This year’s Iron Horse Bicycle Classic was full of high spirits and sportsmanship. Racers shared their experience pedaling over Molas Pass, hard fought victories, and wipe-outs. Ian Burnett shared his inside knowledge as a former racer and current Race Director and applauded this year’s contestants. By Zach Marqua. This story is sponsored by Happy Pappy’s Pizza and Wings and Sky Ute Casino
Weary cyclists were greeted by an enthusiastic crowd in Silverton, Colorado, the morning of May 27th. For many, this was yet another year celebrating the longstanding tradition of testing physical endurance against the historic steam engine. This was the 2023 Iron Horse Bicycle Classic. You're watching the Local News Network, brought to you by Happy Pappy's Pizza N Wings and Sky Ute Casino.
Yeah, it's a historic event. We're the second longest running race in the US, behind a little crit on the East Coast, so a pretty big deal that we're that. We're really kind of just bringing it back to our roots. That's kind of been our motto this year, is bringing back our roots, getting our mountain bike back in town, to kind of historic stuff at Chapman. And yeah, just kind of embracing what's got us this far for 51 years.
This is my first time at the race, so I didn't really know what to expect. I've heard it's super hard, you know, crazy elevation and stuff.
This is my second time.
This is my fourth or fifth and second time winning it.
I did the Roos Master last year, but that's about it. So I guess you could say three, but maybe two, two full Iron Horses.
Spirits were high, despite a challenging 47 mile ride over Molas Pass, earning some riders fresh cuts and bruises. But those who were knocked down got right back up again and continued to the finish line.
Racing, you know, it's just part of that non-zero percentage. You rub wheels and go down and today was my day and just thankful that nothing, myself or bike, was broken and decided to finish it. So got back on the bike and crushed out the last two climbs and here we are.
Yeah, now's the time that it hurts. You're just waiting to get to the top of Molas and be able to start to go downhill and line up that sprint and see if you can win it.
I knew they were going to hit it hard up the passes, but going up Shalona, near Shalona on the highway was really hard just to make that front selection.
Yeah, had some fast descending and managed to draw power on the descents and hold it all the way in.
Yeah, I tried to go with Howard and Caleb at the bottom of Colebank and I didn't quite have the legs for that.
My biggest goal this race is to hold a consistent pace throughout. I did it a couple of years ago, didn't pace myself well, blew up as we entered Colebank and just went backwards, so this year my goal is to hold a consistent pace and yeah, I'm happy with it.
Felt good, went really fast up all the climbs. It was a fun day.
I'm happy to be here. You know, the finish in Silverton's always fun. So another good day from Durango Silverton. So yeah, amongst the finishes, this one feels extra sweet today.
Festivities continued through Memorial Day weekend. It was yet another successful Iron Horse Bike Classic and Ian Burnett had many to thank.
We just can't do it without the community of Durango, Silverton, all the surrounding communities, all our volunteers, our staff, you know. It's just, it's a huge lift to make this happen. Our state patrol, all of our law enforcement and yeah, we just can't do it without all them. And so, yeah, it's a pretty special thing.
Thank you for watching this edition of the Local News Network. I'm Zach Marqua.