Inaugural Off-Road bike race comes to town | PostIndependent.com

Inaugural Off-Road bike race comes to town

Caitlin Row
crow@gjfreepress.com

MANY PRO RIDERS EXPECTED TO COMPETE

Women’s roster: Monique “Pua” Mata (Team Sho-Air, Cannondale), Teal Stetson Lee (Luna, Orbea, Shimano), and Chloe Woodruff (Crank Brothers, Scott Sports, Momentum Endurance), Stan’s Notubes’ Amanda Carey, and Colorado’s Deidre York (Gear Movement, Point 6, CarboRocket).

Men’s roster: Kris Sneddon (Kona Bikes, SRAM, Maxxis Tires), Carl Decker (Giant Bicycles), Ben Sonntag (Cannondale, Shimano Cycling), Spencer Paxton (Kona Bikes), and Rotem Ishay (Jamis).

SOURCE: Epic Rides

New this Labor Day weekend, Epic Rides — along with the Grand Junction Visitor & Convention Bureau (GJVCB) — will host “three days of riding, racing and shenanigans” Friday through Sunday, Aug. 30 through Sept. 1, with the inaugural Grand Junction Off-Road bike race and community concert.

“Guests are welcome to attend the grand celebration, watch pro riders exhibit stunning athleticism and simply enjoy the last weekend of the summer event season!” a GJVCB news release said.

A variety of mountain bike events and racing are scheduled for all three days, along with free music on downtown’s Main Street Saturday afternoon and into the evening. Then Sunday, pro racers will vie for a win and a hefty payout.

Plus, fundraising during this three-day event will notably benefit both the Grand Junction Food Bank and the Avalon Cornerstone Project.

“Mountain bikes will be the vehicle of choice all weekend, with a pro-level fat tire criterium and a beginner level 15 Grand fun ride (one Grand = one mile) on Friday evening along with a industry vendor and wellness expo,” an Off-Road event news release said. “Saturday is packed with action from sunup to sundown and beyond, featuring the 30 and 40 Grand distances amidst a crowd of more than 10,000 cheering spectators. Sunday the Pro male and female main events roll out of town with a shotgun blast in a dash for the $20,000 cash purse.”

Traditionally, Labor Day’s long holiday weekend has been slow in terms of visitors to the Grand Valley. That’s why the GJVCB joined forces with Epic Rides ­— a bike-focused event company — to host both a mountain bike race (the majority of which will be located at Grand Junction’s Lunch Loops trail area) and a downtown festival.

“We are all heavily vested in this and working hard for its success,” GJVCB spokeswoman Mistalynn Meyeraan said. “Our cap is 600 for racers, and about half that have registered for the race right now. For pro riders, they’re hoping to have about 100 professional riders and that registration is already half full.”

Registration for the event is still open.

“The course is not just for the professional mountain biker, but rather accessible to everyone and a perfect venue for all levels of riding,” a news release noted. “The 15-Grand (1 Grand = 1 mile) welcomes participants into the event with a gentle climb to the entrance of the trail system, a way to warm up the legs and cycle off the butterflies. Aspects of the course will provide participants with a thrilling Star Wars-like experience while bobbing and weaving through the many beautiful and diverse sections of the course; from doubletrack to singletrack, their heart will pump, and faces will light up with pride that they completed the beginner-friendly course.”

According to Meyeraan, about 20 percent of the pro riders currently registered are women, likely because the race offers equal purses for pro winners — $20,000 will be split evenly between the male and female Off-Road leaders.

“There are lots of Coloradoans registered, which is great to see,” she added, “and a lot of riders will be coming from out of town. … Right now 16 states are represented in registration numbers for amateurs and 20 states represented in the pro category so far.”

Upwards of 2,000 people are expected to participate in some aspect of the Grand Junction Off-Road, organizers said.

MUSIC DOWNTOWN, TOO

The alternative rock band, Cracker, is set to headline the free music portion of the event Saturday, Aug. 31, on Main Street in downtown Grand Junction as part of the Off-Road bike event. They will take the main stage at 6 p.m.

“Perfectly mixing rock, punk, alternative country, psychedelia and blues, Cracker is widely known for helping bring alternative rock into the mainstream,” a news release said.

Local band Jack+Jill will kick off downtown music at noon. Then, The Williams Brothers Band will play at 2 p.m.

Main Street is also considered to be the “event hub, where a three-day long festival will welcome the returning riders with great surroundings, libations and noteworthy cuisine.”

For more information about music, racing and road closures, visit http://www.epicrides. The Free Press will also list road closures online at http://www.gjfreepress.com as the event nears.

Volunteers for this weekend-long event are also needed. To help out, email Biz Collins at biz@grandjunctionoffroadvolunteers.com or visit http://www.epicrides.com.


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