Ride the Rockies starting in GJ this summer

The beginning to the annual summer bike tour “Ride the Rockies” is going to have a tough start this June.

The bike race sponsored by The Denver Post begins on Sunday, June 13 with the 23-mile Rim Rock Drive through the Colorado National Monument.

This is the third time in its 25-year history that Grand Junction has been selected as the starting point for the weeklong ride through Colorado. The previous years were 1997 and 2005.

“We began working about 18 months ago to try to bring the Ride the Rockies tour back to Grand Junction,” Barbara Bowman, division manager of the Grand Junction Visitor and Convention Bureau, said in a press release Monday. “We are absolutely thrilled to be selected as the host community on the tour.”

The tour of 2,000 bicyclists will stay two nights in Grand Junction before heading out to Delta. The 2010 Ride the Rockies will make stops in Ouray, Durango, Pagosa Springs, Alamosa, before finishing up in Salida. The route will total seven days and 532 miles. The first ride through Grand Junction is 46 miles before taking on the Grand Mesa in a 90-mile route to Delta.

Bowman added that having Ride the Rockies in Grand Junction will help benefit the entire valley economically. According to Ride the Rockies research, local businesses in communities hosting the tour earn an average of more than $250,000 in a 24-hour period.

Ride the Rockies takes a pool of 4,000 applicants for the ride before whittling it down to a final 2,000. The bicyclists will be given the opportunity to stay overnight on the Mesa State College campus, including the new North Avenue dorms, on the floor of Brownson Arena, as well as in tents on the athletic fields.

The Ride the Rockies tour hits Grand Junction on June 12 for event registration.


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