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‘Have fun, don’t crash’

By Robert Galin Herald staff writer

Two of the top three riders in Saturday’s Iron Horse McDonald’s Citizen Tour were locals, besting more than 1,500 other riders on their trek from College Avenue and Camino del Rio to Silverton.

First place was taken by Kenneth Monger of Bayfield, followed by Sarah Santilli of Durango and Dawn Carlisle of Indian Hills.

Cyclists started their race to Silverton at 8 a.m. when the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad blew its whistle several times.

About 15 minutes later, a smaller group of cyclists started their shorter trip to Durango Mountain Resort in the Coca-Cola Road Race, also known as the Quarter Horse.

In the women’s category, Santilli and Carlisle were first and second, followed by Durango resident Amanda Saddler. There were 421 registered female riders in the Citizen Tour.

Monger led the 1,205 male cyclists, with AJ Peil of Phoenix grabbing second place and Durango’s own David McKeever taking third.

Full results with times for these two races are available at www.chasing3.com/ironhorse-2013-results.

The Quarter Horse race gives cyclists a chance to see what it might be like to ride the full Iron Horse Classic, said Jamie Link, a race official.

As Quarter Horse riders waited at the starting line on College Avenue behind two motorcycle police officers, announcer Jim Morehart of Morehart Murphy Regional Auto Center told the riders to “stay behind the police escort, have fun, don’t crash.”

Several people riding in the Quarter Horse to DMR said they had done the ride before.

Tim Palmer of Tucson, Ariz., was riding in his fourth Quarter Horse. He first rode in the event with three friends when he lived Clovis, N.M. The event also gives the friends a chance to get together, stay in Silverton and have some fun, he said.

Palmer has participated in other cycling events, such as the Santa Fe Century and El Tour de Tucson.

Similarly, Michelle Brown and Carol Taussig of Boulder were making the event a vacation to celebrate Brown’s 50th birthday. Brown came last year and rode with her husband.

She said she likes coming because of “the fact it’s in Durango.”

Her friend Taussig said they love coming to Durango for the climate, the brewpubs and other attributes of the area.

The friends are going all out this year as part of the birthday celebration, including staying at the Rochester Hotel.

After finishing at DMR, K.L. Hellenbach and Donnie Robertson of Richardson, Texas, near Dallas, said they also were in Durango with friends. Robertson is helping Hellenbach get interested in cycling.

This was Hellenbach’s first year in the race, but Richardson has been coming to the area for about 10 years, he said.

Hellenbach said she and Robertson prepared during the week by riding to Hesperus and other locales around the area.

Several teams on tandem bicycles also participated in Saturday’s races.

rgalin@durangoherald.com

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