When Justin Peach moved to Moab just over a year ago, he wasn’t quite unpacked enough to jump on his bike to ride the Moab Century Tour, but he volunteered for the event. This year, he’ll be cycling the tour’s 100-mile ride – which he considers a “great way to spend the day.”
He knows, because he rides the grueling, yet stunning ride over Colorado National Monument’s Rim Rock Drive in Grand Junction every Monday when he’s there for work.
“(Moab Century Tour organizers Beth Logan and Mark Griffith) are the most wonderful people you could hope to meet,” Peach said. Plus, “they do a phenomenal job – it’s well-organized.”
The 100-mile route is one of three supported rides offered during the Moab Century Tour, scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 1, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Another option is the 40-mile ride that doesn’t require such a big change in elevation. That route, which follows the Colorado River alongside towering red sandstone cliffs, is a favorite with locals, said Griffith, the founder and director of Skinny Tire Events.
Griffith said he calls the 40-mile ride “social spinning” because cruising along a flat road allows for talking and socializing with other cyclists.
The most popular route available during the Moab Century Tour event is the 60-mile ride that takes cyclists to the Dead Horse Point State Park overlook.
“It’s a challenging climb up (state Route) 313, yet not the long, enduring miles of the Century route,” Griffith said. “It’s just enough challenge for the high-end rider, with enough energy left over for some evening socializing.”
The daylong event accommodates up to 1,000 cyclists, who typically come from 20 different states, as well as other countries. Last year’s event drew riders from Canada, Switzerland, Australia and Germany.
After his older brother died of cancer in 2000, Griffith founded Skinny Tire Events as a fundraising tool for cancer research and survivorship programs. A four-day Moab road cycling event held in March is the main fundraiser.
“It felt better, from a healing standpoint, to do something – and I was a road cyclist,” Griffith said. “We’ve raised $5 million (from Skinny Tire events) since we started – that feels like making a difference … One particular beneficiary has been our local hospital to help fund our cancer treatment center.”
While donations are not required to participate in the fall tour, some people do raise money for their local hospitals, and other programs, such as the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City, Griffith said. The tour supports those efforts, he said.
Each ride begins at 7 a.m. from the Aarchway Inn, 1551 N. U.S. Highway 191. Cyclists who choose the “Moab Canyon” 60- or 100-mile ride must depart by 8 a.m. Those opting for the “Rolling Down the River” 40-mile route must leave by 10 a.m. Riders must reach early aid stations by specific times to be allowed to continue.
The 100-mile Moab Canyon route climbs 4,300 feet in elevation, while the shorter Moab Canyon route gains 3,800 feet in elevation. The “Rolling Down the River” route of 38 miles changes elevation by 500 feet.
All roads will remain open to vehicular traffic during the event. Support vehicles will be cruising the routes in support of riders. There will also be a law enforcement presence to ensure safety, Griffith said.
Moab Century Tour to raise money for cancer research, treatment
“We’ve raised $5 million (from Skinny Tire Events) since we started – that feels like making a difference.”
When: Saturday, Oct. 1, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Moab Valley and Dead Horse Point State Park
Information: www.skinnytireevents.com; or 435-260-8889 or 435-260-2334
For more information, go to www.skinnytireevents.com; or call 435-260-8889, or 435-260-2334.