Go Play: Grand Junction’s Tour of the Valley on Sept. 6 changes course | PostIndependent.com

Go Play: Grand Junction’s Tour of the Valley on Sept. 6 changes course

Brittany Markert
A group of riders from the Singletrack & Skinny Tire Sisters of Western Colorado pose for a quick photo during 2013's Tour of the Valley in Palisade. Tour of the Valley's 100-mile riders will venture over to Palisade again after completing the Colorado National Monument.
Submitted photo |


WHAT: Community Hospital’s 26th annual Tour of the Valley

WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 6

WHERE: Start/Finish at Canyon View Medical Plaza (2373 G Road, Grand Junction)

COST: $65 for 30-mile option, $75 for 55- and 100-mile option

INFO: http://www.yourcommunityhospital.com


Grand Valley’s cycling community spreads from Palisade to Fruita, with a variety of top-tier options spanning mountain biking and road cycling.


Lunch Loops’ Butterknife Trail in Grand Junction is well loved for its technical and challenging moments. The six-mile trail is considered expert.

The long, downhill section begins from Twist-N-Shout. The climb out is on a double jeep track so it’s not technical, but it’s a grunt to get up (especially if you drink too much water). Remember to pack water, a snack and enjoy the views.


Up for more after riding dozens of miles the day before? Take a cool-down ride over the Highline Lake State Park.

This moderate ride around Highline Lake is 30 miles round trip from Fruita. It goes through the agriculture country of the Grand Valley and brings you to Highline Lake State Park, which features big, grassy areas, a large lake filled with trout, bass and other fish, and views of the Bookcliffs and the Colorado National Monument. This ride has rolling hills and it’s a nice way to get miles in.

Directions: Start at Little Salt Wash Park, but head south on 18 Road. Turn left on E. Ottley Road. It may be a good idea to stop by City Market to grab some snacks for when you arrive at Highline Lake for a small picnic. Then turn right on 17 Road and head north. Continue until you reach P Road, turn right on 16 Road, then turn left on Q Road. Follow Q until you reach 12 1/2 Road. Turn right, left on Q 1/2, left on R Road, right onto 12 Road, and right again on 11 8/10 Road. You will be at Highline Lake. Retrace your route back to Fruita for a good out and back.

To read more about rides not to miss in the Grand Valley, pick up the 2014 Cycling Guide.

After two decades, Grand Junction’s Tour of the Valley is changing course, and venue. This year’s bike event is set for Saturday, Sept. 6, offering 30-, 55-, and 100-mile (also called a century) route options.

The start and finish is planned for Community Hospital’s new Canyon View Medical Plaza (2373 G Road, Grand Junction). In previous years, cyclists had the option to ride in a 55-, 75- or 100-mile course, with only the 100-mile course heading over the Colorado National Monument. This year, the 55- and 100-mile options will both head over the monument.

“We wanted to use it as an opportunity to feature the facility and what is offered out there,” Community Hospital communications director Karen Martsolf said, who expects to host approximately 400 cyclists at this year’s fundraiser.

Registration costs are $75 for the 55- and 100-mile options, and $65 for the 30-mile option. The entry fee includes an athletic shirt, stocked rest stops throughout the course, a post-ride meal and more.

According to Martsolf, the 30-mile ride heads to Fruita, taking farm roads to and from the medical plaza, creating a welcoming environment for “active families.” The 55-mile route heads to Fruita, and continues over Colorado National Monument, passing by Western Colorado Botanical Gardens before taking the Riverfront Trail back to the medical plaza. Century riders will do the same route as the 55-mile riders, but will continue on to Palisade’s Fruit and Wine Byway, looping back to the finish.

The change from the typical Sunday ride to a Saturday ride is to accommodate out-of-town riders, Martsolf added.

Tour of the Valley is also a pay-it-forward event as most funds raised goes to local organizations, including Colorado Mesa University’s cycling team and Colorado Plateau Mountain Biking Trails Association.

“Over the course of several years, Community Hospital was able to donate $10,000 to COPMOBA from the proceeds,” Martsolf said.

Once riders complete the ride, Canyon View Medical Plaza will host an after-party in the parking lot, including barbecue, Kannah Creek Brewing Company beer (for those of age), and live music by JACK+JILL.

For more information, visit http://www.yourcommunityhospital.com.

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