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Mata and Paxson among racers for inaugural Grand Junction Off-Road

Hosting a large portion of the USA's top cross country mountain bike talent, the inaugural Grand Junction Off-Road is set to drop-in on the world famous Lunch Loops trail system and beyond in Grand Junction, Colorado, on Labor Day weekend, August 30 - September 1.

More than 50 pro mountain bikers, including 22 women and 33 men, are already confirmed to vie for a $20,000 pro cash purse. Notably, the women's category continues its growth trajectory from last April's Whiskey Off-Road, nearing equal numbers with the men's category.

Grand Junction is hosting the second event of Epic Ride's Off-Road series, and one allure is the equal payout (10 deep) between the men's and women's categories.

Although some of the top US and Canadian racers will be busy at the mountain bike Worlds in South Africa, the Grand Junction Off-Road start list is still steeped with talent. The women's roster includes Monique "Pua" Mata (Team Sho-Air/Cannondale), Teal Stetson Lee (Luna), and Chloe Woodruff (Crankbrothers). Both in the throes of closing out strong 2013 seasons, Amanda Carey (Stan's NoTubes) and Colorado's Deidre York (Gear Movement) are also confirmed to toe the line among the female talent.

Of the men registered to race thus far, strong candidates for the $4,000 first place payout include Kris Sneddon (Kona), Carl Decker (Giant), Ben Sonntag (Cannondale), Spencer Paxton (Kona), and Rotem Ishay (Jamis) all gunning for the top rung of the podium.

Offering the pros a whimsy lead out on Friday evening, a free community clunker fat tire criterium will open the action. Then, the pro women will take the downtown Grand Junction course by storm at 6:15 pm followed by the men at 6:50 pm. With 10 turns and a beer garden plus locally harvested wines in turn 8, the crit course is sure to entertain all in attendance.

Starting on Main Avenue at 7:00 am Sunday morning, stage 2 of the pro category will flight as the pros set out on the same 40 Grand course as the amateurs will ride on the day prior.

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