Category 3 10-13 men hit the trail hard on Peterson Ridge during the Sisters Stampede. photo by Jerry Baldock
Category 3 10-13 men hit the trail hard on Peterson Ridge during the Sisters Stampede. photo by Jerry Baldock
Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of cycling season in Sisters.

Estimates are that a thousand riders visited Sisters over the holiday weekend. Five hundred took part in the annual Sisters Stampede on Peterson Ridge. Event officials told The Nugget that entrants from at least nine states registered for this year’s ride. A cyclist from New Jersey traveled the farthest and a rider from Tucson made the 1,250-mile journey to compete in one of two timed events — the short course (14 miles) and the long course (25 miles).

Close to an equal number appear to have made the McKenzie Pass ride on Highway 242, even though the road remains closed nine miles from town. While cars could not get past the snow gate, cyclists navigated their way around it and did in large numbers. On two different occasions The Nugget observed between 40 and 50 eastbound bikes in a one-hour period, most having started at McKenzie Bridge.

Sunday morning saw groups gather in town for an out-and-back ride on the iconic byway. Bikers report that there are still patches of snow to the side of the road.

“Landslide debris and fallen trees are minor obstacles that increase the thrill,” said Molly Samuels from Eugene.

She and her partner, Brian Wells, make the trip every year and cite the Sisters atmosphere for why they choose that course.

They met riders Leanne Jacobs and Sean Arden, both from Woodburn, at the Dee Wright Observatory and they all joined up for the downhill “adrenaline run,” as Arden delighted in telling. Jacobs said that at least 30 riders were mingling at the observatory’s parking lot exchanging stories, tips, and map checks.

Rick Goldman and five of his riding buddies made the trip to Sisters from Beaverton for the McKenzie ride. It’s an annual affair.

“Sisters is our tune-up ride for the season,” he said, adding, “The ride is great and the coffee and beer are even better.”

It was impossible to be in town for the long weekend without encountering cyclists. Creekside Campground was home to several dozen bikes including those of a family of five – ages 8 to 35 — from Portland cruising the side streets with two well-mannered dogs leashed to the lead bike. As with others with whom The Nugget spoke, this was an annual family camping/biking event.

Mike Allen of Spokane eagerly awaited the start of the Stampede long course.

“The weather could not be better,” Allen said — though he was wondering what the dusty trails would do to times.

“I did a trial run Friday and I don’t remember the sandy conditions I’m seeing compared to past year’s,” he observed.

“I’d never miss the Stampede with the chance to get to Sisters,” said Meghan Duval from Sandy Point, Idaho. “I bring two bikes, one for Peterson and one to just ride around town and take in the scene and connect with my friends after the run.”

The only complaint anybody expressed was the wait for food at the food court where long lines of hungry, thirsty cyclists were adding to the local economy.

Not all cyclists were pedaling. The Nugget counted upwards of 45 motorcycles on Sunday, dispersed around the shopping and dining streets. All were in showroom condition even as some were vintage 1970s and ’80s models. Astride the chrome and leather was an eclectic mix of riders taking in the near-perfect weather with a mix of traditional holiday eats and drinks.

Mitch Oberman of the riding club Bike Knights from Wenatchee, Washington, spoke for his group of nine classic Triumph riders. “We were running 97 from Yakima to Weed (California) and when we stopped in Madras everybody told us, ‘You gotta detour to Sisters,’ and we did, and darned glad we found you. Quite a place you got yourselves here.”

Sisters Stampede Results

Top three finishers:

Long Course — 25 MILES

Women:

1. Emma Maaranen, Bend — 1:49:47

2. Paige Edwards, Camas, Washington — 1:51:18

3. Serena Gordon, Bend — 1:51:21

Men:

1. Cody Peterson, Bend — 1:35:10

2. Ian Brown, Bend — 1:36:10

3. Carl Decker, Bend 1:36:23



Top three finishers:

Short Course — 14 miles

Women:

1. Stella Scholtz, Winthrop, Washington — 58:13:00

2. Tessa Beebe, Boise, Idaho — 58:15:00

3. Emily Klinger, Vancouver, Washington — 59:23:00

Men:

1. Sean Garcia, San Jose, California — 52:12:00

2. Mike Arrera, Bend — 52:16

3. Nicholas Woodward,

Portland — 54:11