When the Grand Junction Off-Road opened on May 29, more than 500 professional and amateur riders from five countries and 30 states descended on Western Colorado’s Grand Valley to compete in an event that, after only three years, has already gained a solid reputation as one of the most technically difficult races on the pro circuit. That reputation, along with the trails and the $30,000, equal-payout prize purse it was built on, is pulling more and more professional cyclists from around the world and enticing them to come to Grand Junction–which is exactly what Todd Sadow, president of Epic Rides, hoped would happen when he decided to expand his well-respected series of mountain bike races to include an event here.
“We’re seeing a trend in the international mountain biking community where professional riders are turning down opportunities to compete in races in Europe so they can participate in events like the Grand Junction Off-Road,” he said. “I don’t know that there could be a stronger testament to the quality of the trails in this area.”
As an avid mountain biker and executive director of the Grand Valley Trails Alliance, Dave Grossman knew exactly how good those trails were when he approached Sadow about the possibility of Epic Rides hosting an event in Grand Junction.
With the large amount of Bureau of Land Management land that surrounds the Grand Valley, there’s certainly no shortage of places that would allow grassroots organizations such as the Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trails Association to significantly expand the extensive trail network already in place. But the project that has local riders truly salivating is the proposed trail known as the Palisade Plunge. This little slice of mountain-bike heaven would feature a roughly 6,000-foot descent from the top of the Grand Mesa to the town of Palisade at the eastern edge of the valley. And while there are still many challenges that need to be worked out for this monumental project to become a reality, the grand payoff would be a trail that connects the proposed terrain park and downhill runs at Powderhorn Mountain Resort with the existing trail systems in Palisade, Grand Junction and Fruita, creating a mountain biking experience that could only be described as…epic. Read More…