Iron Horse Bicycle Classic

Written by on April 7, 2014 in CO Events - Comments Off on Iron Horse Bicycle Classic

Every year on Memorial Day weekend in Durango, Colorado, bicyclists set off on a huge challenge. At the same time the Durango & Silverton Railroad leaves the station, the riders set off … their goal is to beat the train to Silverton.

The Iron Horse Bicycle Class got its start when two brothers put their heads together. Jim Mayer worked as a brakeman on the railroad. His brother, Tom, was a bicycle enthusiast. One day, Tom challenged Jim to a race to Silverton. When the train passed by Tom’s house, the iron horse’s whistle sounded and Tom climbed aboard his 10-speed bike. He took the steep pass up and over to Silverton. The train, taking a shorter route, beat him into the station. However, Tom persevered, over and over again challenging himself against the train. Eventually, Tom began to win and the whole town of Durango celebrated.

In 1972, a group of 36 riders decided to celebrate the first run of the train that spring by accepting the challenge. The rest is history. Today, the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic is one of the most exciting bicycle races in the nation, with over 1,500 participants at times.

Tour riders take off with the train, traveling over two mountain passes that approach 11,000 ft. with over 6,500 ft. of elevation gain to the historical mining town of Silverton. There are four aid stations with food and water along the route, no rolling technical support on course but 27 really sweet miles of the route are on a closed portion of Highway 550 North. The road tour was named by Outside Magazine as an experience to be added to your bucket list of life accomplishments.

For information on how to participate and details on the race schedule, visit the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic website.

Other attractions in the area include:
Top 5 Things To Do In Durango
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway
Mesa Verde National Park
San Juan Skyway – Scenic Drive

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