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home : sports & recreation : sports & recreation July 24, 2017

5/30/2017 6:44:00 PM
Cyclists stampede over trail
Jade Robinson led off the Sisters Stampede Mountain Bike Race on Sunday, May 28. Some 500 riders participated in the event, which has become Sisters’ signature summer kickoff event. photo by Jerry Baldock
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Jade Robinson led off the Sisters Stampede Mountain Bike Race on Sunday, May 28. Some 500 riders participated in the event, which has become Sisters’ signature summer kickoff event. photo by Jerry Baldock

By Jim Cornelius
News Editor

"Dusty, dusty, dusty!"

That's how Dyut Fetrow described conditions on the Peterson Ridge Trail as riders headed out to race in the annual Sisters Stampede.

Fetrow was working at the Blazin Saddles tent near the starting line, making last-minute adjustments on mountain bikes as they prepared to hit the course. Casey Meudt, proprietor of Blazin Saddles, concurred with Fetrow's assessment. He noted that the track had been nicely packed and firm after the long and wet winter and spring, but a spate of hot, dry weather had made things sandy.

That required some adjustments, at least for elite riders, who lowered tire pressure to get a little more traction in soft turns. Sandy conditions also make for more challenges in passing riders than a firmer surface.

"It makes for a different race, for sure," Meudt said.

And that's all part of the fun. It's cross-country mountain bike racing, after all - it's about getting out on the dirt with fat tires, whether it's muddy or dusty or... whatever. The challenges of the course - including a little grit in the teeth - are integral to the experience.

Some 500 riders of all ages turned out to test their mettle against the 26-mile course on the Peterson Ridge Trail network. There was a category for just about everybody, from youths as young as 10 years old to seniors.

Seventy-five-year-old Jack Addison rode the Stampede as his first race.

A military veteran and pilot, Addison said, "I was representing the veterans, honoring the fallen soldiers for Memorial Day."

He was proud to note that, in the novice 40-plus category, he beat all the other 60+ riders.

"It was more exhausting than I thought," he acknowledged.

He is, however, hooked.

"My goal is set for next year," he said. "Get under an hour."

The Sisters Stampede has become one of Sisters' signature events and a kick-off to the summer season. Riders came in for the whole weekend and were easy to spot in local restaurants and enjoying live music at Sisters venues. And most of them will come back next year to enjoy the grit and grind of the trail - and the amenities of a welcoming community.

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