Fort Lewis College will be a prominent presence at the 43rd annual Iron Horse Bicycle Classic this weekend, May 24, 25, and 26. From the FLC Road Scholars Team, to the Cross Country Race hosted by Fort Lewis College, to a mountain biking clinic for high school-aged riders coached by cycling legends, that Skyhawk cycling spirit will be easy to find.
It all makes for a festive weekend of riders riding and spectators cheering in and around the already cycling-crazy town of Durango. Spectators are invited to boost their support with a free cowbell at the blue and gold FLC tent in Silverton on Saturday and in downtown Durango on Sunday.
The Iron Horse Bicycle Classic is Durango's signature cycling event and one of the most popular citizen's bicycle races in the country -- an annual three-day cycling festival featuring more than 3,000 riders racing a steam train over the San Juan Mountains to the mining town of Silverton.
The race was born of a spirited sibling rivalry. One brother was a brakeman on the steam train that ran up the narrow, peak-lined Animas River Gorge between Durango and Silverton, and the other rode a 10-speed bicycle. Every year since 1972 bicyclists have celebrated those brothers' spirits of competition by challenging the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad to a race from Durango to Silverton.
The FLC Road Scholars Team
will again be showing their Skyhawk colors in this year's 50-mile McDonald's Citizen Tour from Durango to Silverton, 27-mile Mountain Horse Tour from Durango Mountain Resort to Silverton, and the Quarter Horse Tour from Durango to Durango Mountain Resort.
This year's Road Scholars Team is comprised of 134 Fort Lewis College alumni, faculty, staff, students, and supporters. Already the team has raised -- along with a generous donation from the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic -- more than $9,500 for the Fort Lewis College Foundation's Iron Horse Bicycle Classic Scholarship Fund, benefiting FLC's Finish in Four! program.
The Iron Horse Bicycle Classic Cross Country Race will start and end on the Fort Lewis College campus this year. Racers will be making laps on a rugged course that will take them across Goeglein Gulch, up and over the rocky Raider Ridge, and on a loop through the deserty Horse Gulch before returning to campus.
The race is hosted by the Fort Lewis College Cycling team – who know something themselves about mountain biking, having won 16 of the 20 division I mountain biking national championships awarded since 1994. (photo credit Scott D W Smith)
A free high school mountain bike clinic hosted by FLC Cycling and the IHBC will give young riders a chance to learn from legends. Champion riders Ned Overend, Todd Wells, and Elke Brutsaert will instruct on riding skills including race starts, bike/body separation, cornering, drop offs, step-ups, pump track, and slow motion.
The clinic will be held on Saturday, May 24, on the campus of Fort Lewis College. The clinic will begin at 1 p.m. with a campus tour, followed by a skills clinic at the Factory Trails, FLC's on-campus mountain biking track.