Victoria Jacobsen
The Bulletin

Zoë Roy defended her Pole Pedal Paddle elite women’s title Saturday, winning in 2 hours, 3 minutes and 52 seconds, nearly 10 minutes ahead of runner-up Mary Wellington.

Roy’s winning margin is the widest by an elite woman since the Pole Pedal Paddle began using the current course in 2004. Roy set the previous widest margin of 8:30 last year.

Carolyn Daubeny finished third in 2:15:13. The top three women’s finishers all are from Bend.

“It’s nice to be finished,” Roy admitted at the finish line. “The run was hard, but the rest (of the legs) were all fine. I didn’t have any major hiccups, so that was good. I feel like that’s a win, just to make it to the end without making any mistakes.”

As if to highlight her point, at that moment, one of the individual men crossed the finish line covered in cuts and scratches, clear evidence of a hiccup or two.

Roy, 29, won the race in 2:00:50 last year and was aiming to break two hours this time around, but she missed the mark by several minutes.

“(The race) went basically as well as it could have, I think,” Roy said. “(The weather) was nice, which is good, but it’s also the first time I feel like it’s been warm, which is always a bit of a shock to the system. But that’s how it is — I’m not complaining at all. So it was good.”

Wellington also noted that everything from the sunshine to the fast snow for the opening ski legs at Mount Bachelor (fast for the early-starting elite racers, at least) seemed primed for a good race experience.

“It was a perfect day for racing,” Wellington said. “The snow conditions were fast and fun for us, and it was a little windy at times on the bike and the paddle. I’m not going to complain at all, because last year was so miserable.”

Wellington finished the race about a minute and a half under her goal of 2:15, and she did so without much in the way of competition to pace her.

“I really didn’t see anyone out there,” Wellington said. “Zoë is just so amazingly strong, it’s like see ya! Carolyn Daubeny, in third place, I saw her. She came off the bike pretty close (to me), and a couple of times on the trail you can see each other, and then of course on the water, so pretty much I felt like I was on my own out there.”

Wellington said this year’s race was her 11th as an individual, although she admitted that during many of the PPP’s 5-mile runs over the years she has considered calling it a career.

“Transitions I have down, definitely,” Wellington said. “Even with new help, year to year, knowing your transitions is really important. And then just keeping in shape all year-round, you have to. You can’t just decide to learn how to ski or learn how to boat a couple of weeks beforehand.”

Roy became the first second-generation Pole Pedal Paddle winner in 2016, and by defending her title she has now matched her mother’s two titles. (Muffy Roy won in 1994 and 2003). But she noted that her mom and the rest of her support team deserve an assist for this title.

“Anyone who helped me is 100 percent a part of this win, for sure,” Roy said.

But when asked if she plans to join the ranks of three-time winner Stephanie Howe or four-time winner Suzanne King, Roy said she still needs some time to think about it.

“I have no idea,” she said. “That’s the million-dollar question. I have to take at least a day, probably longer.”

— Reporter: 541-383-0305,