For a moment before the start of the Grand Junction Off-Road Clunker Crit, Epic Rides president Todd Sadow, wondered if the five years worth of work leading to the event was going to be for naught.
“The streets were quiet,” Sadow said of the downtown Grand Junction, Colo. event that was the kickoff for the weekend. “Then all of a sudden, boom it hit.”
The crowds showed up, the party got started and Sadow knew he could take what he calls his mountain bike “circus” on the road.
For the last five years Sadow and the crew at Epic Rides weren’t working on a race in Grand Junction, but instead creating a mountain bike event that could be taken around the country. Grand Junction was just the proof of concept.
“We wanted to build a model we could take national, not knowing if it was going to work until a week and a half ago,” Sadow said in an interview last week. “I am kind of on cloud nine right now.”
About 400 riders turned out for the Grand Junction Off-Road, which was twice as many as the Whiskey Off-Road’s first year.
Now Epic Rides is looking to grow in order to support Sadow’s plan of creating races in each region of the country.
Sadow plans to have five or six races each with large payouts for men and women, which will be part of the Epc Rides Off Road Series.
The series would kick off in April with the Whiskey Offroad and have races around the country for the following five months resulting in a $
120,000 $250-300k prize purse for the series champions.
Sadow was cagey about what cities he was targeting for the new races, but said the next one would be in the Pacific Northwest.
For the previous 10 years, Epic Rides has shared space with Perimeter Bicycling Association of America, the organization that runs El Tour de Tucson.
“We would have never turned into what he are without them,” Sadow said. “They were awesome and the opportunity was invaluable.”
Sadow said his time at Perimeter helped teach him the mechanics of putting on a cycling event like the Grand Junction Off-Road. He said his goal with the events is to put that communities best foot forward and allow them show off their town and the riding.
“From the city and its various agencies to the county and the general community letting us throw a party in their town, It was awesome, absolutely awesome,” Sadow said.
He was thrilled that 25 percent of the participants were women, which is something he and Epic Rides have been focusing on.
“It’s not abnormal,” he said. “It’s unheard of.”
Sadow and Epic Rides still has a lot of work to do to get the Epic Rides Off-Road Series together, but he said it’s really about bringing bikes and fun to people around the country.
“We are a circus,” Sadow said. “We show up to town and get people excited.”