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GJ VELO Cycling Team endowment pedals past $100,000 mark

Founders say effort just beginning

Long-time cyclist and local business leader Ed Chamberlin had long enjoyed riding with the CMU Cycling Team — so much so that in 2016 he committed himself to supporting the collegiate program.

Today, supporters include Scott Mercier, Grand Junction Mayor Rick Taggart and dozens of additional individuals and businesses who want to see the program grow.

“Our support team now has nearly 100 members and the endowment has exceeded $100,000,” said Chamberlin. “We believe this milestone is just the beginning of our efforts as we work with CMU to build a

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GJ Velo Founder Ed Chamberlin

team of well-educated cyclists that will bring back national championships for decades to come.”

The aspirations of Chamberlin for national championships are not unfounded as the new fundraising record occurred on the heels of CMU’s Cycling Team winning a national championship in October 2019.
Scott Mercier, a team consultant, says that western Colorado is among the premier communities in the nation for the sport and plans to continue his support in future years.

“The GJ Velo cycling team has 26 founders and a number of corporate sponsors who are excited that with the endowment reaching our original goal, we can now begin distributing scholarships while continuing to grow the corpus of the account,” said Mercier.

The entrepreneurial and philanthropic community of athletes who comprise GJ VELO welcomed a new title sponsor in 2019 when the Christi Reece Group increased their support of the team and of CMU Cycling.
“While our company loves the sport of cycling, and enjoys our community rides, the main reason we decided to be the title sponsor is that it’s a direct route towards supporting these young athletes who are the future of cycling,” said owner Christi Reece. “It’s one of the most rewarding investments our company makes throughout the year.”

CMU President Tim Foster isn’t surprised by the milestone and believes the club will once again exceed its goals. Foster believes each club member harbors passion for the shared goals of the organization, and that the endowment’s growth is inevitable due to the passion of Grand Junction’s cycling community.

“Once in a while a community rallies around a goal and you get the right combination of commitment, enthusiasm and mission-oriented action,” said Foster. “The GJ VELO endowment is one of those occasions.”
Foster also took the occasion to focus on the cycling team’s academic prowess.

“While a national championship is exciting, it pales in comparison to the excitement of the team’s academic success,” he said. “When we add up their competitiveness and academic efforts the program is truly a remarkable one.”

Beyond year-round rides throughout the valley, the university hosts opportunities for the community in the form of winter training at the cycling center in the Pavilion building near the Maverick Recreation Center so that enthusiasts can hone their skills and knowledge of the sport during the colder months of the year. 

Ryan Cranston owns Ruby Canyon Cycles and started the CMU team in 1999. He has observed the sports evolution from a club endeavor to a full-fledged Division 1 program with dozens of athletes. “CMU cyclists have been featured in a majority of national cycling publications and with another national championship under their belt will continue to receive notoriety for their success.”

Liz Meyer, CEO of the CMU Foundation sees a correlation between success and resources. “There is no doubt that a national championship for our mountain biking athletes has carry over effects for all cycling at CMU,” said Meyer. “GJ VELO reaching a six figure milestone is proof positive that the fundraising momentum continues as a result of the team’s win.”

Meyer said that cycling enthusiasts interested in contributing to the growing the endowment should contact at the CMU Foundation at 970.248.1410. Donors can also contribute by contacting the GJ VELO giving page. To join GJ VELO visit their website.

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Written by David Ludlam