By Mike Maltais
The first annual Winthrop Traverse, a five-event, multi-sport competition celebrating the life cycle of wild salmon and the natural and urban challenges of their journey, spawned a successful debut at Pearrygin Lake State Park last Saturday (Jun 14).
Individuals and groups registered under one of four categories, Chinook (solo), Coho (tandem), CHUM (relay teams) and Company Teams to challenge themselves and one another on a rugged course that highlighted the special recreational amenities of the Methow Valley.
Sam and Alison Naney were race directors for the event hosted by Recreation Northwest.
“The race went quite well for its first year,” Sam Naney said. “We had about the number of sign-ups we had hoped for coming into it, especially with the local participation.”
Some of those local teams included Winthrop Mountain Sports — Rescue Racers, Pine Near Campground and RV Park, Old Schoolhouse Brewery Beer Slingers, Methow Valley Sport Trails Association (MVSTA) and Hungry Like The Wolf.
“The event was meant to be a real showcase of the Methow and its varying locales, and in that way we succeeded,” Naney added.
The Traverse started off with a three-mile run, followed by a 14-mile mountain bike leg, a 3-mile paddle around Pearrygin Lake, a 25-mile road bike stretch and a final 1.2-mile team trek that ended at Mack Lloyd Park in Winthrop.
The course wound through the state park, the Methow Wildlife Area, up the Chewuch valley and through Winthrop itself, “giving competitors an up-close view of how beautiful a recreation spot the Methow can be,” Naney said.
At one point the mountain bikers — with prior permission from Bear Creek Golf Course owners Ash and Linda Court — rode through the main Bear Creek fairway to the surprise of both golfers and riders.
Another biker got an unexpected thrill when he nearly ran over a large rattlesnake on the Rex Derr trail outside Pearrygin, Naney recalled.
Naney thanked all those who helped make the Traverse a reality, including more than 40 community members who donated most of their Saturday to the event, manning aid stations, road crossings and transitions.
The Naneys are relocating to Seattle this week, where Sam will take on the job of leading a new junior development cross country ski team.
“Hopefully someone will take this event on for next year,” Naney said. “I think people really enjoyed it, and it brings a unique flair to the valley’s recreation scene.”
G A L L E R Y