There is no better way to spend an off-season day
by Than Acuff
It’s that time of year again—time to ski, bike and paddle from one end of the valley to the other as the seventh annual CB3P is Sunday, April 28 and is not to be missed.
Six years ago, 51 intrepid athletes of varying degrees of athletic abilities lined up in Mountaineer Square to take part in the inaugural CB3P, a ski, bike and boat tour of the Gunnison valley from Crested Butte Mountain to the Gunnison Whitewater Park.
Last year the event reached its zenith as 105 signed up for the triathlon of a different sort, with several going solo and others teaming up to split up their talents between the three disciplines. It was far and away the most successful CB3P and race creator/director Tiff Simpson attributes that to one major factor.
“It’s pretty simple—the weather was stellar,” says Simpson.
But it goes deeper than that. The event has grown not just in interest, but more and more local businesses have jumped in to support it, several outdoor companies donate prizes to it, the town on Mt. Crested Butte and the Tourism and Prosperity Partnership (formerly the Tourism Association) jumped on board and the event has become what Simpson initially intended it for—a fundraiser for local non-profits.
“That dream has been realized the past few years,” says Simpson.
The first beneficiary three years ago was Mountain Roots. In 2017 it was Mountain Manners. Last year the CB3P raised $1,500 for Gunnison Trails and proceeds from the event this year will go to the Center for Mental Health (CMH).
“Given everything our community has been through these past couple years, it just made sense,” says Simpson. “I want to make a ton of money for CMH and all the funds raised will be earmarked specifically for use in the Gunnison valley.”
While philanthropy is the main goal of the CB3P, fun is the name of the game, with an edge of competition. Each year the level of athlete involved ranges from professional triathletes to professional fun hogs and everyone in between. While solo men and women ski, bike and paddle the entire course in the race class for a shot at the prize purse provided by Big Al’s Bicycle Heaven and Griggs Orthopedics, others team up with one participant skiing, another biking and a third paddling.
The course itself has a little bit of everything, opening with a climb up the snow on Crested Butte Mountain for 1,800 feet before turning around and skiing back down. While spring weather can turn the slopes into a chundery mess, Crested Butte Mountain Resort is stepping in once again to create a user-friendly hike up and ski descent.
“They’re gracious enough to offer grooming again on the race course,” says Simpson. “It’s a really awesome service that they provide.”
Following that it’s time to bike 27.3 miles from the base of Crested Butte Mountain Resort to Garlic Mike’s just north of Gunnison. The race then ends with a 4.7-mile paddle down the Gunnison River with a mix of class I and II+ rapids, including one last hole before the finish line. While the hole is pretty straightforward, it has been known to flip the random flotilla.
Once again the prize pile is massive for participants, as Simpson’s outreach continues to gain the interest of all types of support.
“I try to reach out to at least two or three new potential sponsors each year,” says Simpson.
This year Crested Butte Sotheby’s and Pit Viper have jumped on board as a testament to the randomness of support for the classic Crested Butte event.
But you can gather all of the sponsors you want and make all of the arrangements possible but if racers don’t sign up, then there’s no race. While last year’s numbers reached 105 participants, Simpson is looking for even more this year.
“We’ve only got 36 right now. The diehards always sign up right away,” says Simpson. “The week leading up though the numbers will ramp up and we’re hoping to hit 120.”
Registration is currently open and is $65 for solo racers and $120 for teams. That will go up at midnight on April 20 though, with solo registration going to $75 and team registration increasing to $160. Online registration closes for good at midnight April 26 and last minute registration might be available at the pre-race/bib pick-up meeting Saturday, April 27 at the Brick Oven at 5 p.m.
“We’re going to cap the race at 140 so depending on our numbers, we may or may not have registration at the pre-race/bib pick-up meeting,” says Simpson.
There are a few changes to the race this year and all information and registration can be found at crestedbutte3p.com. In addition, Simpson has a Facebook CB3P participant forum set up to assist anyone looking to jump in.
“If you’re looking for gear, teammates or advice, that’s where you go,” says Simpson.
Find the gear, find some friends and find the time to get in on the greatest off-season event going.