in its third year.
More information about the worldwide Ride of Silence is available at www.rideofsilence.org. For more information about Bend's ride or specific route details, please contact Susanna Julber at firstname.lastname@example.org.