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First Grand Junction Off-Road delivered epic mountain biking

September 3, 2013
Melissa Ross gets a personalized water break 29 miles into the Grand Junction Off-Road pro race

Melissa Ross gets a personalized water break 29 miles into the Grand Junction Off-Road pro race

[updated 10/3/2013]

The inaugural Epic Rides Grand Junction Off-Road race, an event fashioned after the Whiskey Off-Road in Arizona, took place over Labor Day weekend and attracted nearly 300 mountain bikers to western Colorado trails just southeast of the Colorado National Monument.

On Friday and Saturday at least 222 amateurs tackled 15, 30, and 40 mile courses consisting of single-track and slick rock while Troy Wells (Clif Bar) and Chloe Woodruff (Crankbrothers) won the top prizes in the pro fat tire criterium.

A 70 degree Fahrenheit temperature on Grand Junction’s Main Street greeted the women and men starting the 40 mile pro course on Sunday morning. Scheduled riders included 24 women and 36 men. By the pre-noon finish time the temperature rose into the low 80’s downtown, but in the unshaded gray and rose-colored sandstone canyons where riders faced terrain that Amy Dombroski (Young Telenet Fidea) said required constant focus, temperatures ran higher.

Dombroski felt the heat starting with the first climb a few miles out of town. By the top of the seven mile climb past mid-way through the race, another rider’s first words were, “I am on fire.” Pua Mata (Sho-Air) and Ben Sonntag (Cannondale) won the women’s and men’s pro races. Dombroski placed fourth. Full results are posted on the Epic Rides website.

This first-time competition in an area locals have long known for great trails achieved success by more than the numbers. Fifth-place men’s finisher Chris Baddick (The Gear Movement) explained how: “This is what mountain biking should be,” he said.

The Grand Valley Trails Alliance, an organization that works to bring together all kinds of trail users, played an important role in the conception and launch of this event.

Gallery (in progress)

From → Mountain Biking

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