The Grand Junction Offroad is perhaps the most technically demanding race in the US. Relentless desert riding under a beating sun slowly wears you down. If the rocks don’t get you, the sun will. The climbs are steep and rough, the descents grin-inducingly fun. The trails are the leveler in this race. Once the support crews have melted away and the photographers are jettisoned at the trailhead, it’s all down to the rider.
The Firebird 40 was scheduled to happen on Sunday, but typical early season Colorado weather moved in over the weekend and made the course unrideable. British people regularly chuckle at American MTB races getting cancelled due to rain, but the weather and trail systems work a little different over here. A lot of the trails are actually on public property, so the idea of riding them in less than ideal conditions is not actually possible. Secondly, the mud over here is often very clay like – making it impossible to make progress due to your bike getting clogged up. Hence – no race in Eagle on Sunday. I was a little disappointed, as the pre-rides had shown the course was fantastic, and with 8000 feet of climbing, it would have been a challenge.
The last big race of Mountain Bike season! The Epic Rides team did a great job of attracting talent to the race; there were ‘only’ thirty guys signed up. But it was thirty guys who thought they could win. It meant that a compact group of riders rolled out of downtown Grand Junction on Sunday morning, each one with an idea of getting into the lead group and challenging for some cash on the line.
This is a very belated write up on the Grand Junction Offroad race that took place at the end of August. It’s taken me a while to get around to putting pen to paper since the last three weeks have been chaotic! I’ve been settling into life as a normal person, rather than pretending to be a full-time cyclist that I had the privilege of this summer. The Grand Junction offroad was a new event run for the first time, but by an experienced crew of people. I’ve raced the Whiskey 50 before, in Prescott AZ, and loved it. The Epic Rides team put this race on to be a compliment to the Whiskey at the other end of the season. They succeeded.