The Grand Enduro will challenge you on three demanding stages in and around Grand Junction's Lunch Loops trail system. For those unfamiliar, the nature of these trails are very technical and require expert handling skills as well as solid fitness.
What to expect:
- Chunky, desert terrain that's hard on body and equipment - bring sturdy tires and spare tubes!
- Stages will lose significant elevation, but lack sustained steeps - be ready to pedal! However, this is no XC race, so bring your well equipped all-mountain bike. You'll hate it on some of the punchy, short climbs but wish you were on an even bigger bike at some points!
- All stages feature at least a few "moves" - sections of trail that are particularly precarious. Where possible we'll have go-arounds, however these will generally cost you time! Pre-riding all stages is definitely recommended and required for stages 1 and 3.
- 22-35 minutes of racing over 6.2 miles of trail. 2.5-4 hours of total ride time covering ~22 miles.
STAGE 1: THE RIBBON, 2.1 miles, estimated time 8-12 minutes
A Grand Valley classic and one of the few "shuttle-able" local trails. We're so stoked we were able to secure the permits to take you down this legendary route. You'll start on an otherworldly, humongous slab of rock and be hitting speeds in excess of 30mph in a matter of seconds. Riders who aren't racing generally take their time on this section and carve the lunar-like landscape, but the clock is running on you! You need to get off that rock and onto the singletrack as soon as possible! We'll have it heavily taped, but pay particular attention during practice for landmarks that'll help you navigate the correct route - a missed turn or off-course excursion up here could at best cost you loads of time and at worst send you plummeting off a cliff!
Shortly into stage one you'll be at your first true challenge, the section known as the Toilet Bowl (pictured above). Make sure you smile for the cameras as this will be one of only a few easily accessed spectator and media locations of the race. Don't let those hecklers goad you into riding over your head though!
Further down you'll hit warp speed in the section known as the Wine Glass. Keep your fingers covering the brakes, but stay off them and get tucked if you want a chance at taking home the top spot in the High Speed Challenge. We'll have a radar gun on site and a sweet prize for the riders in each category hitting the highest digits. Fast locals have been clocked at right around 50mph here, so it's no joke.
Up next is the part you'll probably want to puke in/after. You've a got a few minutes of slow, technical, and loose traversing and one gut-buster of a climb before the final descent to the finish line. Sorry about that.
We'll have the finish line at the second wash crossing, saving you a lot of flat pedaling through a wash and us from too much carnage at Hospital Hill.
A bit of a climb awaits you following stage 1. You'll be finishing wayyyy down in a wash and need to grunt your way back up to Little Park Road and over to Gunny Loop.
STAGE 2: GUNNY LOOP, 2.1 miles, 7-12 minutes
A local's favorite and considered by many to be the best descent in the valley, Gunny Loop serves up copious amounts adrenaline pumping and grin-inducing singletrack. Used previously for the Gunny Enduro, this trail has all the key ingredients of killer stage: high speeds, technical maneuvers, and, if you get it right, flow. We've cutout the short, but brutally steep climb towards the end of the usual Gunny Enduro course and ended our stage just before that. There will still be plenty of pedaling, but we didn't want to give the edge to the fitness junkies!
For this transfer, you'll finish out Gunny Loop and then choose your own route to the top of the Lunch Loop trail system for stage 3, kicking off with Free Lunch. You'll have a few options here: up Little Park Road via pavement or through a few of the mid-system trails in the Lunch Loop network. If you opt for trails, we'd suggest Holy Bucket, to Clunker, to the final climb out of Holy Cross, over to Coyote Ridge, up High Noon, up the Tabeguache doubletrack, and finally, Prenup. Sounds like a lot, but that's only because we like to name every 100 yard section of trail out here in GJ! For a map of the system check out our local advocacy group's (COPMOBA) website. We'll have an aid station on Little Park Road hooking you up with food and beverage before you grind up the last part of the transfer (Lunch Line) to the final stage.
STAGE 3 (FINAL STAGE): FREE LUNCH > PUCKER-UP > MOTO, 2 miles, 7-11 minutes
We're throwing you right into it on stage 3, beginning on Free Lunch, the first BLM-sanctioned freeride trail in the nation. The trail features several "play areas" with multiple line choices, so pre-riding is not only recommended, but required. There aren't any Rampage-worthy lines on the trail, but there are a few mandatory and un-rollable drops on the "A" lines.
Following Free Lunch, you'll descend down the Widow Maker, past Wafer Rock, and onto Pucker-Up. Pucker-Up is littered with jumps and a few drops, again, nothing too crazy, but it's definitely worth picking and practicing your lines at race pace so you don't get in over your head.
The final section of the stage 3 is a nice rip down Moto, a rehabbed doubletrack that finishes with some fun bentonite jumps. The finish line will be at the bottom of Bentonite Hill, within walking distance of the Lunch Loop trailhead.