Ride the Rockies returns to Colorado’s Grand Valley this weekend | PostIndependent.com

Ride the Rockies returns to Colorado’s Grand Valley this weekend

Brittany Markert
bmarkert@gjfreepress.com
Ride the Rockies cyclists follow a course through a few of southern Colorado's signature attractions last summer, including the Colorado National Monument. Race organizers are hoping to route the ride through Aspen this summer.
Grand Junction Free Press file |

If there is a ride on any cyclist’s list, it’s to complete the Ride the Rockies week-long trek across Colorado. This year’s event will bring 2,000 riders to the area, including over Colorado National Monument, Fruita, Palisade and over the Grand Mesa. This will be the sixth time Ride the Rockies has visited Grand Junction, with the last being in 2010.

“It’s an honor to welcome back Ride the Rockies cyclist,” said Mistalynn Meyeraan, Grand Junction Visitor and Convention Bureau’s spokesperson. “Many have visited the area before; and yet, it may be the first time for some riders to visit the Grand Valley. By getting a taste of the area through this event, our hope is that they return for another visit or perhaps another cycling event.”

ABOUT THE RIDE

To kick off the event, an expo will be held at Colorado Mesa University (1100 North Ave., Grand Junction) on Saturday, June 13, from noon to 9 p.m. Music will play throughout the day including Merlin & The Scones and The Navigators. At 4:30 p.m. a $5,000 check will be presented to local nonprofit, Imagination Library. A nonprofit from each host town receives a $5,000 check.

A bike expo will also be open from noon to 7 p.m., including vendors like Axel Project, DT Swiss, and SCOTT Bicycles at CMU.

Cyclists will enjoy a night of camping at Colorado Mesa University or in one of 700 hotel rooms booked then head out from CMU on Sunday, June 14, starting at 7:30 a.m. Grand Junction City Councilman Rick Taggart will welcome the event participants with the opening ceremony at CMU.

Riders will head over the Colorado National Monument with a stop at Fruita’s super aid station, at Civic Center Park (325 E. Aspen Ave., Fruita). Entertainment will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. with The Williams Brothers Band playing from noon to 2 p.m. Folks are encouraged to visit the aid station and enjoy lunch or a beer with the riders.

According to event organizers, cyclists will finish 47 miles on the first day and almost 3,000 feet of climbing. At the end of the route, a festival will be held between the Third and Fourth blocks of Main Street in downtown Grand Junction. Music will be played by Stray Grass and Tony Rosario from 4-8 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

Then on Monday, June 15, riders will depart from CMU utilizing the Colorado Riverfront Trail, biking through Palisade’s fruit and wine byway and heading over the Grand Mesa, ending in Hotchkiss, Colo. The total route will be 96 miles with more than 8,500 feet of climbing.

LOTS OF VISITORS EXPECTED

Ride the Rockies will bring more than 1,000 staff members and volunteers to Colorado’s Grand Valley, with more than 80 local volunteers expected as well. Organizers expect a $500,000 boost to Mesa County’s economy during its duration.

“This is the demographic of people that will come back to the area,” said Kristin Lynch, Grand Junction Visitor and Convention Bureau’s event coordinator. “They will come back to enjoy the area again.”

Lynch also noted that many Ride the Rockies visitors will have time explore Palisade, Fruita and Grand Junction outside of the race course.

Roads will remain open throughout the course with some police monitoring.

Ride the Rockies will also visit Gunnison, Crested Butte, Salida, Canon City and Westcliffe in Colorado.

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


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