For Pole Pedal Paddle veteran Zoë Roy, it’s all about the transitions. She practices them before the PPP each year with Matea Haugen, a friend and part of her support crew.

“We’ve been practicing this for four years,” Haugen said. “We have the same technique every time. I try to throw a joke in there to make her laugh.”

Roy and Haugen were a blur of activity as Roy came into the bike-to-run transition Saturday at the Athletic Club of Bend on her way to winning her third straight PPP elite women’s title.

Roy hopped off her bike and quickly took her helmet off. She sat down and Haugen yanked her bike pants off to reveal her running shorts. Roy tied one running shoe while Haugen tied the other, and off Roy went down the trail, stripping off more clothes as she ran.

“We’re really good at transitions,” Roy, 30, said after winning Saturday. “It’s our secret. It’s pretty fun, being a little bit dorky about it and getting fast at those little things. They can add up to a lot of extra time that you don’t need to waste.”

But Roy probably could have had ultraslow transitions and still won the race Saturday. She finished in 2 hours, 3 minutes, 17 seconds, and defeated second-place Mary Wellington, also of Bend, by nearly 11 minutes, the widest winning margin by an elite woman since the PPP began using the current course in 2004. Carolyn Daubeny, likewise from Bend, finished third in 2:18:10, and Bend’s Sierra Foster rounded out the elite women’s field, placing fourth in 2:27:19.

Roy led from the start in what she called “perfect” alpine and nordic skiing conditions at Mt. Bachelor ski area.

“The bike (stage) was not windy, so that was great,” Roy said. “The run, as usual, was pretty hard. But the weather couldn’t have been better. It’s not hot, it’s not cold.”

With all three other elite women’s entries behind her after the first stage, Roy could focus on racing against the elite men the rest of the way, and she finished ahead of five of them. (The elite men’s and women’s categories start in the same wave at Bachelor.)

“I’m so glad we get to start with them,” Roy said. “I was in there.”

Spectators by the hundreds in the Old Mill District urged on Roy as she ran and paddled along the Deschutes River, many of them mentioning how the smile never seemed to leave her face.

“They’re the best,” Roy said of the cheering onlookers. “That makes it easier.”

— Reporter: 541-383-0318,