Pole Pedal Paddle, the Jesse Thomas* Year

May 22, 2015

They call it the Bend Olympics, and for good (slash, obvious) reason. Bend is a well-known outdoor mecca, for snow, water, and land sports alike. Pole Pedal Paddle, or PPP, combines all of those into one multisport ultimatum of endurance performance.

Downhill ski, nordic ski, bike, run, kayak, run.

Due to a lack of snow this year, the nordic leg was replaced with a two mile trail run. To Jesse, a professional triathlete who grew up in Bend watching and admiring the PPP athletes compete each year, it was an opportunity. Replacing his most unfamiliar sport with something he’s pretty dang good at (running) meant his chances at Bend Athlete Royalty had an atypical advantage.

Unfortunately for Matt Briggs, Picky’s finance manager and former professional XC skier, the cancelled nordic leg meant a lost advantage AND a new competitor… his boss.

From the Bend Bulletin’s PPP Preview

It was a great battle on an overcast spring morning in Bend. Despite a slow ride down the mountain, Jesse made up ground on the newly added two mile trail run; He arrived at the bike exchange third behind Briggs and reigning 6x PPP champ Marshall Greene. His triathlon training paid off and he got onto the road first, putting a couple minutes on the pack after a 22 minute ride down Cascade Highway.

ski and bike photo cred: Bend Bulletin

Despite strong runs from Marshall and Briggs, the five mile run along the river trail (an HQ lunch run favorite!) provided enough room to push his lead to just over 5 minutes. With another unfamiliar sport ahead though, it was any man’s race.

The Little Wing Lawrence Sisters were waiting at boat transition – Collier for Jesse and Mel for Matt – and got the guys into the water and paddling in no time. The chase pack tried closing the gap, but Jesse put on an impressive showing (not a phrase commonly used when referring to his times in the water) and hit the 1/2 mile “sprint” to the finish first.

We’ve got it on good authority that Jesse promised Matt, Marshall, and all the other PPP’ers bummed about the cancelled ski that he’d come back and race the REAL course so they could put the hurt on him. Until then, the asterisked 2015 championship belongs to the Aviator!