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CB3P valley rally this Sunday

Get in as the race is filling up

by Than Acuff

Who out there is looking for something to do this Sunday, April 29? Well, how about jumping into the CB3P, a pole, pedal and paddle tour of the Gunnison Valley starting in the mountains around Crested Butte and finishing in the rivers of Gunnison?

The event has become a mainstay of the area, starting six years ago, and is just getting better with age. While the summer has the Chainless World Championships and the winter has the Al Johnson, the off-season, or shoulder season, has the CB3P. It’s part athleticism, part mentalism and all-out chaoticism.

Early registration numbers were stronger than ever and as of press time it appears registration continues to gain steam, with 86 signed up for the event so far and more on the way.

“We’re going to have the biggest 3P to date,” says race creator and director Tiff Simpson. “I’m guessing we may end up with as many as 115 people when all is said and done and the weather looks off the hook the day of the race.”

The CB3P starts at 10 a.m. in a Le Mans format (i.e., running) to your ski/snowboard gear for the uphill/downhill portion on Crested Butte Mountain. The course goes from the base of the ski area to the top of Paradise Bowl and then back down to the base. Runs are green and blue in difficulty. Organizers recommend AT or tele gear, but split boards and Nordic gear are allowed. Snowshoes are not allowed.

From there, participants switch to bikes for a 27-mile ride from Crested Butte Mountain Resort to the North Bridge put-in on the Gunnison River by Garlic Mike’s. A road bike will be the most efficient choice, but any human-powered bike is allowed.

Bikes are then dropped and people jump in boats to paddle 4.5 miles on the Gunnison River from the North Bank put-in to the Gunnison Whitewater Park. The river section of the race is mostly Class I and II and will require competitors to paddle through one Class II+/III- rapid; any non-motorized water craft is allowed on the course. PFDs are required for the river portion of the race and helmets are required for every part of the race.

One of the best parts about the CB3P is that there is something for everyone, as the event offers both solo and relay options in the race and the “fun” classes.

“We want it to be a race for everyone,” says Simpson. “We have lots of über-athletes here and people who just want to party and have fun and we want everyone included.”

But, as can be the case with an event such as the CB3P, gear can be an issue. Fortunately, Simpson has created a Facebook group forum, the CB3P Participant forum, to help people find gear, teammates and even info on the course.

“That’s the best resource if you’re in need of gear,” says Simpson.

Another great part about the CB3P are the prizes. Simpson has gathered a pile of prizes and cash to be doled out to podium finishers as well as everyone else, as all participants and volunteers are entered into a raffle.

“The prizes are off the hook,” says Simpson. “As always, the local sponsors are stepping up in a huge way and this year we’ve got tons of new sponsors on board, a lot of which reached out to me to be a part of it. I think that shows the event is gaining momentum.”

Still yet another great part about the CB3P is that this year’s race is a fundraiser for Gunnison Trails. But, really, the best part about the CB3P is the camaraderie as everyone who races and helps out gets to hang out on the beaches of the Gunnison River after the race, trade stories, lick their wounds and step up for a turn on the shotski.

“The after-party has become kind of rowdy, for better or worse,” says Simpson. “Having the diversity of athletes makes the after-party lots of fun. You’ll have the serious guy next to the guy in a tutu. It’s just a really good vibe.”

There is a mandatory pre-race meeting at the Brick Oven on Saturday, April 28 at 6 p.m. to pick up your bibs and goodie bags. Pre-race meeting starts at 7 p.m. All solo participants must attend and at least one member of every team must attend.

Online registration is open at crestedbutte3p.com until Friday at midnight and there is a last-minute registration option at the pre-race meeting, but Simpson warns that the race may be full by then.

“I would encourage people to preregister online,” says Simpson. “I can’t guarantee that we will have any spots left at the last minute registration at the pre-race meeting.”

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