Iron Horse Bicycle Classic in Durango

Iron Horse Bicycle Classic Durango_scottdwsmith_mg_7258
Photo by Scott DW Smith Photography

Alright, kids. It’s that time of year. School is almost out, Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner, and you know what that means: Well, yes, family vacation — which we’ll get to in a soon-to-come blog post — but we meant the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic.

The annual race found its inspiration in brothers Tom Mayer and Jim Mayer. Jim was a brakeman on the Durango & Rio Grande Railway and his little brother Tom was a bicycle enthusiast. The two faced off in a man-versus-machine race from Durango to Silverton: Jim on the steam-engine train and Tom on his 10-speed bike.

With the Mayer brothers in mind, the first Iron Horse Bicycle Classic in Durango ran in 1972 when 36 cyclists decided to tackle the same route to coincide with the first summer run of the Durango train. According to the event, “Each year hundreds of riders will feel the thrill of descending into Silverton and looking to see if the train has arrived.”

Iron Horse Bicycle Classic Durango_scottdwsmithimg_5583_1000x667
Photo by Scott DW Smith Photography

In the 44 years since, the race has morphed into an action-packed, event-filled Memorial Day weekend. This year, the Iron Horse includes a host of bicycle races, a triathlon, a kids race and a costumed criterion that’s open to everyone, including those who aren’t serious cyclists — or, heck, event silly cyclists. The McDonald’s Citizens Tour to Silverton on Saturday, May 28, is the classic pedal-power versus steam-power race, but there will also be a circuit race, a road race and a road omnium among others. For a full list of events, check out the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic website.

If you’ll be racing in the Iron Horse, be sure to book your room for the Memorial Day weekend at the Quality Inn Durango. If you’re just coming for the fun — or to wear a crazy costume and cruise in the parade Sunday — you should also stay with us at the Durango Quality Inn. We’re very serious about cycling and having fun. Seriously.


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