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. Since 1972 the town of Durango has been running the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic.

What started as a race between brothers, one on a bike and one on the train, has turned into one of the premier bicycle race events in the world. Along with the classic road race is a time trial, criterium through down town, kids race, mountain bike race and more. The mountain bike course actually takes a run through Steamworks, a local bar. That is where I was after a great ride with friends at Phil’s World. Enjoying some libations while watching the racers coming through.

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