Because it's there

Every year thousands of cyclists ride diligently for months prior to Memorial Day weekend so their legs and their mental fortitude are primed for the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic and the race against the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge locomotive. As many riders successfully complete the leisurely ride through Animas Valley they are met with the daunting task of summiting all 10,640 gut
wrenching feet of Coal Bank Pass. The lungs begin to burn, the legs start to quake, and the IV drip of lactic acid starts to seep into the blood stream. However, as riders come shoulder to shoulder with Engineer Peak and the road begins to flatten, the thrill of completing the lung busting ascent begins to seem well worth the effort. Then you start to enjoy the heart quickening descent before the
realization kicks in that Silverton is still one more pass away.

As the day wore on the weather worsened with smal, powerful bursts of snow blowing in and out of the San Juans.


Ian Stanford, of Boulder, leads a trio of riders past Engineer Peak on the way to his 12th place finish.

A rider glances over his shoulder to see if he's
gained any distance from his nearest competitor.

Mattew Breagy of Boulder keeps a heart-stopping pace as he passes the halfway point on Coal Bank Pass.


John Shaw, pedaling off his morning coffee buzz, offers spectators some of his special
brew Saturday morning.

Eventual winner Scott Moninger, front, leads Drew Miller and Ned Overend up Coal Bank Pass on the first real test of the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic.

A rider puts on an additional layer of protection before his chilly descent toward Molas Pass.













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