Grand Junction Off-Road offers opportunities for women in mountain biking

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) Mountain bikers are gearing up for a weekend of riding around the Grand Valley and a quarter of those racing to the finish line will be women.

"Our mission is to show up and be great ambassadors not only for our sponsors, but also for women in sport," said professional mountain biker Shannon Gibson.

Gibson trains ten hours a day for mountain biking competitions and is in town this weekend for the first Grand Junction Off-Road. She will be joined by 60 other professional bicyclists, 30 of whom are also women, all racing for a shot at the 20 thousand dollar cash purse.

"The Off-Road series is actually some of the biggest prize money in the whole season," she said.

Gibson and the other female cyclists can win just as much money as their male peers in the Grand Junction Off-Road 40 mile race. Event organizers said usually the prize money at cycling events is based on attendance, which often results in a 70-30 split with women coming out on the lower end.

"We thought we would try the 50-50 approach," said Todd Sadow from Epic Rides, which is hosting the event. "We felt strongly that women would participate if we would market to them and we're seeing that."

The professional races for the jackpot will be held on Sunday starting at 7:30 a.m. The amateur races are on Saturday.