What a weekend!!
I got to be part of a three person delegation (I use that term loosely) from Grand Junction that traveled to Prescott, AZ over the weekend to see the sights of what is known as the Whiskey Off-Road. Some of you may be aware that this three-day mountain biking extravaganza is put on by Epic Rides, and they are branching out to put on the Grand Junction Off-Road (“the Grand”). This will be identical to the Whiskey in all things except location and number of riders…but it will take place in Grand Junction this Labor Day weekend!
Since this will be the inaugural Grand, participants are limited to just 600 riders (as opposed to the Whiskey’s 1800!) The small-ish number of riders will allow City of Grand Junction officials to get all the kinks worked out before it becomes a full blown extravaganza, like the one in Prescott.
Prescott is VERY similar to Grand Junction…eerily so. It sits at about the same altitude, similar climate and terrain (minus the super technical riding we have here), the towns are close in size, and the “feel” of the people is almost identical. Like I said, eerily similar. It was fun to feel at home just coming into town.
Back to the weekend festivities…When traveling to Prescott’s downtown (activity center) there is a flurry of activity…people are eating at restaurants, shopping in stores, picking up registration packets for the race, and wandering through the expo area. The expo is comprised of different vendors (bike parts, clothing, energy drinks and food and local services) all giving out samples and providing information of what they are about.
The Whiskey bike weekend is the BIGGEST sales opportunity for all stores all YEAR! Their local stores sell more food, drinks and merchandise than any other time of the year. This will be a wonderful opportunity for our local vendors to fill the void of Labor Day weekend when, historically, not much has been planned in the Grand Valley.
Besides all the eating and shopping, there are awesome bike races going on! Friday hosts the shortest race (still 15 miles!) and a male and female pro crit…on their mountain bikes, which is a really strange sight to see. Riders whizzing past on fat tires is not a normal occurrence in the world of cycling. Saturday started early, with the 50 mile (ours will be a 40 mile race – the “40 Grand”) leaving at 7:30am and the 25 mile (ours is a 30 mile race – the “30 Grand”) heading out at 9-ish. During the down time between racers leaving and returning you can trek out to the trails and watch the carnage. If you aren’t interested in the hike out, you can settle down in the main area and listen to the band or continue to eat your way through all the shops. I did both.
I was introduced to the some of the expo vendors to pump up excitement about the Grand event, and many of the vendors were trying to re-schedule themselves in order to make it to our event! With all the buzz Epic Rides is creating about the Grand, we are sure to have an exciting event of our own to build upon for the future.
No matter what your interests are, this event will be a good opportunity to get out and experience Grand Junction! Get excited!
To keep updated on the newest vendors/concerts/events added to the Grand Junction Off-Road, visit Epic Rides website.