If you are adventurous and love beautiful scenery, Salem’s River to Ridge is the perfect event for you to try. Set right outside Portland, in the beautiful Willamette Valley, the River 2 Ridge runs from the Willamette river through gorgeous wine country and farmland to the beautiful greenery of Silver Falls State Park. If you’re up for a challenge, you’ll want to do the River 2 Ridge relay. Think of it as a modified triathlon, and for anyone who doesn’t particularly like swimming, the paddling is a great alternative. This is a great way to experience the beauty that Oregon has to offer, all while getting a great workout! This year will be the third consecutive year, Salem has hosted the River 2 Ridge relay.
What is the River 2 Ridge Relay?
The river 2 ridge relay was designed after the former City of Salem mayor Anna Peterson and Travel Salem CEO Angie Morries, went to Japan to participate in the Sea to Summit. The Sea to Summit includes kayaking, biking and then hiking up the mountain. Salem is the perfect location for these activities, so they formed the River 2 Ridge relay. The river 2 ridge consists of a 6.2 mile paddle along the Willamette River, a 40.3 mile bike ride through the country side, and a 5.8 mile run/hike through Silver Falls to the finish line. This race can be done individually or as a relay team.
**REGISTRATION IS OPEN FOR THE 2019 RIVER 2 RIDGE**
Kayak Along the Willamette River
The race begins at Riverfront Park, where the participants run across the newly built walking bridge, along the waterfront, to Wallace Park and enter the kayaks (or paddle boards) into the water. It’s an easy paddle along the water. In fact, you can make it to the next stop even if you don’t paddle. If you don’t care about your time, it’s a gorgeous place to enjoy the scenery and some wildlife.
Bike Through Willamette Valley
Once out of the water, you transition from the kayak to your bike. The bike ride begins with an easy ride through the countryside and gradually increases difficulty as you begin heading towards Silver Falls State Park. The ride is gorgeous as you bike through some of Willamette Valley’s best vineyards, but it does get very hilly in the last half, so prepare for some intense elevation climbs. What started as a sunny day, became a little windy and drizzly during the ride. It is Oregon, so you never know what kind of weather youll be getting. A total of 40.3 miles through the rich farmlands and country roads.
Hike at Silver Falls State Park
The race finishes with a nice “easy” 5.8 mile run through Silver Falls. Silver Falls State Park is a gorgeous park and one of our favorite parks, and let us tell you after all those miles, it definitely was a good distraction to be running alongside waterfalls and trees. By this point, we could barely feel our legs and the 5 miles felt like 15 miles. The hills were brutal and I think we could have crawled faster than we “ran” but it sure was pretty.
Can you make it to the end?!
The race is laid out very well and there are volunteers along the way to help you with snacks and drinks. The race is not meant to be a survival of the fittest. If you are having trouble along the way, there are people to help you. It does feel like the last 5 miles during the run just go on forever! However, every finisher gets a medal and there is beer and food waiting for you at the finish line. And let us tell you, the beer never tasted so good!
While we signed up for the race late, we didn’t get a chance to train. As painful as it was during the race, it was a blast and such a pretty route. We actually took our time to take lots of photos, knowing that we weren’t in any hurry to finish anyways.
Costs and tips for participating in the River 2 Ridge Relay
- The cost is $120 for an individual, or $200 for a 3 person relay. But If you sign up early, the price will be discounted.
- The race is available as an individual or as a team. So if you only want to do one part of the relay, then recruit your friends and make it a team!
- If you don’t have a bike or kayak, there are bikes and kayaks available for if needed.
- Prepare for lots of miles- drink lots of water the day before the race and bring some quick absorbing snacks or goo for energy.
- Bring multiple different shoes. Your shoes will get wet during the kayak, so its wise to bring water shoes, bike shoes (if you have them) and trail shoes.
- Prepare for any weather in Oregon. The race is in May now, so you never really know what the weather will be doing in Oregon.
- If you’re looking for a place to stay while in Salem, The Grand Hotel is the perfect spot, not far from the beginning of the relay race, and close to downtown Salem.
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The River to Ridge relay was put in place not only to have fun, but to enjoy the gorgeous scenery and nature that Salem has to offer. Salem has so much to offer in terms of outdoor recreation and natural beauty, the relay race is the perfect level of activity mixed with enjoying the scenery. This is a not to miss race for outdoor enthusiasts!
Thanks to Travel Salem and Breakaway Promotions for inviting us to the event and for letting us use their bikes. We’ll be back for more next year!
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