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The 2nd annual River 2 Ridge Relay is back on September 16, 2018 (Salem to Silverton)

The 2nd annual River 2 Ridge Relay, by Breakaway Promotions, is back to take teams and individuals from downtown Salem to Silver Creek State Falls. This multi-sport event consists of watercraft navigation (via kayak, SUP, or other means, cycle, and trail run. Participants will navigate the Willamette River, traversing quiet Marion County farmland, and running behind waterfalls at Silver Creek Falls. Check out the details on each leg here.

It’s pretty hard to change a paddle route course, and this year’s event is the same as last year – a 6.2 mile navigation downstream in the Willamette River that starts at the Wallace Marine Park boat ramp and finishes up at Spongs Landing. There are some really minor rapids, but nothing to be worried about, even for beginners. Here’s a little bit from last year’s event:

From kayaks to SUP’s to Outrigger canoes, the river was littered with vessels. We stopped at Keizer Rapids boat launch area to offer support (about 4 miles into the 6+ mile course) and was surprised to see him come along so quickly. In retrospect, he stated that while he was familiar with that part of the course and where the rapids and currents flowed, he was less familiar with the final few miles. He came cruising into Spongs Landing and completed his handoff, already saying that if (when?) we do this again, he will be better prepared in knowing where to position his kayak for optimal speed.

The bike section is cut down by about 10% this year, clocking in at just over 40 miles. The same scenery will be around – wheat and hop fields, hazelnut orchards, and typically solid views of the Cascades. There are quite a few turns, so it’s highly recommended to do some work on committing the route to memory beforehand and being alert out on the course.

The run course is also the same as last year – and that’s a good thing. I mean, one of the best trails in the state to run is on the Trail of Ten Falls within Silver Creek Falls State Park. It runs in a counter-clockwise loop and clocks in at just under 6 miles. There are obviously some rolling hills and at least one solid climb to get out of the gorge area, but it’s very manageable. The final stretch to the finish was (and will be) the biggest challenge. Here’s a little bit from last year’s event:

Being as I have run numerous races in Silver Falls State Park, I was pretty aware of what lied ahead. I started with a decent climb along the Rim Trail, which was followed by some rolling hills over the next few miles. There was an aid station at the North Falls area and then I headed behind the falls (always a fun experience, no matter how many times you have done it), and made the trek down into the canyon.

The most challenging part was the switchback climb out of the canyon and back on the Rim Trail. I walked a bit given the continuous climb, but overall felt that I was running more than walking overall – a definite success in this section.  The rain picked-up a bit on my journey, but hadn’t reached the point where the course was sloppy or unmanageable.

We ended up finishing as the 3rd Male relay team and received a logo pint glass and a bottle of beer – Capitol IPA – a collaboration between all of Salem’s breweries (read my review of this beer here). I promptly filled that glass with some beer from Salem Ale Works and had some delicious post-race food as well. Even with the rain coming down hard, it was a successful and extremely fun day.

If you are on the fence about this because you don’t have the best equipment available, fear not! The race has a partnership with some great local companies for kayak and bike equipment rentals. If you come down to Riverfront Park in the afternoon of Saturday, September 15th, there will be bikes and vessels available to try out.

Clearly, this event was one that we really enjoyed last year and we are eager to get the team back together and give it another go this year. Hope to see you out there!

River 2 Ridge Relay (Salem to Silverton)

When: Sunday, September 16th at 9a

Other Key Times:

Packet Pick Up – 9/15

  • Travel Salem Office
  • 10am till 4pm

Packet Pick Up – 9/16

  • Riverfront City Park
  • 630-830am

Drop Offs – 9/16

  • Bike Drop OffSpongs Landing Park
    • 6:30am – 8:30am
  • Kayak Drop OffWallace Marine Park
    • 6:30am – 9am
  • Run Drop OffSilver Falls State Park
    • 6am – 8am

Shuttle Times back to Riverfront Park (you and your bike)

  • 3pm
  • 5pm
  • 6pm


  • Start at Riverfront Park in Salem
  • Kayak entry – Wallace Marine Park in West Salem
  • Kayak to Bike Transition – Spongs Landing in Keizer
  • Bike to Run Transition – Silver Creek State Park
  • Finish at Silver Creek State Park

Register: Online here; $120/individual, $200/team

All registrations include race tech shirt, gear bag, and post-race lunch and beverage

About Matt Rasmussen (1532 Articles)
Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching the Olympics, sampling craft beers, and all things Canada (he was born there). Matt was raised as a baseball player and officially transitioned over to running in 2010. Matt joined the Run Oregon team in October 2011, and since then he has spearheaded the blog’s efforts to cover product reviews, news about businesses related to running, and running events in the Willamette Valley.

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