The Iron Horse Bicycle Classic started as a bet between two brothers, one a brakeman on the D&RGW railroad (which had run the steam powered locomotive between Durango and Silverton since the 1880s), the other a cycling enthusiast. The train takes a shorter and easier route, but with limited speed it is the ultimate man versus machine matchup.
41 years later over 3,500 riders take on the challenge, 150 of which rode with Team LIVESTRONG and raised over $110,000 for the fight on cancer. From as far away as Canada, New York, Virginia and Idaho our riders descended on the picturesque town of Durango, Colorado to funnel their efforts on advancing our mission.
The morning of the ride was crisp and sunny, but with increasing winds many riders left early. The 47-mile route passes over two (!) 10,000 foot summits before ending in Silverton, a sleepy mining town that sextuples in size the morning of the race. Tailwinds helped push riders down Greene Street to the finish at the end of town where we were set up with oranges, bananas and Honey Stinger waffles to welcome our weary riders.
Sunday morning offered an entirely different – but equally fun – gamut of riding, with a criterium and mountain bike race going on concurrently (even passing each other by way of a bridge built over a street downtown). In keeping with the relaxed and fun Durango mindset, the pro mountain bike races actually race through Steam Works brewery downtown – the bar removes a side window, builds a ramp into the bar, and riders pass along the barstools, past the bathrooms to a quick drop off outside.
We are so very grateful to the town of Durango, the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, and of course our dedicated and brave riders who participated this weekend. Thank you all so very much and we’ll see you next year! There are many ways to get involved with Team LIVESTRONG. Visit www.teamlivestrong.org for more information.