Iron Horse finishers to be rewarded with medal

A close-up of the front of a medal, designed by Bayfield artist Cindy Coleman, that will be awarded to finishers of the Citizen Tour in Saturday’s Iron Horse Bicycle Classic. Enlarge photo

Courtesy of Cindy Coleman

A close-up of the front of a medal, designed by Bayfield artist Cindy Coleman, that will be awarded to finishers of the Citizen Tour in Saturday’s Iron Horse Bicycle Classic.

Regardless of their times, the owners of the Irish Embassy Pub think every rider in the 40th annual Iron Horse Bicycle Classic who crosses the finish line Saturday in Silverton will be a winner. And they’re backing up their opinion with tangible rewards.

Each finisher in the Citizens Tour – not the pro racers – will receive a commemorative medallion designed by Bayfield artist Cindy Coleman of Duck Girl Art fame. Coleman said the design was loosely based on an IHBC poster from a previous year, jointly modified with input by Iron Horse director Gaige Sippy and co-founder Ed Zink. The medals were manufactured at a San Diego company owned by Embassy co-owner Mike Graham, who produced 1,200 of the medals for Saturday’s event.

The front of each medal reads “Finisher – Iron Horse Bicycle Classic” flanked by images of a cyclist and a Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad locomotive. On the back is the inscription “May 28, 2011 – 50 Miles, 6,800 Vertical Feet – Molas Pass 10,899 ft” etched above the 40th anniversary IHBC logo.

“When I introduced the idea about the medals, it came from when I was swimming in rough-water swims in Southern California,” said Jerry Hembury, another Irish Embassy co-owner who once was a lifeguard in California.

“The La Jolla rough-water event would give “Survivor Medals” if you completed the swim, so I thought it should work for the Iron Horse,” he said.

Embassy manager Phillip Brennan, a native of Ireland, said getting actively involved in one of the most established and important annual Durango events is a duty for local businesses.

“When I was growing up, the local pub used to sponsor every event that was going on, and that’s one of the values I want to bring to Durango – that we’re not just a business but that we want to be here ’til I grow old and to be a part of the community,” Brennan said.

Zink said the idea is not unprecedented; child riders have received medallions for several years, and there were experiments with commemorative belt buckles being handed out for a few years, as well.

“However, the concept of presenting a medal to every finisher in Silverton is both new and thoughtful,” Zink said. “It’s community support like this that’s kept the Iron Horse fresh and evolving for 40 years.”

ted@durangoherald.com

A close-up of the back of a medal, designed by Bayfield artist Cindy Coleman, that will be awarded to finishers of the Citizen Tour in Saturday’s Iron Horse Bicycle Classic. Enlarge photo

Courtesy of Cindy Coleman

A close-up of the back of a medal, designed by Bayfield artist Cindy Coleman, that will be awarded to finishers of the Citizen Tour in Saturday’s Iron Horse Bicycle Classic.

Irish Embassy Pub co-owner Mike Graham models one of the medals the local tavern had made for the 40th Annual Iron Horse Bicycle Classic. All Citizen Tour Riders who complete Saturday’s ride will be given one of the commemorative medals after they cross the finish line in Silverton. The medals were designed by Bayfield artist Cindy Coleman. Enlarge photo

Courtesy of Cindy Coleman

Irish Embassy Pub co-owner Mike Graham models one of the medals the local tavern had made for the 40th Annual Iron Horse Bicycle Classic. All Citizen Tour Riders who complete Saturday’s ride will be given one of the commemorative medals after they cross the finish line in Silverton. The medals were designed by Bayfield artist Cindy Coleman.