Big turnout for Paddle Pedal Paddle
June 9, 2015
Saturday morning saw the Rock Cliff area of the Jordanelle Reservoir packed with athletes aiming to complete the Paddle Pedal Paddle, a grueling race featuring 10 miles of paddleboarding and 10 miles of mountain biking.
In the fourth year of the event, several records were broken. Park City Standup Paddleboarding owner and Paddle Pedal Paddle organizer Trent Hickman said it was a great day of competition.
"We had more people than we’ve ever had before, we had one team go sub-three hours and we had two women solo the course," he said. "On many levels, it was a historical day."
Additionally, the high water levels at the Jordanelle made for another Paddle Pedal Paddle record.
"It was also the longest course we’ve ever had," Hickman said. "It was 11.2 miles. Because of the high water, the course was longer than we anticipated. We put the buoy where we always put it, but the high water made for a longer paddle."
Though Saturday turned into a stormy day, the weather held out for the most part during the Paddle Pedal Paddle.
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"It was an amazingly beautiful day," Hickman said. "The day started with water so smooth you could shave yourself on it. We had kind of a light cloud cover, which was great. At one point, it was sunny and raining. Toward the end of the day, the wind kicked up a little bit, so for that last leg of the course, it got a little bit more intense."
The winds didn’t affect Kristian Mulholland on the last leg of paddling. He and his teammate, Ben Buehner, who did the cycling, finished in 2 hours, 59 minutes — the fastest time of the day.
"Kristian’s a top-level paddler and Ben’s a top-level cyclist," Hickman said. "They really did a great job. The transition was very smooth for them and they did it really well. Had they done it any differently, they wouldn’t have gotten sub-three hours."
Kirsty Pickering and Bridgette Bath-Barney were the two women to take on the whole course by themselves. Hickman had hoped to get some women making solo attempts and was impressed by the duo’s efforts.
"They came from Las Vegas and rented boards from us," he said. "It was really cool — they teamed up and stayed together on the first leg of the paddle and they were riding their bikes together. They just grinded it out. My hat’s off to their effort and endurance."
Both Pickering and Bath-Barney finished the course in 6 hours, 5 minutes. Hickman won the men’s solo competition, finishing in 3:11, ahead of Tim Wagstaff (3:25) and Andrew Smyth (3:28).
Hickman said it was great to see so many people at the Paddle Pedal Paddle, including several first-time competitors.
"It really is more fun," he said. "All these events are so based on camaraderie. We all know each other, or, if you’re new, the first thing we’re going to do is shake your hand and welcome you to the family. The more people that show up, it’s like going to a family reunion. It’s just more fun."
After holding the event later in the summer in years past, Hickman said he likes the early-June date for the competition.
"I think we’re going to keep everything in June for a few reasons," he said. "One, I like to get everyone excited about the season. The high water makes the Jordanelle so much more enjoyable for the events. Then, someone yesterday said, ‘You should do this in the fall when we’ve had a chance to get in shape.’ But I figure if I put it in spring, it will either kick-start your summer training program or else it will keep you motivated in the shoulder season to be ready for the big events in June."
No matter when it’s held, Hickman is most excited to see more people coming to the events from more different locations.
"I think it’s really amazing and really great that we’re starting to see athletes come and share our events with us," he said. "It’s a unique race, so the fact that people want to come do it and want to come back year after year, that makes us feel good about what we’re doing and motivates us to stick with it."