Biking the Open Road in Colorado, With a Few Bumps Along the Way.

New York Times/ October 15, 2018

By Alex Schechter

The newly opened Grand Junction-Moab trail is a 155-mile route linked by a network of backcountry huts, and accessible only two months a year, and offers and almost irresistible challenge for bikers. 

The granite cliffs of Unaweep Canyon, in the western area of Colorado, just south of Grand Junction and about 265 miles from Denver, are said to be some of the oldest exposed rocks in the state — roughly 1.5 billion years old, or a third of the earth’s recorded history.

This sparse, unaltered landscape has long been a source of fascination for geologists, mainly because of its shape. Rather than charting a one-way course (as with most canyons), Unaweep, which bisects a portion of the sprawling Uncompahgre Plateau, instead flows out in two directions, with an elevated hump in the middle, like a hose with two openings.

This makes it ideal for road bikers, who see the bare, winding roads of Unaweep, and nearby Grand Junction, as an irresistible challenge. Since the 1970s, bike enthusiasts have latched onto Mesa County for its rich supply of trails. Just outside town, the Colorado National Monument makes for one of the most spectacular, high-altitude rides in America. (The 1985 Kevin Costner film, “American Flyers,” was filmed here.)

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