The promoter of the Whiskey Off-Road weekend of racing in Arizona, Epic Rides, is taking its show on the road. Grand Junction in Western Colorado will host a new race called the Grand Junction Off-Road endurance mountain bike event on the US Labor Day Holiday weekend, Friday, August 30 through Sunday, September 1.
Modeled after Epic Rides' popular Whiskey Off-Road event in Prescott Arizona, the three-day Grand Junction event will offer participants three distances to choose from including 15 Grand, 30 Grand and 40 Grand courses (each grand = 1 mile). Designed to appeal to all levels of mountain biker, each course will present an authentic cross country mountain bike experience.
Pro racers will vie for a US$20,000 cash purse. Much like the Whiskey, the Grand's cash purse will be shared evenly between the male and female categories.
"With $55,000 of prize money between the Prescott, Arizona and Grand Junction, Colorado events, the quality of racing will be second to none in the world," said Todd Sadow, President of Epic Rides.
That may be a bit of a stretch since the race does conflict on the calendar with the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships, which theoretically attracts the best mountain bikers in the world. However, it is likely to draw top US and Canadian domestic pros who do not make the trip to Worlds.
Through cooperation with the Grand Junction Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management, "The Grand" routes will feature world class riding located in the Lunch Loops, Magellan loop and Bangs Canyon area trail systems.
Limited to a first-year field of 600 riders (500 amateurs and 100 professionals), attendees will enjoy three solid days of racing, riding and celebrating the mountain bike in Grand Junction.
The weekend will kick off with a pro level fat tire criterium downtown, a well appointed industry vendor and tech expo, and beginner level "15 Grand" fun ride on Friday. Saturday will offer a complete day of amateur riding in the 30- and 40-Grand distances. Competitors, their family and friends will bask in free live music in the shaded streets flanking Grand Junction's meandering Main Street, which is lined with original bike art and a localized retail mix. The showdown for the cash purse will begin Sunday morning, after a spirited Saturday evening of gratified amateurs imbibing the area's finest fruits, hops and barleys and exploring the community’s culinary exploits. Pro and amateur "40-Granders" will ride the same course.
Registration for the inaugural event will open on Saturday, March 16.