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Southwest Colorado is home to one of America’s oldest bicycle races. It takes an army to keep the wheels moving.

Mountain bikers raced head-to-head in dual slalom racing at Chapman ski area as part of the 50th Iron Horse Classic over Memorial Day Weekend in…

Thursday, Jun 02

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Mountain bikers raced head-to-head in dual slalom racing at Chapman ski area as part of the 50th Iron Horse Classic over Memorial Day Weekend in Durango. (Scott DW Smith, Special to The Sun) DURANGO – After finishing her first bike race during the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic over the weekend, 4-year-old Lexi Cowan was grinning ear to ear. When asked how long she’s been riding bikes, she said, “10 years, I think.” In a town that boasts one of the oldest bicycle races in America, Durango’s next generation is born ready to ride.

The Iron Horse Bicycle Classic celebrated its 50th anniversary with record attendance. The main event is an old-school contest, pitting human power against steam power, with cyclists racing the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad 47 miles up to Silverton.

The cyclists have the greater challenge, climbing 5,700 feet over two 10,000-foot passes on U.S. 550, while the train chugs through the valleys. Nevertheless, pro riders and many others beat the train every year. Durango residents pedal from the Ski Brewery to the Steamworks Brewery to celebrate the the breweries’ annual collaboration beer — Face Plant Lager — brewed to celebrate the Iron Horse Classic. (Scott DW Smith, Special to The Sun) For five decades both local and international riders alike have enjoyed the challenges, the scenery, and the camaraderie of the weekend races. What started as a bet against two brothers in 1971, one the brakeman for the train and the other an avid cyclist, has now […]

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