Grand Junction Off-Road comes back to Grand Valley
WHAT: Grand Junction Off-Road
WHEN: Friday through Sunday, Aug. 29-31
WHERE: Start, finish, and bike and gear expo in downtown Grand Junction
COST: Free to spectate
TOP FIVE PLACES TO SPECTATE
The Grand Junction Off-Road ventures 15-40 miles throughout the Tabaguache trail area.
Flat Rock below Widow-maker Hill — can anyone clean the steep, rutted and rocky hill? Position yourself here and find out.
Overlooking Gunny Loop along Little Park Road — this is a great vantage point to watch riders negotiate the numerous tricky rock ledges.
Slickrock Jeep Play Area — A terrific spot to cheer on riders; they need your shouts of encouragement!
Eagle’s Tail overlook on Andy’s Loop — A scenic spot riding distance from town to watch riders navigate the last few technical parts of the trail on the 40-mile course.
For more information, visit http://www.epicrides.com.
Friday, Aug. 29
From 3 -6 p.m. temporary closures include between First and Main streets, Main and Spruce streets, Broadway Avenue to Rice Street, Monument Road, and Little Park Road.
Saturday, Aug. 30
From 6:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., temporary closures include between First and Main streets, Main and Spruce streets, Broadway Avenue to Rice Street, Monument Road, and Little Park Road.
Sunday, Aug. 31
From 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. temporary closures include between First and Main streets, Main and Spruce streets, Broadway Avenue and Rice Street, Monument Road, and Little Park Road.
Main Street between First and Fifth streets will close from 5 a.m. Friday through 5 p.m. Sunday for the event hub, concerts and expo.
Professional and amateurs; men and women; local and foreign; all racing for a piece of the $20,000 cash prize at the second annual Grand Junction Off-Road. Set for Labor Day weekend, Friday through Sunday, Aug. 29-31, mountain bikers will tackle 15-40 miles of technical trail. Courses start and end on Grand Junction’s historic Main Street, with racers riding throughout the Tabaguache Trail System. For spectators, a bike and gear expo, free concerts and more will be located on Main Street between Third and Sixth streets.
According to GJ Off-Road event director Dave Grossman, over 1,000 spectators and riders from more than 30 states and four countries will visit the valley over the long weekend, generating more than $350,000 in tax revenues.
“It’s like a living postcard for people to get a taste for the Grand Valley,” he added.
Plus, $10 from every racer entry is donated to local charities like Community Food Bank of Grand Junction, Grand Valley Trails Alliance and Colorado Plateau Mountain Biking Trails Association. Sierra Nevada Beer Garden proceeds will benefit the Avalon Theatre Foundation
Racers and spectators are additionally encouraged to bring two canned goods as a donation at the Epic Rides tent found near Fourth and Main streets.
GJ Off-Road’s bike and gear expo opens on Friday, Aug. 29, from noon to 7 p.m. It also runs Saturday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. The expo includes vendor tents from Backcountry.com, Shimano, DT Swiss and more. Shredly, a women’s athletic apparel company from Carbondale, will host a women-only lounge for racers and spectators.
Grossman said there will also be a demo component to test and ride some of the newest bikes. A shuttle service is provided by Desert Rat Tours (a local mountain bike touring company).
Racing starts on Friday, Aug. 29, at 3 p.m. with a 15-mile race. Riders head out from downtown and take Monument Road to the Tabaguache Trailhead. From there, they head up Tabaguache Trail, touching Gunny Loop, and head down Andy’s Loop and Eagle’s Tail. Racers descend back to Monument Road to the finish downtown.
A beer garden is open from 5-9 p.m. at the corner of Fourth and Main streets benefiting Avalon Theater — a historic concert and movie venue in downtown Grand Junction currently under renovations. Beer includes Sierra Nevada and Grand Junction’s own Kannah Creek Brewing Company. Wine is provided by Canyon Wind Cellars in Palisade.
“We’ve expanded the hours so people can enjoy the events later in the day,” Grossman said.
Also on Friday, a klunker criterium is planned (a short, fast-paced race course throughout downtown Grand Junction), which starts at 6 p.m. and races for two laps. Members of the community are encouraged to bring out cruisers or other fun bikes, dress up, decorate the bike and race for free. Registration for the Klunker Crit is set from noon to 5:45 p.m. at the Epic Rides tent.
The professional women fat-tire criterium starts at 6:15 p.m. and the professional men fat-tire criterium starts at 6:50 p.m. Each group races for 20 minutes.
Hot Tomato Pizzeria, Grand Mesa Jeep Club, COPMOBA and more plan to dress up and cheer on racers.
Amateur racers start at 7 a.m. on the 40-mile course. Riders who signed up for the 30-mile course start at 8 a.m. Racers will take the same start as 15-mile racers, but after riding Gunny Loop, they ride up Little Park Road and drop into Twist-n-Shout and Butterknife trails. Racers in the 30-mile event take Butterknife back up, while 40-mile racers take Windmill Road to the Tabaguache Trail. All racers eventually head back down Little Park Road and ride Andy’s Loop and Eagle’s Tail before heading back to the finish in downtown Grand Junction.
Racers to watch include Grand Valley locals Jonah Howe (last year’s 30-mile amateur winner), Tom Eatwell, Steven Goodnight and Sparky Noir.
During and after races, spectators should plan to enjoy the bike and gear expo and free music. Poke Squid, a local reggae band, will perform at 10 a.m. on the Grand Stage, near the corner of Fourth and Main streets. At noon, another local group, The Williams Brothers Band, will take the stage — bringing country, rock and Americana sounds to downtown. Following The Williams Brothers Band, Wild Party, an indie-rock band from Texas, will perform at 2 p.m. Headliners — Jamestown Revival, a duo from Austin, Texas — will perform starting at 6 p.m.
GJ Off-Road events wrap up on Sunday afternoon, but not until professional racers finish the 40-mile race, which starts at 7:30 a.m.
Jennifer Smith, a Gunnison, Colo., resident and professional rider for Stans No Tubes, will race this course for the first time.
“It’s a super fun course with unique terrain,” Smith said. “I hope to have a good race and I’m really excited about it.”
The Shimano Youth Series Kids Ride benefiting the Riverfront Foundation will start at 8:30 a.m. — a four-mile, all-ages bike ride along the Riverfront Trail. Entry to ride is $10 for children, and parents ride free.
All racers who complete the 15-, 30-, or 40-mile courses receive a special finishers wine glass. The 40-mile professional cash purse is split between the top 10 male and female pro riders with first place receiving $4,000 each.
For more information, visit http://www.epicrides.com .
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