As the end of the ski season nears, cross-country athletes have the chance to take part in the annual Salida Pole Pedal Paddle, or the Salida 3P, this Sunday, April 17. Although it is a physical pleasure, it is also for a good cause; it funds the FIBArk Youth Paddling program (more on this below).
The race follows the spring runoff path, starting at the Continental Divide on Monarch Pass with touring skis. Next, competitors ride mountain bikes near Mount Shavano to the banks of the Arkansas River where they begin their final leg, kayaking toward downtown Salida. Men, women and juniors (18 and under) can compete individually. Men’s, women’s or mixed teams can also participate in a relay.
The annual multi-sport Pole Pedal Paddle event started in 1998 and then died out. It was reborn in 2008 before disappearing again in 2014. Then, the race came back stronger than ever in 2018.
Registration, which opened on March 1, is capped at 200 attendees. Those looking for teammates can check out the Facebook page Salida 3P. Registered participants should pick up their packets, timing chips, numbers, athlete bags, and t-shirts from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. April 16 at the Riverside Patio behind Absolute Bikes and High Side! Bar & Grill in Salida. The race will start at 10:00 a.m. on April 17 at Monarch Pass.
All the benefits of the Salida 3P go to the FIBArk Youth Paddle Program. The program is offered by the FIBArk Community Paddling Center in conjunction with the City of Salida Parks and Recreation Department. It strives to encourage, train and promote the participation of local young people in white water sports. Rules and Regulations as well as additional information about Salida 3P can be found on their website.