Monday, August 13, 2012

durango: just a happy little bike town

durango is a bike town... there is a long history of cycling and biking that all centers right around this little town in the mountains of colorado.  this little post is all part of my "get out here and visit" scheme so i hope it works.

first things first a little history lesson:

durango practically invented mountain biking.  björn might argue that he and his childhood buddies actually invented mountain biking in the 80's when they would ride their normal bikes on the dirt bike trails behind his house.  but really a man named ned overend kind of invented mountain biking, he started in the early 80's.  its even rumored that he once owned the house that björn's grandmother now currently owns as a rental property and it is in this garage that he built or modified the first mountain bikes.  im not sure about all this but it sounds good and i think he really did live there.

anyway he went on to be in the first mountain biking videos (they were videos back then) and winning many many mountain biking competitions.  he was even in the first mountain bike race video which is called "Battle at Durango: The First Ever World Mountain Biking Championships"

So mountain biking is pretty awesome here in Durango, we actually have sent a few people to the Olympics for mountain biking including Todd Wells who is in London now.  He placed tenth overall.

But what about road biking?!  well well well, let me tell you a story about a little bet two brothers made one day back way back when... better yet I'll copy this from the Iron Horse Classic website...

The Iron Horse Bicycle Classic was the brain child of Tom Mayer and his older brother Jim. Jim worked as a brakeman on the D & R G W railroad which had run the steam powered locomotive between Durango and Silverton since the 1880's. Tom was a young bicycle enthusiast who grew up alongside the tracks to Silverton. Tom challenged Jim to a race to Silverton. As the train came by the house, the steam whistle screamed and Tom climbed on his trusty steel framed 10 speed and pedaled up over the rim of the old volcano and descended into the caldera to the mining town of Silverton. The train takes a shorter and easier route, but with limited speed, so it is truly a race between man and machine. When Tom became strong enough to win, the bragging rights were his, and the whole town knew it.

suiting up for the race.., björn didn't even wear bike shorts, just his
camo shorts and a themal shirt

powdered donuts, the breakfast of champions

headed out on the trail on jake the snake, björn's kona crossbike
(he didn't even put road tires on...crazy)

michael looking like a pro

aunt kim and friends mike and joe road the quarter horse- 25 miles to purgatory
the ski resort up the valley

looking good but they have only gone about 500 feet

last high five for luck

citizens tour cyclists

the two winners (at least in my book) in Silverton
Pretty cool a race between a train and some bikes, and now every year for the last 41 years cyclist have raced the train to Silverton.  This year Björn and my Uncle Michael entered the citizens race.  Michael is an avid cyclist, he rides to work every day from Longmont. Colorado to Boulder, Colorado, so I would say he is in pretty great shape. Björn on the other hand had only riden his bike one time in 2012 before hopping on the saddle for the Iron Horse.   With over 6,600 feet of ascent and a total elevation gain of 2,756 feet its no easy race! 

Both of them finished and I was happy to drink a beer with them in Silverton! 

A recap of the 2010 race the 2012 race doesn't seem to be available yet

Durango also boasts numerous bike clubs, and groups throughout town from the kids Durango DEVO, a cycling development program to the church of the high pines, a group that rides every Sunday morning in God's church of nature. 

And finally, all of you might be able to see a little bit about Durango next weekend on NBC.  Forget the Olympics, NBC is covering the US Pro Cycling Challenge and guess where it all starts this year!  Here in Durango!

I have been told that you may be able to see a little piece on Durango on August 19th in the mid- afternoon- more details as I get them!

The US Pro Cycling Challenge is the premiere US bike race.  Riders must endure huge changes in altitude throughout the 7 stage race through the Colorado Rockies.  It is one of the most challenging races out there and certainly the most challenging in the US.  It has tons of excitement with the leader jersey changing hands daily and many thrills and upsets! The first stage starts out here in Durango, riding through town and up to the mesa which is home to Fort Lewis College, then down and out of town toward Telluride over one of the more challenging mountain passes, Lizard Head Pass.
route map for stage 1

There is of course a ton of excitement here in Durango this week leading up to this race.  There will be many fun events, bike races, concerts and fun!  Its pretty cool to be here in Durango during this time, I think Björn and I are just thrilled that our house is in such an awesome little town!

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