November 13, 2013

by Kristy Kibler

Grand Junction residents celebrate the Western Colorado destination's newest trail—built with a PeopleForBikes community grant.

Mountain biking is my activity of choice for exploring the great outdoors. There is nothing quite like conquering a climb a few minutes faster than you anticipated, powering up and over a rock garden then turning a corner, slamming your seat down and flying through the trees down to a meadow.

The opportunities for great mountain biking were one of the reasons my husband and I decided to move to Colorado. Last year I made my first trip out to Grand Junction to ride a few Colorado classics, the Ribbon Trail, Lunch Loops and Kokopelli Trails. Grand Junction did not disappoint, the technically challenging trails forced me to overcome mental challenges and up my game. It did not hurt that the Colorado Monument was in view shed everywhere we went. I am convinced the Monument is the greatest hidden treasure of our state.

The rugged western landscape makes for flowy and fun beginner friendly trails.

So you can imagine my excitement when I learned that PeopleForBikes invested in a growing set of trails adjacent to the Lunch Loops. These trails now offer a beginner and family friendly experience that lead into the more advanced challenge of the Lunch Loop system.

The project began a few years ago when some property slated for residential development lay fallow. The Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association (COPMOBA) partnered with Mesa Land Trust to take advantage of an opportunity to acquire a property adjacent to the popular Lunch Loop trail system, the Three Sisters. With the help of a PeopleForBikes community grant, the organizations finalized the purchase of the property and went to work on the trails.

Kristy riding with her local guide.

On October 24 I had the distinct pleasure of attending the ribbon cutting and dedication of the Three Sisters. Grand Junction turned out in force with the Mayor, City Council Members, County Commissioners and local business leaders all in attendance. It was clear just how important this project is to the growth of the vital outdoor industry in Grand Junction. The following day Libby Collins of the Mesa Land Trust and Patsy McEntee of the National Park Service graciously took me for an early morning ride. We climbed through the Three Sisters property and up to Lunch Loop, enjoying a nice easy ride with outstanding views of the valley.

Sometimes we take for granted the breadth of partnerships and financial commitments it takes to get trails on the ground for all to enjoy. It certainly was forefront on my mind as I pedaled with Libby and Patsy.

Steve Acquafresca, Mesa County Commissioner and Bill Prakken, Mesa Land Trust Board Member, at the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Meet the Endoholics – the riding group that donated more than $10,000 to the Three Sisters.

City of Grand Junction Mayor Sam Susuras and Mesa Land Trust Director Rob Bleiberg (with his daughter Mandala)

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