Iron Horse Bicycle Classic

May 27 2023
Durango, Colorado, USA
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Distances: Varied
Difficulty: Moderate terrain with rolling short steep hills or moderate, sustained climbs

The Iron Horse Bicycle Classic was the brain child of Tom Mayer and his older brother Jim. Jim worked as a brakeman on the D & R G W railroad which had run the steam powered locomotive between Durango and Silverton since the 1880's. Tom was a young bicycle enthusiast who grew up alongside the tracks to Silverton. Tom challenged Jim to a race to Silverton. As the train came by the house, the steam whistle screamed and Tom climbed on his trusty steel framed 10 speed and pedaled up over the rim of the old volcano and descended into the caldera to the mining town of Silverton. The train takes a shorter and easier route, but with limited speed, so it is truly a race between man and machine. When Tom became strong enough to win, the bragging rights were his, and the whole town knew it.

In 1972 a group of 36 riders decided to celebrate the first run of the train in the spring by accepting the challenge. It's been all up hill since then. In 41 years the Iron Horse has become one of the classic bicycle events in the West. Durango is centrally located between Denver, Albuquerque, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City. The Iron Horse is an ideal early summer meeting of the riders from each of these cycling centers as they attempt to bring home the glory to their own communities. In recent years the participants have come from every state and many foreign countries to ride the famed Iron Horse course. Each year hundreds of riders will feel the thrill of descending into Silverton and looking to see if the train has arrived. And familiar faces will be there, as many people come back year after year to the "best race we have around."

Over the years several events have been added to the classic train race. There have been criteriums, circuit races, road races, tours, BMX races, Trials, dual slaloms, team trail rides, and mountain bike races. There has been a full weekend of events every Memorial Day for the past 41 years. In 2011 the IHBC had over 3500 participants in 5 events. Not bad for a town of only 16,000 people nestled in the mountains of Southwest Colorado!

There are several events taking place:

Citazens' Tour - Citizens 50 mile tour from durango to silverton. take off with the train, traveling over two 10,000ft mountain passes enroute to the historical mining town of silverton. there are four aid stations with food and water along the route. there is no technical support on course. 27 miles of the route to silverton is a closed road. Registration Fee: $99 Field limit 2400 riders. May 24, 2014 - 7:35 A.M. 

Mountain Horse Tour - A climber's dream ride from Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort to Silverton. You will travel over two 10,000 ft mountain passes on your way to the historical mining town of Silverton. There are two aid stations with food and water along the route. There is no technical support on course. The 27 miles of the route to Silverton is a closed road. May 24, 2014 - Starts at 10:00 am.

Quarter Horse To Purgatory - 25 Mile tour from Durango to Purgatory at Durango Mountain Mountain Resort. Saturday May 24, 2014

Duraango To Silverton Road Race, Cross Country Race, Sunday Downtown Events, East Animas Time Trial, Kid's Race, Cruiser Crit


Start Located At: Durango Mountain Resort, Durango, Colorado
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