This event course connects some excellent trails within the Lunch Loops trailhead and the Bangs Canyon trails complex. The course is designed to challenge riders and racers in some of the most unique and scenic terrain in Western Colorado.
The event course includes some demanding doubletrack trails that feel more like singletrack when you ride them. With step-ups and step-downs, the course will test your technical skills as well as your endurance and fitness. The singletrack sections of the course are some of the best singletrack in the West including The Gunny Loop
, Andy's and Eagle's Tail
Make sure to pack lots of water, a favorite nutrition, and a camera. All three will be needed.
Upon completion of the course, there are lots of restaurants and bars to quench a thirst and feed the hunger.
There are some technical challenges that are significant. Please ride with caution. And make sure to pack lots of fluids. The upper section of the course is remote.
The course starts on Main Ave downtown, proceeds out to the Lunch Loops and the first dirt section is on the historic Tabeguache trail. This demanding doubletrack trail winds through a short, multicolored gully and starts a climb with a stinger up a short red face of loose dirt. Upon leveling out, the climb continues across an elevated flat and then the more serious climbing begins. Eventually riders gain a distinct flat with a fin rock protruding from the center that affords an exceptional view of the hazard ahead, Widowmaker Hill.
After the brief hike-a-bike challenge of Widowmaker, the trail flattens out a little, but some technical step-ups and step-downs will keep riders engaged and challenged. This continues to the point where the Tabeguache Trail comes to Little Park Road. Riders cross Little Park Road and head downhill 10 yards to the singletrack trailhead of Gunny Loop
The first drop on the Gunny Loop
is a narrow, technical drop that requires some caution. This singletrack trail contours around the terrain gradually climbing with numerous rocks and interesting technical challenges. Riders exit the trail onto the gravel doubletrack road that intersection the trail and leads to the Little Park Parking Lot.
Riders exit the parking lot onto Little Park Road and climb 2 miles on the paved road. A left turn will take riders into the Third Flats trailhead and then another quick left off Windmill Road onto Twist-n-shout. This twisty, grinny, doubletrack offers amazing views for those that can peel their eyes off the trail. After rolling and twisting, riders come to a left onto Butterknife
Tight singletrack, filled with rocks and challenges, laid out across terrain of dreams, Butterknife
is one of the marquee trails on the course. There are a few technical challenges that will require skills and will make good use of rear suspension.
After finishing Butterknife
, riders point their bikes down and follow the rough, dirt Windmill Road to the Gunnison River. Upon reaching the bank of the Gunnison, riders may find a refreshing splash will help them in the next section.
The Magellan Trail climbs 2,000 feet for 7 miles with some stinger hills and short descents. It is scenic, but not technical. Until the quick descent to the intersection with the Upper Tabeguache Trail which is loose, steep, rocky and notorious.
A right turn on the Tabeguache trail will begin the descent to Rough Canyon. 1,000 feet in two, loose, rocky, fast miles will not be quickly forgotten. From the bottom, riders climb large sections of slickrock to the Bangs Canyon Staging Area parking lot and then descend the paved Little Park Road to the start of Andys, making a left turn onto the singletrack trail. The beginning of Andys is steep, loose and has some technical sections and a little bit of exposure. Please ride with caution and enjoy the fun challenges, the brightly colored rock and soil and the twisty nature of the trail. The trail descends to the bottom of No Thoroughfare Canyon and then climbs back up on a newly rerouted section. The rerouted climb is all rideable, although strenuous. Caution should be used as there is some fall exposure on a section of the climb. Upon gaining the top, riders face several miles of twisting, fast, whoop-inspiring descent.
Andys climbs up a series of steep switchbacks to join Eagles Tail for a final exclamation point on the course. The descent down the bottom part of Eagles Tail is rocky singletrack with some exceptional pieces and some fun challenges to tackle including two hairpin switchbacks that feature rock armoring that adds a challenge. The final twists of the trail bring riders back to the Pet-e-kes trail for a few hundred yards of fun and then the course rejoins the original section of the Tabeguache Trail through the gully and out to the trailhead. From the Lunch Loops riders return to Main Ave. Enjoy a beer downtown!
The inaugural Grand Junction Off-Road is Labor Day weekend 2013. The trails the course utilizes are some of the newest and some of the oldest in the region including the Tabeguache trail that dates back to the turn of the 20th century or older.