|5/26/2015 1:53:00 PM|
Cyclists stampede to Sisters Country
The cycling gods smiled upon Sunday's running of the Sisters Stampede mountain bike race.
|Elite riders went out fast and hard in the Sisters Stampede. photo by Jerry Baldock|
"Some of the most ideal weather you could ask for," said Casey Meudt. "Rain all week then sun on the day of the race."
Meudt, who owns and operates Blazin Saddles, wasn't on a bike himself this weekend. It's his business' best weekend of the year, so he was busy making hay while the sun shined. On Friday, Blazin Saddles celebrated five years in business with a block party, which was packed with locals and folks arriving early for the race.
Meudt spent his Sunday morning dispensing air and advice to racers, wistfully contemplating all the other cyclists who were out for a run on his home course.
Eric Roth of Portland stopped by for a quick question.
"I ride mostly north," he said. "I don't ride this stuff down here. What tire pressure should I use?"
Meudt set him up, noting that the Peterson Ridge Trail is usually "loose," but that recent rains had firmed it up a bit.
Roth was among many who were running the Sisters Stampede for the first time.
"My wife wanted to ride the McKenzie Pass with her club team and I just figured I'd ride the race 'cause it looks like a lot of fun," he said.
Fun was the order of the day, even for the most serious cyclists. More than 500 riders were on hand for the race, which sold out several days in advance. The event's Forest Service permit limits the number of riders, so folks who traveled to Sisters expecting race-day registration were out of luck. The Sisters Stampede has, over its six years, created a reputation that means it will fill up well before race day every year.
Joel Palanuk, who founded and directed the race until handing off the reins to race director Mike Ripley this year, got to climb on his bike for the 2015 edition and turned in a sixth-overall performance.
Ryan Trebon of Bend won a narrow victory in the men's elite race, and Serena Bishop Gordon took the laurels for the women.
Perhaps the biggest winner from the event is Sisters itself. Many riders were heard to promise to return from points distant, vowing to bring their families back to enjoy the beauty of the country, the hospitality of the town - and a race that has become one of the premier events in the Pacific Northwest.
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