Ride the Rockies cyclists to experience natural wonders in Colorado National Monument

Have you noticed a few extra cyclists in town this weekend? They’re here for the start of “Ride the Rockies.” This year’s Ride begins today, right here in the Happy Valley and wraps up June 19 in Salida.

In celebration of 25 years, Ride the Rockies patrons will be treated to a seven-day, 532-mile trek, ascending four of Colorado’s most scenic mountain passes, — Red Mountain, Coal Bank, Wolf Creek and Poncha. Cyclists will also travel Molas Divide and experience two natural wonders in the Colorado National Monument and Grand Mesa.

The first ride this morning will take riders through Grand Junction and over the top of the Colorado National Monument for a 46-mile ride that will delight and stretch the cyclists.

Pedaling over the top of the monument is a challenge for most of us, but this ride is a tease for the 2,000 participants of this year’s Ride the Rockies. It will, however, help participants get ready for one of the toughest climbs in Colorado, Monday’s 90-mile ride from Grand Junction to Delta over the top of Grand Mesa, the largest flattop mountain in the world.

The elevation peaks at 10,839 feet, but riders will have to pedal even higher when they hit Red Mountain Pass at 11,090 feet in elevation, later in the week.

Good luck to all of you, and have a great time!

In case you missed it, last Saturday was National Trails Day, and a great group of Mountain Bike enthusiasts from the Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association (COPMOBA), along with our local Bureau of Land Management office, hosted a trail clean-up day at the Tabeguache trail head on Monument Road.

Known as the Lunch Loop, this increasingly popular mountain bike and hike area gets pounded with use, and needs a little TLC. Way too many hikers and bicyclists enjoy taking their dogs with them, but they do not enjoy picking up after their own pets. Go figure. That means someone else has to pick up after YOUR pet just to maintain this place. Next time you go, pick up after your own dog, or leave the pooch at home. Be responsible.

By the way, thanks BLM and COPMOBA. You guys are great.

COPMOBA is a group of mountain bikers dedicated to the development and maintenance of regional mountain bike trails on the Colorado Plateau. Its main trails are Kokopelli’s, Tabequache and Paradox, and the group also works on all mountain bike trails in the area. They’re always working to get new trails built.

Donations allow COPMOBA to build and maintain trails and to advocate for the trails and mountain biking. If you’d like to support the cause, go to COPMOBA’s web site, copmoba.org.


Looking for unique summer activities for kids ages 9-11 to attend on Friday mornings so you can go out and have coffee with the girls? Look no further.

Colorado National Monument will host a Junior Ranger Explorer Summer Day Camp on six consecutive Fridays, June 11 through July 16 (you missed last Friday). With the help of the City of Grand Junction’s Parks and Recreation Department, kids will explore the monument’s amazing canyons to learn about the raptors, wildlife, bugs rocks and more.

Each week’s camp will feature a different theme with activities, hikes and nature crafts. Registration is required and space is limited. For additional information, contact the monument’s education staff at 858-3617, ext. 367, and register through the City of Grand Junction’s Parks and Recreation Department at http://www.gjcity.org.


Speaking of coffee with the girls, why not stop by the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens with that warm cup of java and meet Dana Hobika, the new executive director who just can’t wait to shake your hand.

The gardens are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday.

Begun in 1997 by the Western Colorado Botanical Society, the Botanical Gardens at 7th Street and the Riverside Parkway, “where Seventh Street meets Nature,” has attracted thousands of visitors from around the world. It features 13 distinct gardens, including a world-class cactus garden, an exquisite Japanese garden called “Shozan-en,” which means “Mountain becomes visible by sunlight -garden,” an outdoor amphitheater right on the Colorado River, and one of only 250 butterfly houses in the world.

The gardens feature native plants of the Colorado River Plateau. Check it out, and say hi to Dana.


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