The 49th annual Iron Horse Bicycle Classic will be returning this year and although this event will look different than in years past, it is a great event that generates excitement throughout our community and helps boost the local economy. The history of this fun event started years ago with a fun brotherly bet.
Brothers Tom and Jim Mayer concocted the idea behind the first Iron Horse Bicycle Classic. Jim worked as a brakeman on the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad, which had operated the steam-powered line between Durango and Silverton since the 1880s. Tom was a young bicycling enthusiast who enjoyed riding alongside the railroad tracks. One day in 1971, Tom challenged his older brother to a race to Silverton. Steam engine versus bicycle. They wagered a candy bar on the results. When Jim pulled into the Silverton station, there was Tom, waiting for him. He’d beaten the train, despite having a longer road and having to climb two mountain passes. He won his candy bar, alright, and he had no idea that he had just started a famous race that would draw thousands of riders to southwest Colorado. Read the full story on Tom Mayer’s website.
This event has become a big staple in Durango’s history. The Iron Horse race this year will still have multiple bike events being held May 28th through the 30th, COVID-19 regulations will be in place. For more information about the event visit Iron Horse Bicycle Classic.