Tour of the Valley: Past and Future
By Kristina Kittelson
Community Hospital’s Tour of the Valley is the premier road cycling event in the Grand Valley, and has been around for 25 years. The founders of the event, Bob and Alice Sisac, former owners of Board & Buckle Ski & Cyclery, thought of the idea after sponsoring poker rides over the Colorado National Monument in the late 1980s. They realized Colorado hosted great cycling events, such as Ride the Rockies, but there was no century road bike event in Grand Junction.
The Sisacs were good riding friends with Becky Jessen, then director of marketing at Community Hospital, and together they sponsored the first Tour of the Valley in 1988. The event was created as a charity ride to support local cycling programs and advocacy groups. It offered a 50- and 100-mile course option, neither of which went over the Colorado National Monument. Post-ride festivities were held at the Tiara Rado Golf Course swimming pool, and the Sisacs and Community Hospital staff did all the cooking. The event was moved to the Hilton, now Double Tree, in the third year, and the course over the Colorado National Monument was added.
The Sisacs sold their business in 2004 to Davis Findley, who has worked for the shop for 20 years. Davis continued co-sponsoring the event with Community Hospital. In 2008, the event took a year off in but returned the following year. The 25th anniversary was celebrated last year in 2013.
Karen Martsolf, current director of marketing at Community Hospital, is excited about what the future holds for the event and is looking forward to bringing on the next phase of the Tour of the Valley.
“We want to keep the family atmosphere of the ride but also want make some exciting changes to keep the event fresh and appeal to a broad spectrum of cyclists.”
Event coordinators want to bring the charity aspect more to the forefront, since the mission of the ride is to raise money for organizations such as the Neil Bradford Exercise Science/Sports Management Scholarship fund at Colorado Mesa University, the Colorado Mesa University cycling team, and the Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association (COPMOBA).
The 2014 Tour of the Valley will be held on [date]. Stay tuned for more event details!
For more information call Community Hospital Marketing at 970-256-6222 or visit http://www.yourcommunityhospital.com.