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Tour of the Moon 2024

September 14

tunnels at tour of the moon
Last Updated April 2, 2024

The Annual Tour of the Moon was made famous in the 1980's Coors Classic and later in the cycling movie American Flyers. Now, as one of the most sought-after road cycling events in the western United States, it showcases the mesmerizing Colorado National Monument, with its towering monoliths, sheer-walled red rock canyons, and breathtaking panoramic views. Picked as one of our best road cycling events in Colorado, its legacy continues as one of the premier road cycling events in the Rocky Mountains.  Tour of the Moon is part of The Ride Collective, a premier producer of road and gravel events throughout the Southwest and the Rocky Mountains.

What sets this event apart is its distinct blend of challenging terrains, the unmatched beauty of the route, and the legacy it has in the world of road cycling. This event is extremely popular and is a key fundraiser for One Riverfront and Bicycle Colorado. The National Park Service caps participation at 2,200, and the event sells out yearly - this event provides participants with an opportunity to cycle through the heart of nature's masterpiece.

Event & Course Info

Riders will start and finish at the Grand Junction Convention Center in downtown Grand Junction. With an option of two distinct routes, riders can decide between a 64-mile metric century ride, encompassing a challenging 3,900+ ft of elevation gain through the picturesque farmlands of Fruita and Colorado National Monument, or a more classic 41-mile loop back to Grand Junction which has 3,000 ft of elevation gain.

Cycling through the Colorado National Monument at Tour of the Moon is a unique experience, thanks to its three unlit tunnels bored through solid rock. For this reason, the Monument mandates all cyclists to have a white light visible from at least 500 feet at the front and a red light visible from at least 200 feet at the rear. While lights may be turned off after exiting the tunnels, for enhanced safety, it's advisable to keep them on throughout the ride. Cyclists are also required to maintain a single file within the Monument.

Throughout the course, riders will be supported with one water stop and four strategically placed aid stations stocked with hydration drinks, water, fresh fruits, and an array of snacks. These stations are located at: Cold Shivers Overlook (Mile 8) - Saddlehorn Parking Lot (Mile 23) - James M. Robb State Park (Miles 30 & 48) - Wingate Elementary School (Mile 59). For those facing mechanical hitches or fatigue, SAGs will roam the course, offering assistance. It's crucial, however, for participants to be equipped for minor repairs.

Post the strenuous ride, the Harvest Moon Celebration awaits participants. It promises an expo featuring the latest in cycling gear, a delightful lunch, live music, a beer garden, and a chance to relax with a soothing massage. This event, running from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Grand Junction Convention Center, also offers prize drawings, making the experience even more memorable. Be sure to check out the official 2023 Ride Guide for all of the important details.

Area Accommodations & Things to Do

Recommended host hotels in Grand Junction include, Springhill Suites, Tru by Hilton, and Camp Eddy, all of which are in the downtown area and conveniently located a short stroll away from over 150 stores, galleries, restaurants, museums, and boutiques. For those that prefer a home-like experience, there are plenty of  vacation rentals available in the area from modern victorian homes to unique adobes. If you like sleeping under the stars, Canyonview RV Resort or along the Colorado River, as well as plenty of unique camping accommodations.

Grand Junction boasts a vibrant culinary scene, blending local farm-to-table produce with innovative gastronomy, and is particularly renowned for its wineries and orchards that influence many of its delectable dishes. Local favorites include 626 On Rood, Kulina Lani Organic Sourdough Bakery, and BIN 707 Foodbar.

It's highly recommended that you make a long weekend out of the Tour of the Moon event. Grand Junction, nestled between the towering mesas and the confluence of the Colorado and Gunnison rivers, is a haven for outdoor athletes. With its mild temperatures in September, the area is primed for outdoor adventures.

The Colorado National Monument, often referred to as the "heart of the world’s best-kept secret," offers an expansive trail system that’s perfect for hiking. One of the standout trails is the Monument Canyon Trail, which is a 6-mile trail takes you past towering monoliths and the iconic Independence Monument. It’s a moderately strenuous hike, but the panoramic views of the Grand Valley and the Book Cliffs are absolutely breathtaking.

The area is also often dubbed as a mountain biking paradise, and the Kokopelli Loops affirm that reputation - located a short drive away in nearby Fruita, these trails cater to bikers of all skill levels. From the challenging descents of the Hawkeye Trail to the more moderate Mary’s Loop, the variety ensures there’s something for everyone.

Outdoor athletes who enjoy wine, will be particularly please to be in Grand Junction during this time, as it’s the peak of harvest season, and the vineyards are buzzing with activity. The region is known for producing some of Colorado's finest wines. Opt for a wine-tasting tour in vineyards like Two Rivers Winery or Colorado Cellars.

Related Events

The Ride Collective, formerly known as the Outside Events Cycling Series, is a portfolio of eight professionally-produced events and races in both Colorado and New Mexico. Host venues and terrain vary from the Front Range to the Rocky Mountains to the High Desert. TRC strives to create an inclusive culture where cyclists of almost all abilities can enjoy the simple pleasures of riding a bicycle. For some, it’s about the challenge, others do it for a cause, but everybody enjoys surfing the energy of the group. The Ride Collective events range from 300 to 3,000 participants, with a portion of event proceeds benefiting local and regional nonprofit organizations.  The full calendar of events includes the following:

For multi-sport endurance athletes looking for other events in the state of Colorado, be sure to check out our full list of Strambecco Best in Class, trail running, gravel and mountain biking events.

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