Besides the longer days and allergies, the Pole Pedal Paddle is one of the major signs that spring has finally made it to Central Oregon.

For the past 43 years everyone from elite athletes to those in it for the T-shirt and bragging rights have competed in this six-stage race and have taken the trip from Mt. Bachelor to Bend on skis, bikes, kayaks and foot.

Racers will glide down the ski resort slopes early Saturday morning before hitting the Nordic trail, hop on a bike down Century Drive, run to the Riverbend Park, paddle their way down and up the Deschutes River before sprinting for the finish at the Les Schwab Amphitheater.

This race is not solely to see which team has the most outrageous costume coming down the mountain, or even for the best time, it’s a benefit for the Mount Bachelor Sports Education Foundation and the 600 young athletes who participate in their winter sports programs.

Whether your competing or wanting to cheer on the participants, GO! Magazine has you covered for PPP information.

How to watch

Thousands of spectators and supporters turn out every year to cheer on racers. This year will be no different, so plan ahead to get a prime spot.

To check out the skiers and snowboarders as they tackle the slopes, take the trip up Century Drive and park in the West Village parking lot at Mt. Bachelor. The road back to Bend however is detoured through Sunriver for the duration of the race.

Back in town, park in the dirt lot at the corner of Columbia Street and Shevlin-Hixon Drive. These spaces are at a premium, so get there early.

In Riverbend Park, you’ll have options to check out runners as they make their way to the “paddle” exchange site, on the footbridges to Farewell Bend or to the Old Mill you can check out the boats as they race through the icy Deschutes River.

About 10:40 a.m., the first of the racers will start crossing the finish line in the Les Schwab Amphitheater.

While there, check out some of the local vendors, grab a brew from the 10 Barrel beer garden, watch the athlete costume contest and enjoy music from Sleepless Truckers starting at noon.

Then, celebrate the champions as they’re recognized on stage at 3 p.m.

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