(May 29, 2010) DURANGO, Colo.—The 39th annual Iron Horse Bicycle Classic lived up to its reputation as a true classic of Colorado cycling. The soul of the Iron Horse, a 50-mile road race from Durango to Silverton over Coal Bank and Molas passes descends deep into the heart of the San Juans.
Absolutely spectacular weather conditions including a strong tail-wind during the road race set the stage for fast record breaking times. A new course record was set at 2:12:15 by Burke Swindlehurst who enjoyed a 10 to 15 mph tail-wind most of the route. Swindlehurst waited within the chase group until mid way up Coal Bank pass where he pushed hard and bridged the gap to catch the breakaway, lead by Alex Hagman and Greg Krause.
At the low point between Coal Bank and Molas passes, Lime Creek crossing, Swindlehurst made his final move to push into the lead up the final climb, to the 10,910 foot summit of Molas Pass. Swindlehurst flew down the pass into Silverton maintaining his lead across the line, his third Iron Horse championship since the mid 1990’s.
Mara Abbott claimed her third straight Iron Horse victory at 2:41:48. Despite having a head cold, Abbott was able to hold off a strong challenge from Durango local Marisa Asplund who has finished second to Abbott the last three years.
"It doesn't get much better than this," Asplund beamed after the race. " A Podium finish at a bicycle race in my beautiful hometown-greeted by beautiful people and beautiful weather. Really, this IS what it's all about!"
Sundays criterium proved a thriller for the crowds of Durango. An eight turn course winding through the downtown business district included one short uphill and fast downhill section on to Main Avenue. Alison Testroete of Abbotsford, BC crushed the Womens field, she nearly lapping the entire group by mid way in the criterium. She took off early in the race and never looked back nearly unchallenged the entire race.
Mountain bike champion, Myles Rockwell surprised the senior cat III mens group. Rockwell pushed hard the entire race and came away with a solid well fought win. The pro men had a three man breakaway early in the criterium which became a three man race between Dan Bowman, Alex Hagman and Greg Krause who finished respective. The three man group was able maintain an incredible pace which was able to lap the entire field by the end the criterium. An awesome pace flying through the urban district of Durango.
"It's always great racing in your hometown!, said a surprised and elated Rockwell after the finish. "I set my sights on winning the criteruim. My whole six hours a week training program! (laughs).
Rockwell also attributed much of his success to trying to keep up with his girl friend, world champion, Willow Koerber, and his secret weapon: the El Rancho corner.
" I used it as my secret weapon, fighter pilot style! I'd bomb that corner at full speed no brakes! just hoping I didn't end up in the front window of the El Rancho, but I'd always come out ahead of the pack (more laughs)."
The highly spirited cruiser crit always a crowd favorite filled the streets with colorful smiles. A 12 foot trout “swam” its way among 50 or so costume adorn cruisers.
Mondays individual time trial was the proving grounds for the omnium title as well as a test of individual strength. The 13.7 mile course of mostly flat and rolling terrain had one mean 1.2 mile uphill to the finish on Sholona Hill. Greg Krause, from Littleton claimed the fastest time at 31:03:10. His first place in the time trial combined with his third place finishes in the criterium and road race crowns him the Omnium winner of the 2010 Iron Horse Bicycle Classic.
"In 2011, the 40th Anniversary of the Iron Horse we are bringing back the Mountain Bike Event. As well as a King and Queen of the Mountain that will be awarded to the winner of the both the Road Race to Silverton and the Mountain Bike event," Said Iron Horse Bicycle Classic race Director Gaige Sippy. " Also there will be a film premier next year, documenting the 40 years of the Iron Horse. Including helicopter video footage shot during this years event."
Next year is the 40th Iron Horse Classic, the fourth oldest bicycle race in the USA. Many plans are already in the making to make it the best ever. Rumors are floating that Colorado DOT has plans to resurface Molas Pass, which could make for one very fun descent in Silverton. IHBC sold out early this year and could sell out even earlier next year, don’t wait to register!
For complete results, please visit Iron Horse Bicycle Classic
For additional photos, please visit Scott DW Smith