Congratulation to Vicki Pelton and Timothy Woudenberg for setting the Oregon N-S record in the 50-59 age-group, 2x mixed team category on an upright bike

Cross State Oregon Record Attempt, North to South

3 May 08

291.4 miles, 17:15 HH:MM, 16.89 mph average

Start:  on Hwy 97, Biggs, OR, near OR/WA state line

End:  on Hwy 97, at OR/CA state line (south of Worden, OR)


Vicki Pelton

Tim Woudenberg


Jim Kern

Rich Kranz


Bob Redmond

Narrative written by rider Vicki Pelton

Last year, when I did my Cross State CA Record Attempt bicycle ride, I had such a wonderful time that I wanted to do another Record Attempt.  But the states here out West are very large so it’s a daunting project.  I finally found that Oregon, north to south, is a bit shy of 300 miles, which is doable for me on a 2 person team.  My riding partner from the CA attempt, Tim Woudenberg, was also eager for another record.  Crew members Jim Kern & Rich Kranz and Official Bob Redmond filled out the team.

You never know what the weather is going to be like on a ride like this and in OR, that can often mean rain.  I wanted to be prepared, so whenever it rained at home, I made sure I was out riding, in order to get rain hardened.

Tim usually rides a recumbent, but we’re not allowed to have mixed bike types for a Record Attempt so he offered to ride an upright bike.  He was already in excellent bicycling shape & just had to get his you-know-what in shape for the different saddle.

The idea was to start at daybreak.  I looked out my window & saw rain.  But it didn’t dampen my spirits at all.  This was nothing compared to my training rides.  I was ready for it.  I got ready for the first pull & saw our Official standing nearby, clock in hand, wearing a black & white stripped Referee’s shirt.  Cracked me up.  He was really into it.  As I pushed off, he pulled out a cow bell he had hiding behind his back & gave it a good shake.  Really made me laugh.

The start of the ride climbs out of the Columbia River gorge.  The road is lined with basalt cliffs so it was a spectacular beginning.  Being a former rock climber, I always appreciate steep cliffs. 

We were doing hour pulls, which works well for Tim & myself.  An hour is long enough to get into the rhythm of things, but short enough to not get too tired.  The route started at about sea level & got up to almost 5000 feet.  There were no big hills, just rollers.  I’m used to steep hills & was wondering how I’d do on rollers.  I found that a 3 percent grade can really slow you down.  It feels sort of flat, but you’re sure not going at flat speeds.  I’m also used to steep, fast descents.  But these descents were so gentle, you still had to pedal.  Hey, what’s with that?  I want to coast downhill & relax for awhile.  But nooooo.

There’s very little traffic in northern Oregon.  During my hour pulls, it was just me & the wilderness.  I enjoyed seeing the scenery change from rock cliffs, to high desert to conifer forests.  My hour of silence would then change to an hour of laughter when I was in the van.  I sure was glad everyone was enjoying themselves.  It was good to see the team changing positions in the van.  Good to do this BEFORE people got tired.

After the rain stopped, my clothes were wet, but rather than change, I wanted to dry them on the heater vents.  I sat in the passenger seat backwards & pulled down my tights to expose my shorts to the heater vents.  For some reason, the team thought this was hilarious.

When Tim was getting ready for his next pull, he found he had a broken spoke.  The crew quickly swapped in the spare wheel.  And where did all this happen?  In Bend, cross the street from the only bike shop we would see in 300 miles!

The crew dashed in to buy a spoke only to find they didn’t have that kind.  After a bit of tinkering, our crew was able to literally braid 2 spokes together & make a fix.  How amazing is that?!

My next pull was to be an hour & 15 minutes, in order to even things out after Tim’s longer than usual pull.  I felt energetic for an hour.  Then I felt fatigued.  Funny how both physically & mentally I was used to exerting myself for just an hour.  I continued on for my last 15 minutes, but I could really feel myself slowing down. 

We had a lot of signs on the van so as people passed, they knew what we were doing.  As one 18-wheeler passed me, he kindly moved completely into the other lane, to make it safer for me.  Then he gave a friendly honk as he passed.  It’s amazing how when a total stranger is there rooting for me, it really puts a smile on my face.

Once it got dark, I felt my energy level drop.  Don’t know if that was from the darkness playing mental tricks on me or rather the fact that I had just ridden 100 miles.  So it was more tiring, but certainly doable.

So now it’s pitch black, just 15 miles from the end, on a Saturday night.  A car full of teenagers whips around us, the kids lean out of the car & yell at me, “Keep going, you’re almost there!!”  They were pumping their fists.  Total strangers, encouraging me in my endeavor.  Made me feel great.

The last couple of miles Tim & I rode together.  I was so jazzed.  I couldn’t stop talking.  Tim & I kept talking about the highlights of the trip as we powered on.  Soon we saw the Poppies sign, “Welcome to California”.  We did it!!

I love being part of a team, working together to accomplish a goal.  The crew was always there when I needed them & the official kept accurate notes.  I’m also appreciative that Tim is willing to show a newbie like me the ropes of long distance cycling.  And best of all was the continuous laughter.  What a way to spend time with friends.