Iron Horse Bicycle Classic

OVER 100 YEARS OF CYCLING IN DURANGOiron horse bikers in from of durango train

The First Iron Horse

In 1972 a group of 36 riders decided to celebrate the first run of the train in the spring by accepting the challenge. It’s been all up hill since then. In 42 years the Iron Horse has become one of the classic bicycle events in the West. Durango is centrally located between Denver, Albuquerque, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City. The Iron Horse is an ideal early summer meeting of the riders from each of these cycling centers as they attempt to bring home the glory to their own communities. In recent years the participants have come from every state and many foreign countries to ride the famed Iron Horse course. Each year hundreds of riders will feel the thrill of descending into Silverton and looking to see if the train has arrived. And familiar faces will be there, as many people come back year after year to the “best race we have around.”

Growth of the Iron Horse

Over the years several events have been added to the classic train race. There have been criteriums, circuit races, road races, tours, BMX races, Trials, dual slaloms, team trail rides, and mountain bike races. There has been a full weekend of events every Memorial Day for the past 42 years. In 2011 the IHBC had over 3500 participants in 5 events. Not bad for a town of only 16,000 people nestled in the mountains of Southwest Colorado!

Historical & Event information courtesy of


We are thrilled to invite the public to the 49th annual Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, a classic three-day cycling festival held each Memorial Day weekend in stunning Durango, Colorado.

Whether you are a rider or a spectator, an enthusiast or a hobbyist, we have events sure to delight and awe you. The variety of cycling events and family-friendly activities make the Iron Horse one of the grandest biking events in the Southwest.

2024 Scheduleiron horse bikers

Friday May 24, 2024

  • Final Packet Pickup – Chapman Hill
  • Hill Climb Challenge – 8th Ave & 8th Street Durango

Saturday May 25, 2024

  • 7:15 am: Start of Pedal Assist Tour to Silverton: East Second Avenue & 33rd Street
  • 7:30 am: Start of Cocoa Cola Road Race to Silverton: East Second Avenue & 33rd Street
  • 8:00 am: Start of McDonald’s Citizens Tour to Silverton: East Second Avenue & 33rd Street
  • 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM:  Bike Return Pickup – Durango Transit Center

Sunday May 26, 2024

  • 8:30 am: La Strada La Plata Gravel Ride. Starts at Chapman Hill
  • 9:00 am – 4:00 pm: Chapman Hill Cycling Festival
  • 9:00 am: MTB Starts – Chapman Hill
  • 6:45 pm: Michael Franti & Spearhead Concert – Durango Mesa Park

Other Events

  • 5/26: Sprite Kids Race



More About the Iron Horse Classic from The Durango Team

Memorial Day weekend is upon us! It’s the unofficial kickoff to Durango’s summer season, and also the weekend locals welcome the 49th Annual Iron Horse Bicycle Classic. It’s a weekend filled with tradition, challenges, and lots of events for all ages.

There’s the Durango Coca-Cola Road Race, which is 47 miles and 6,700 feet of total climbing, and the McDonald’s Citizen Tour from Durango to Silverton. This one is 50 miles, and takes off with the train. It crosses two 10,000-foot mountain passes! This is one amazing challenge, and it’s a blast to cheer the riders on as they descend in Silverton.

The race started as a challenge between man and machine, when one brother challenged the other to beat the train (by bike) to Silverton. In 1972, 36 riders took the challenge on the train’s first run of the season. Since then, the weekend has become a local tradition.

Now, there are other events. There’s the Quarter Horse to Purgatory, which is a 25-mile race that finishes at the Resort. There’s also the BMX Straight Rhythm, a BMX course on Main Street Durango, and for families there’s the Sprite Kids Race. This unique event is for kids ages 3-10, and offers various course lengths. There’s also a Kids Village with face painting, a bounce house, and strider park. (These races will not be offered in 2021)

We love this annual event, and are so proud of the riders who accomplish this feat. Durango is a blast over Memorial Day Weekend, and if you’re looking for something to do, take in some of the Iron Horse events. Here’s the link to the website for details, locations, and times:

Happy Memorial Day Weekend from The Durango Team. We hope you enjoy time together, our beautiful town, and remember those who have served our country.

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