Boulder, CO

The Sunset Shred mountain bike meetups for women comes to Colorado

Morgan Tilton

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Nearly 30 female mountain bikers rallied for the first Sunset Shred stop in Colorado.(Photo by Morgan Tilton)

As I watched the Pivot Cycles' demo bikes get set up for the evening group ride, more and more women showed up outside the DT Swiss office and factory in Grand Junction, Colorado, the meeting point for the late afternoon networking event.

The evening marked the first stop of the Sunset Shred in the Centennial State: a nationwide mountain bike series for women to meet and ride together while testing out Pivot Cycles bikes. After the ride, participants enjoyed a complimentary dinner and a screening of documentaries featuring female riders.

Spearheaded by Pivot Cycles, the brand—along with supporting partners DT Swiss, Wild Rye, and 10 Barrel Brewing—collaborates with on-the-ground companies and local female leaders for each destination. Each event is created by, and tailored to, the community.

“Globally, there is a much bigger conversation when it comes to DEI in outdoor spaces and the cycling industry. I believe it is important for brands to help create these spaces and opportunities—it is the ‘build it and they will come” mentality’… Sunset Shred gives people a space to show up, connect with and be inspired by individuals who are similar to us,” said Victoria Hunt, OEM Sales Manager, Americas, for DT Swiss, after I met her at the DT Swiss site. Naturally, her office was overflowing with bikes.

Even better, all of the registration proceeds ($30 per person) go to support World Ride, a nonprofit that empowers women globally through mountain bike donations, guide training, and trips.

Hunt added, “For DT, it made sense to participate, especially when you factor in that it not only gives female-identifying riders an environment to connect with one another, but it also elevates an organization like World Ride and the work that the founder Julie is doing there.”

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Grand Junction Sunset Shred hosts Holly O'Brien and Paz Chinchilla take a short break while riding at Lunch Loops.(Photo by Morgan Tilton.)

Sunset Shred helps you learn new trails and grow community

I soon realized this was the largest group of female riders I’d ever personally seen: more than 30 at a single time. Every person working the event was a female cyclist, too.

“Your bike is ready! I’ve got you set up on the Mach 6,” said Paz Chinchilla, the lady behind the marketing and event support at Pivot Cycles, to me.

I rolled the bike over to the shuttle van, where our ride leader Tina Ooley stood on the roof pulling up and loading the bikes.

Based in Fruita, Colorado, Ooley is the founder of Every Pedal MTB, a mountain bike mentorship program that teaches ride skills to youth and adults in Southwest Colorado.

Given Ooley was a local instructor, I was confident the two routes she mapped out would both be awesome. The 50-mile triangle of Fruita, Grand Junction, and Palisade is chockfull of technical and flowy singletrack through desert plateaus.

I’d ridden a handful of days at two popular pockets of trails, 18 Road and Kokopelli Loops, in the region. But I’d never pedaled the two routes that Ooley had planned for us in the Lunch Loops area. One route was rated intermediate. The other was more challenging and longer with greater vertical.

Since I’d road-tripped several hours from Crested Butte, I opted for the lengthier ride even though part of the trail sounded fairly difficult. Holy Cross, the most challenging segment, is known for big, chunky rocks and a handful of exposed spots. Even though I walked sections, everyone in the group stopped and regrouped often.

While the ride wasn’t instructional, the group vibe was encouraging and supportive. That allowed me to get out of my comfort zone and check out a new black-diamond trail without being worried I was holding the group back.

I also enjoyed meeting so many women from the surrounding region. Many riders lived in Grand Junction or Fruita, and several were from Carbondale, Aspen, and Glenwood Springs. A handful of women and I plan to ride together again later this summer.

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The Sunset Shred event returns to Boulder for the 2022 tour.(Photo by Sports Garage Cycling).

Sunset Shred returns to Boulder

Sunset Shred is returning to Boulder on June 22, 2022, and registration is open.

Elori Slater, the owner of Sports Garage Cycling in Boulder, Colorado, piloted Sunset Shred at her shop, in 2021. In tandem, Holly O'Brien, Wild Rye Director of Sales, hosted the other pilot meetup at Storm Cycles in Utah.

Both of those inaugural programs sold out and the attendees had a blast, a surefire sign that they should offer the series again.

This year, they scaled up. Sunset Shred is on a tour to a dozen locations across the country, plus one international stop.

“I’m excited for Sunset Shred to return to Boulder, because of the phenomenal spider web of women connecting with women on the Front Range. The local and regional networking experience is great,” said Slater, who is also the senior brand strategist and marketing leader for Pivot Cycles.

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Registration is open now for the Boulder Sunset Shred and the Denver Sunset Shred registration will open soon.(Photo by Sports Garage Cycling.)

For the Boulder Sunset Shred, the group will meet at the A-Lodge in Lyons and ride the Hall Ranch trail system. The ride leaders will be Whitney James, marketing coordinator for Sports Garage Cycling, and volunteer Nancy Depke.

“As with any new sport, getting started can be intimidating. Women's-specific events help create a space where you can embrace being a beginner, get together, and focus on the fun. There's something about the energy at a women’s-only event that's impossible to get anywhere else. And for those that aren't beginners but spend most of their time riding alone, there's no better way to strengthen your mountain bike community,” said James.

The entire group will ride a lollipop route, the Hall Ranch Intermediate Loop, with an intermediate ascent. There are two descent options that are blue or black, noted Slater.

Afterwards, the films will be watched at the outdoor beer garden at A-Lodge.

The event is capped at 30 riders but is not sold out, yet. The Sunset Shred in Denver, Colorado, is on July 13th, and registration begins on Friday, June 3rd.

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Adventure journalist Morgan Tilton covers the outdoors with a focus on travel, industry news and human endurance. Featured in more than 70 publications, she’s a recipient of more than a dozen North American Travel Journalists Association awards.

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