As the wheels turn

Government shutdown may affect both Tour of the Moon, Rocky Mtn. Collegiate Mountain Bike Championships

Last year’s Tour of the Moon bicycle ride allowed the cyclists to ride over Colorado National Monument. With the monument being closed because of the government shutdown, an alternate course may be used for this year’s race.

Because it is contested on BLM land, the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cycling Conference Mountain Bike Championships may be postponed from this weekend to Oct. 12-13 because of the government shutdown.

This weekend could be a monumental disappointment to a huge number of cyclists.

Two cycling events could be affected by the government shutdown.

The second annual Tour of the Moon bicycle ride will happen Saturday whether the government is open for business or not. However, this weekend’s Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cycling Conference Mountain Bike Championships hosted by Colorado Mesa University will be postponed if the government shutdown persists.

For the Tour of the Moon, alternate routes are in place and ready if the shutdown continues.

If the government is still shut down come Friday at noon, Tour of the Moon organizers will shift to a backup route and not go over Colorado National Monument.

“It’s a pretty nice course, but not an incredible course,” co-event director Scott Harris said about the “Government Shutdown Course.”

The ride sold out a couple of weeks back and will have 2,000 riders. The alternate courses include 62-mile and 30-mile options. The original courses have 62 and 41-mile options.

The longer backup route will go up Little Park Road through the Bangs Canyon Recreation Area, then descend on a sliver of the monument on Rim Rock Drive. The route will then take cyclists to Fruita and back via Colorado Highway 340 with the finish at Two Rivers Convention Center. The shorter route will not include the Fruita portion. The downhill part of the route on the monument remains open because of necessary access to Glade Park.

Harris said they started thinking about the possible government shutdown three months ago. Two months back, they decided they needed to have a solid plan and backup course in place just in case.

“The last 30 days we worked really hard to get a backup course ready to go,” he said.

He said the feedback they’ve received about the possibility of moving the course has been positive, adding, “Everybody understands.”

Harris said there’s a no refund policy for the ride, but there have been a minimal number of requests from riders anticipating the ride will not go over the monument.

When they first looked at starting a ride in Grand Junction, Harris said Little Park Road was a possibility, so they were familiar with that route.

The entry fee includes the $5 per rider entrance fee to Colorado National Monument. Harris said if the ride doesn’t go over the monument, they will look at giving at least some of that money to Colorado National Monument.

“As a gesture of our appreciation, we’ll probably still make a significant donation,” Harris said, saying the monument officials have worked hard to make the Tour of the Moon ride possible.

Harris has been organizing events like Tour of the Moon for 29 years and said he will be disappointed if riders don’t get to experience the monument ride.

“It’s a bummer,” he said. “Riding through the whole monument is really an epic ride. But this is a really solid backup course.”

Collegiate cycling race

The government shutdown has the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cycling Conference Mountain Bike Championships in limbo right now.

A downhill race is scheduled for Saturday and a cross-country race for Sunday. Because both courses are on Bureau of Land Management land, and all special permits are canceled as long as the government is shut down, the races are in a holding pattern.

According to a news release on the CMU website, a decision will be made Friday at 10 a.m. If the shutdown is still in place, the races will be rescheduled for
Oct. 12-13. Alternative course sites on private land will be picked if the government shutdown continues into that weekend.

If the two-day event happens this weekend, there will be a short-track race Saturday. This race will be open to collegiate riders as well as noncollegiate divisions for men, women and juniors. The race is set to be conducted on the CMU campus with a portion of the course going right through the middle of the University Center.

Triathlon time

The one event that won’t be impacted by the shutdown this weekend is the annual Desert’s Edge Triathlon, which will have more than 500 triathletes competing Saturday and Sunday.

This year, the competition at Highline Lake State Park near Loma will include an off-road triathlon Saturday. Competitors will do a 750-meter swim in the lake, a 12-mile bike ride, with a mix of singletrack and double track, and a three-mile run.

Sunday’s road triathlon will offer two distances — Olympic and sprint.

The Olympic distances are 1,500-meter swim, 40K (24.8-mile) bike course and 10K run.

The sprint distances are a 750-meter swim, 13.2-mile bike course and a 5K run.

Races on both days begin at
9 a.m.

Online registration at will close today at noon. There is no race-day registration.

A total of $600 prize money will be awarded in the Olympic race with $150 apiece going to the male and female winners.


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