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Columbia Pedal & Paddle (7/13): 23 bike-to-swim transitions in 45 miles
CREATED: 06/27/14 by newchurch REPLIES: 2
newchurch's ravatar newchurch    JOINED: 1/8/13    POSTS: 22
Columbia Pedal & Paddle (7/13): 23 bike-to-swim transitions in 45 miles
POSTED: 6/27/14 9:35 AM

Have you done the annual Columbia Pedal & Paddle event? Would you recommend it? The event consists of a 45 mile ride among 23 outdoor pools in Columbia, MD. Ride->swim lap->transition-to-bike->ride to new pool...repeat 22x. They're in their 9th year, but there isn't a lot of information posted on the event page... I'd love to hear from someone that has done the ride. Is it well organized? What's the vibe? It sounds like a fun way to get in a lot of transition practice.<clickid=06_242834497_878732c6-7446-4e09-9cef-cbc543f35281<cmp=194590

markhakd's ravatar markhakd    JOINED: 10/8/09    POSTS: 231
RE: Columbia Pedal & Paddle (7/13): 23 bike-to-swim transitions in 45 miles
POSTED: 6/30/14 6:16 PM

Neat! Thanks for finding this.

I also couldn't find much information online. However, I did locate this article, which had some helpful info about last year's event:

Full text is below. If anyone decides to do it, let me know! I'm thinking about it.


I recently wrote about the benefits of training on one’s home turf. But continuously running or cycling on the same roads can lead to a training rut.

So, to keep things interesting during my training for Ironman Arizona, I’ve added a few events to my calendar to spice things up.

Two weeks ago, instead of heading out for a typical training ride, I hopped into my car and drove to the 8th Annual Donna Sunderdick Columbia Pedal & Paddle, a non-competitive, tax-deductible event billed as a 45-mile bike ride through the villages of Columbia to all 23 Columbia Association Outdoor pools with riders swimming a lap in each pool. Proceeds from the event benefitted the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults.

Though I’ve lived in Maryland most of my life, Columbia remains a bit of a mystery to me. With its network of villages and community centers, it’s as if the bulk of the city is hidden in plain sight. Pedal & Paddle was sure to be a great way to explore the area and discover the secret restaurants and shops concealed within.

With 117 turns through a maze of roads and neighborhoods, the cue sheet for the ride was as twisted as a bowl of spaghetti. And, though the roads were clearly marked, there were no road closures to limit traffic or course marshals to provide direction. We were on our own.

The race organizers encouraged riders to use the buddy system or ride in groups. I’d signed up solo but was happy to discover that a high school acquaintance had registered as well. We met at the venue and tackled the course together, glancing at the cue sheet after each pool and making a mental note of the upcoming segment: “Left, left, right, left, right,” became our typical mantra.

A sag wagon and two rest stops, stocked with water, bananas, oranges, Fig Newtons, Oreos, Rice Krispies Treats, granola bars, and crackers were provided.

At several pools, slipping down water slides and leaping off diving boards was “mandatory,” and staying alert for vehicular traffic and fellow cyclists while navigating the course proved a thorough workout for my mind as well as my body. All the extra transition practice was an additional bonus.

In all, I logged 45 miles of cycling, 1,300 yards of swimming and 23 pool push-ups in about five hours, and it was one of the most enjoyable and rewarding training days I’ve ever experienced.

The camaraderie among the participants and the relaxed atmosphere was refreshing, as was adopting a minimalist attitude toward gear — constantly switching from swim to bike rendered socks, cycling gloves, watches and swim caps unnecessary beasts of burden and it was surprisingly liberating to leave them behind.

I have no idea what the 2014 race season will bring, but one thing is certain: the 9th Annual Donna Sunderdick Columbia Pedal & Paddle is guaranteed to be on my training schedule.

Gandalf67's ravatar Gandalf67    JOINED: 1/11/14    POSTS: 23
RE: Columbia Pedal & Paddle (7/13): 23 bike-to-swim transitions in 45 miles
POSTED: 7/01/14 8:18 PM

I have a DC Tri friend who did this last year and loved it. We've talked to a few NTP friends and several folks are considering doing this with us. The price seems a wee bit steep ($ 55), but a good bit of it seems to go to charity.

My only issue is that neither of the registration links seemed to work from my laptop... gonna try from my work computer tomorrow.

- Hernando

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