Ride the Rockies kicks off in Junction

Riders in the ride the rockies begin their 532-mile trek Sunday by riding over the Colorado National Monument.

Ride the Rockies began 25 years ago in Grand Junction, with bicyclists making their way 305 miles to Denver.

For its Silver Anniversary, Ride the Rockies is starting its seven-day ride in Grand Junction again.

Sunday, 2,000 cyclists begin a 532-mile ride to Salida by riding over the Colorado National Monument.

“For 25 years, Ride The Rockies has showcased some of our state’s finest communities,” Tour Director Chandler Smith said in a news release. “So many people have had their hands in making this a great tradition and in doing so the Tour has become synonymous with summer in Colorado.”

Registration is on Saturday with the opening ceremony at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday at Mesa State College.

Motorized traffic on Rim Rock Drive will be restricted for the first four miles from the east entrance from 8-11 a.m. Two-way motorized traffic will be permitted from the west entrance in Fruita.

The monument is a 46-mile trek, which will be followed by traveling over another local landmark Monday, when riders bike over Grand Mesa from Grand Junction to Delta. The 90-mile route has the riders climbing to an elevation of 10,839 feet.

From Delta, the riders 67 travel to Ouray. On Wednesday, the riders face one of their toughest challenges traveling the 70 miles from Ouray to Durango.

From Ouray to Durango takes the riders over Red Mountain Pass (11,090 feet), Molas Divide (10,899 feet) and Coal Bank Pass (10,640 feet).

The riders then make their way from Durango to Pagosa Springs. The route finishes with the final two days pedaling from Pagosa Springs to Alamosa, then finishing June 19 in Salida.

This is the fifth time the Tour has launched from Grand Junction.

“We began working about 18 months ago to try to bring the Ride the Rockies tour back to Grand Junction, and we are absolutely thrilled to be selected as the first host community on the tour,” Barbara Bowman, division manager of the Grand Junction Visitor and Convention Bureau said in a news release. “It’s a great event that’s going to benefit the entire valley economically.”

Ride the Rockies had 4,000 applicants for the 2,000 available spots. All 50 states and 18 foreign countries have been represented during the ride, with cyclists in the past ranging from ages 7 to 85.


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