The Grand Junction Off-Road – Racing For Trailbikers Is Here At Last!
It’s time again for the Grand Junction Off-Road, a race that’s favored by hardcore racers, and weekend warriors alike. The race is designed to bring racing back to its roots, and keep the “mountain” in “mountain biking.” The technical and rugged nature of Epic Rides Off-Road Series courses like the “Grand” favor bikes with suspension and meaty tires allowing today’s trail bikes to be the bike of choice, and the party atmosphere make it feel like a festival that happens to have a sweet bike race attached to it. Whether you’re gunning for the podium, just out for a good time on the trail with some riding buddies, or are looking for an excuse to take a riding trip to some of Colorado’s finest singletracks, the Grand Junction Off-Road is worth a serious look. The race is scheduled to go off May 29th – 31st, and registration spots are still available.
The production quality of the event, destination worthiness of the trails and Grand Junction’s Main St./outdoor enthusiast culture make the event a legitimate consideration for the weekend warrior that’s interested in checking out only 1 or 2 mountain bike event’s each year, and less inclined to participate in an entire series.
Here are the quick details:
– Choose from 3 course distances to choose from; 15, 30 or 40 Grand (1 Grand = 1 mile)
– The course is composed of high quality trails in the Lunch Loops and beyond that are what put Grand Junction on the international mountain bike destination “map”
– The venue is centered in downtown Grand Junction allowing non-cycling guests to stay comfortably in nearby hotels and enjoy entertainment all based in the event ‘hub’
– The event experience from arrival to departure is intended to provide both the participant and general attendees an experience beyond anything they have grown to expect from other like events
Shakey Graves is the music festival headliner – as of May 14th it appears he’s up for a couple of awards including “Album of the Year” and “Emerging Artist of the Year”… Bottom line, people are going to dig a free show by him post ride.
With so much happening in Grand Junction the weekend of May 29-31, both participants and spectators of the 3rd Annual Grand Junction Off-Road p/b U.S. Bank will find their biggest challenge to be taking part in all the festivities. Held in conjunction this year with the Grand Junction Art + Music Festival, the Grand will benefit from a significantly expanded music lineup of more than 20 live acts – all of them completely free of charge – over four days and four stages along a four block-long section of Main Street designated as the Sierra Nevada Beer and Wine Garden. The public will also get to experience one of the fastest-growing electric folk artists in the country, Austin, Texas-based event headliner, Shakey Graves.
To accompany the full weekend of free live music, a highly engaging Bike and Gear Expo will showcase more than 40 industry vendors, the spectator-favorite Clunker Criterium and professional men’s and women’s Fat Tire Criteriums will be held on Friday evening, a full day of amateur cross country mountain bike rides on Saturday including 30 or 40 mile distance options, and capping off the weekend, the men’s and women’s Pro Cross-Country events along with the Shimano Youth Series Kids Fun Ride on Sunday. And thanks to the expanded Sierra Nevada Beer and Wine Garden, all of it can be experienced while strolling along with a favorite beverage in hand.
The Grand Junction Off-Road p/b U.S. Bank and the Art + Music Festival being held together represents a significant cooperation between the City of Grand Junction, Mesa County and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Grand Junction Field Office. By working together, these agencies are helping drive a significant infusion of tourism dollars into the local economy, with nearly 45 percent being out-of-state attendees visiting from 20 different states throughout the USA, and beyond. Some of these folks are visiting Grand Junction for the first time, and with such community support of the Grand, it surely won’t be their last.
Part of what attracts so many visitors to the Grand Valley is the region’s world-class multi-use trail infrastructure. The Grand Junction Off-Road p/b U.S. Bank offers participants the choice of three fun and challenging distances: 15 Grand, 30 Grand and 40 Grand (1 Grand = 1 Mile). With trails including the Lunch Loops, Tabeguache, Butterknife, Twist ‘n Shout, Andy’s Loop and more, those who know the names know these trails deliver among the highest quality, most scenic and legitimate riding experiences anywhere in America. And with well-marked courses, trained medical staff, well-stocked aid stations and detailed maps, Grand participants get a quality backcountry experience without the risk of being stuck out on their own.
All registrants will receive an Official event T-shirt, water bottle, poster and goodie bag (estimated value of $75). And of course, the custom finisher’s stemless wine glass for all finishers who successfully complete the distance they sign up for. All top five finishers in the 30 and 40 Grand categories will also receive a custom etched bottle of wine from nearby Canyon Wind Cellars.
The Grand Junction Off-Road p/b U.S. Bank is the second in the expanding Epic Rides Off-Road Series, with a total of $60,000 in Pro cash winnings up for grabs between the Grand and the Whiskey Off-Road in Prescott, Ariz.
“With a new May date, expanded live music acts, a bigger beer garden and a highly engaging expo, the Grand is growing in attendance and gaining support from the local community,” said Epic Rides President, Todd Sadow. “It’s an exciting time for the Grand, and we hope to see more new faces strolling Main Street on May 29-31.”
All About The Racecourse:
Whether a seasoned veteran or someone completely new to the sport of mountain biking, the Grand Junction Off-Road p/b U.S. Bank offers an unforgettable riding experience for all ages and skill levels. Winding its way over slickrock and red soil through breathtaking canyons while delivering majestic views of the Gunnison River and the Colorado National Monument, the Grand is as picturesque as it is challenging. Featuring three distances: 15 Grand, 30 Grand and 40 Grand (1 Grand = 1 Mile), the Grand Junction Off-Road p/b U.S. Bank offers a legitimate backcountry mountain biking experience to anyone looking for a fun challenge.
With the heightened cooperation of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Grand Junction Field Office and the hardworking dedication of Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association (COPMOBA), the Grand courses feature some of the finest trails in the west including names like the Lunch Loops, Tabeguache, Andy’s Trail, Butterknife, Twist ‘n Shout, Magellan, Eagle’s Tail and more. And to help push those ultra-competitive riders above and beyond, KMC Chain will be holding a King and Kueen of the Mountain Challenge, rewarding the fastest male and female to climb a predetermined section in the 30 and 40 Grand courses.
There’s no doubt that each Grand distance is a challenging ride filled with technical features and big climbs. But to put matters in perspective, last summer two 14-year-old girls and their mother all successfully rode the 15 Grand course, while having an unforgettable time. What’s more, the girls had only started riding mountain bikes a couple months before the event.
“We love Grand Junction because it reminds us of what a technical and fun challenge really looks like,” said the 14-year-old Alex and Drew Shumaker, who recently finished second and third in the 18-and-under Girls category at the Whiskey Off-Road in Prescott, Ariz.
For those kids who might still be a little too young to tackle the adult rides, a Shimano Youth Series Kids Ride on Sunday morning after the Pro Men and Women sendoff is the perfect choice. Starting and finishing on Main Street in downtown Grand Junction, the 4 Grand Kids Fun Ride runs along the scenic Riverfront Trail on the banks of the mighty Colorado River while spectators cheer them on. The 1 Grand is terrific for push bikes and trikes, running through the Bike and Gear Expo. Entry is $10 with all proceeds going to the Riverfront Foundation, and parents are highly encouraged to ride with their kids for free.
As an interesting aside, current registration for the 40 Grand event is outpacing the 30 Grand by 25 percent, a departure from the Grand’s sister event, the Whiskey Off-Road, which sees as much as 20 percent more participation in the shorter 30 Proof event as compared to the 50 Proof.
“These numbers show that participants want the full backcountry riding experience at the Grand,” said Epic Rides President, Todd Sadow. “It’s awesome to see people pushing themselves to sample all the first rate singletrack the 40 Grand delivers. It’s a challenge, but one that’s entirely attainable thanks to well-stock aid stations, trained medical staff, well-marked courses and detailed maps. These are carefully curated trails in an atmosphere resembling a marked route on some of the finest mountain biking terrain in the west.”
Participants can find detailed maps of each course at: