The Pole
Ear to the ground:
“We call that the ‘Durang-alow,” a 650-square-foot house for a quarter of a million.”
– Local homeowner reflecting on the reality of local real estate

Down and dirty
What’s 97 miles long, 13,500 feet tall and wet all over?

The third unofficial Durango Dirty Century, which took off in the wee hours of Sat., July 7.

Despite an otherwise horribly dry biking season, this year’s 44 riders were treated to all the precipitation Mother Nature could dish out.

Starting in Durango, “A” riders rolled out 10 miles on County Road 203, up Hermosa Creek and on to Bolam Pass for a “quick” 50-mile descent on the Colorado Trail. There was a slightly less sadistic “B” group, which broke off at Hotel Draw, cutting off the Bolam-Blackhawk section of the ride.

The totally self-supported “underground” DDC is considered one of the hardest 100-milers anywhere. As if the punishing terrain wasn’t enough, almost all of this year’s riders had to contend with downpours of epic proportions. The rain and assorted complications weeded out more than half of this year’s field, with 23 riders throwing in the towel before reaching the official Steamworks Finish line.

“I’m not ashamed of bailing this year ... although you can gloss it over if you’d like,” said 2011 co-winner Joey Ernst, of Durango’s Velorution Cycles. “Just too busy at the shop this year to ride much, unfortunately.”

Ernst, who finished last year’s race along with friend Doug Johnson, of Colorado Springs, with a time of 12 hours and 22 minutes, said his decision to pull the plug at the 60-mile mark wasn’t based so much on outside conditions as inward conditions.

“I did hit a wall – the solid brick wall of harsh reality,” he posted on his blog last week. “After tying for the win last year in snowy, hike-a-bike conditions, somehow I’d convinced myself that even though I’ve been off the bike for far too long this year, I could put in a decent showing on my home course in awesome conditions. Turns out I was wrong.”

Instead, Crested Butte rider Zach Guy rode off with top honors. “I pedaled slow and kept a steady pace,” he told the Crested Butte News.

Not only did Guy break the course record, in a superhuman 10 hours and 35 minutes, he also miraculously managed to avoid the deluges on Blackhawk and Kennebec passes. “We missed it by about 10 minutes,” he told the News.

 In fact, it seems that Guy has some sort of secret pact with the weather gods that day. “I got (to Indian Trail Ridge) and the clouds cleared up and it was near perfect riding,” he said.

In all, 17 riders finished this year’s A ride (dubbed the “Big Ride”), including one singlespeeder and two women, Cat Morrison (13:40) and Becky Sears (16:03); and four finished the “B” 80-miler.



In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows