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Pole, pedal and paddle from Crested Butte to Gunnison Print
Written by Than Acuff   
Wednesday, 10 April 2013
CB3P race to join towns and seasons

Multi-sport athletes of the Gunnison Valley and beyond, mark your calendars for the CB3P on Sunday, April 28.
In an effort to join two active communities and three popular sports in the Gunnison Valley, race director Tiff Simpson presents the CB3P, a three-sport race from the north end of the valley to the south end.
Simpson moved to the Gunnison Valley two years ago after spending a stint in Jackson, Wyo. as well as Salida, Colo. Both communities hosted pole, pedal and paddle competitions. Pole, pedal and paddle events are a mountain triathlon of sorts whereby athletes, or just active participants, ski, bike and boat all in the same race.
Timing is key as the event is dependant upon skiable terrain, clear roads and navigable water all at the same time. Simpson saw the Gunnison Valley as a perfect place for an event similar to those held in Jackson and Salida.
“When I got here I thought, the Gunnison Valley has it all, but on an even grander scale,” says Simpson.
The idea is not necessarily new to the area. There have been pole, pedal and paddle events in the past but it has been a while since the last one and as far as Simpson knows, there hasn’t been one that connected both ends of the Gunnison Valley.
“I do think our course is unique,” says Simpson. “I thought it would be a cool way to incorporate the entire valley. It follows the spring run-off.”
The race starts with a unique format of skiing on Crested Butte Mountain. While several pole, pedal and paddle events have either Nordic skiing or one climb and one descent as the ski portion, Simpson is upping the ante. She is still working out the specifics of the ski racecourse but has the general idea.
“You’ll skin up, rip the skins, ski down, skin up again and then rip skins and ski down again,” explains Simpson. “I think it’ll make it a lot more interesting.”
Once done with the ski leg, athletes jump on bikes at Mountaineer Square and proceed to ride 27 miles down Highway 135 to the North Bank put-in across from Garlic Mike’s. At that point it’s paddle time with racers jumping into the Gunnison River to paddle from there and finishing at the Gunnison Whitewater Park.
“The features aren’t going to be big, Class II,” says Simpson. “You may have to punch a couple Class II+ features to get to the finish line. We’ll have safety set up.”
Simpson hired a professional timing company complete with ankle chips so racers will be able to track their split times for each section as well as their time spent in transitions.
The race is open to individuals and teams. The individual race will have two classes based on equipment and ability. If you’ve got the latest in rando gear, a trials bike and a fiberglass boat, jump in the race class. If you’ll be split boarding, riding a townie to Gunnison and jumping in a raft, then you’re all about the fun class.
The team event will have men’s, women’s and coed divisions. While no one will be monitoring the equipment used, Simpson is asking racers to be honest.
“We’re asking people to put themselves in an appropriate category,” says Simpson.
All divisions will have awards that are unique and specific to the event, awards that Simpson refuses to divulge.
Registration is currently available online at and is $50 for individuals and $90 for teams. There is a $10 discount for anyone who competes in the Salida pole, pedal, paddle event on April 21, if you can provide proof of registration. The CB3P online registration will close on Friday, April 26. There is a mandatory racers’ meeting and kick-off party on Saturday, April 27 at the Brick Oven from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. and Simpson says there will be a last chance to register for the race at the meeting/party—but spaces are limited to 20 registrants that evening.
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