The Salem River 2 Ridge
The Salem River 2 Ridge is a new multi-sport event including kayaking, biking and running through the Willamette Valley and Cascade Mountain Range. The race will be occurring on Sunday, Sept. 17, happening this year for the first time. The event is a competition where contestants can compete on a team of 2-3 people, or as individuals. As contestants will pass by vineyards, forests, and waterfalls during the event, it is predicted the event will take between four and seven hours.
The event takes after a Japanese event known as “Sea to Summit” where contestants kayak, bike, and hike, while also learning the cultural aspects of the event. The Salem River 2 Ridge is known to be the first event of this type in the U.S.
“We definitely wanted to model the Salem River 2 Ridge Relay event after SEA to SUMMIT because we knew it to be unique and successful and a model that would work to showcase our outdoor recreation area. We knew it was important for Travel Salem staff to experience it first hand so that we could adopt and appropriately modify the event to fit our area,” Kara Kuh, the Travel Salem Public Relations Manager, said.
Contestants are to complete three different events in order to finish the race. The race begins with kayaking or paddleboarding for 6.2 miles through the Willamette River beginning in downtown Salem and ending in Spongs Landing County Park. The next piece of the race begins in Spongs Landing where contestants bike 47.8 miles through farms and end up near Silverton. Finally, contestants must run or hike for 5.8 miles through the Trail of Ten Falls at Silver Falls State Park. After the event is over, participants are invited to stay at Silver Falls for an after party which will include food, drinks, and live music.
The day before the event begins, contestants will meet at Salem’s Riverfront Park Amphitheatre from 12-4 p.m. to discuss the environmental symposium which will show participants some of the cultural and environmental parts of the race, and also how unique the event is. This is a free 30 minute event which is also open to the public. Speakers will include the executive director of Willamette Riverkeeper, Travis Williams, the founder of Willamette Valley Vineyards, Jim Bernau, and an interpretive park ranger at Silver Creek Falls, Matt Palmquist.
“This is a unique event because it’s more than a competition – it’s more of a personal journey that provides a unique way for participants to understand and enjoy the natural environment, while also putting their athletic skills to the test. The educational symposium that takes place as part of this event really sets it apart from other outdoor athletic events because participants will learn about interesting aspects of the course from experts before taking part in the relay portion of the event,” Kuh also said.
Registration for the event began before April 1, with individual cost to register being $90, and as a relay team, $160. Cost continually goes up in price the longer participants wait to register, with prices going up after July 1, and again after Sept. 1. The event is predicted to have a turnout of about 300 people for the first year.
“River 2 Ridge is a unique way to showcase the beauty of our area and create a signature event that will draw both domestic and international visitors to our area,” Angie Morris, the Travel Salem CEO, said in an interview with Travel Salem about the event. Aside from this year, the event is also committed to be happen in both 2018 and 2019.