Neil Baunsgard and Kelsey Ward love bikes. They do not love getting stuck in traffic, or asking their friends to sit in traffic for them, or burning fossil fuels when it is not necessary.
So the tandem pair from Bend carried their boat to the run/paddle transition at Riverbend Park on Friday and then left Bend at 5:45 a.m. on their tandem bike, pedaling all the way up to the start of the Pole Pedal Paddle at Mount Bachelor with their ski gear, and then carried their ski gear with them as they raced back down the mountain during the bike leg.
It did not slow them down too much. Team “Car Free PPP” beat Eye Of The Tyger to win the 25-29 tandem category in 2:23:06.9.
“It’s just a statement about getting yourself to trailheads on a bike and trying to avoid using fossil fuels,” Ward, age 27, explained.
Baunsgard, also 27, said he had planned the “car-free PPP” with his girlfriend, Jane Ward (Kelsey’s sister), but Jane had to pull out with an injury the week before the race.
“Kelsey joined two days ago,” Baunsgard said. “She pitched in for quite an undertaking at the last minute.”
And what was the significance of the psychedelic leggings both partners were wearing?
“Neil and Jane have a whole collection of leggings,” Ward explained.
“We just pulled out the costume bag and made something work,” Baunsgard added.
After Baunsgard and Ward got to the finish, the day’s work was not yet done. They said they planned to bike home with their ski gear, then return to Riverbend Park and paddle their boat home.