Log In

Reset Password

Iron Horse Bicycle Classic announces MTB race details

Race lap nods to 2001 World Cup race
The 2023 Iron Horse Bicycle Classic Subaru Mountain Bike racecourse will start and end at Chapman Hill with some serious climbing along the way. (Screenshot courtesy of IHBC)

This year’s Iron Horse Bicycle Classic Subaru Mountain Bike Race will hearken back to the past. The 5-mile course will use similar trails as the 2001 UCI World Cup race, won by Julien Absalon and Mary Grigson. The race will start and end at Chapman Hill and loop around the prominent mesa just east of downtown for a total of more than 500 feet of climbing per lap.

“This year’s mountain bike course has been ridden and raced many times by the sport’s biggest stars,” said race director Ian Burnett. “The Iron Horse cross country race has been a mainstay in the Durango cycling calendar for years, so we wanted to nod back to our history while creating a course that challenges the current crop of pro riders.”

Starting at the base of Chapman Hill, racers will storm toward the half-mile climb up Lion’s Den Trail before topping out on the mesa overlooking town. From here the course flattens out as it skirts around the east side of the Fort Lewis College campus. After some flowy yet tricky turns on the south side of the mesa, racers will tackle a few short, punchy climbs as they head back toward Chapman, where they will plunge down the ski hill amid throngs of spectators.

Racers will complete a set number of laps depending on which category they are a part of. The Open/Pro Men will do five laps while the Open/Pro Women will do four laps. The 19-34 men and women will also do four laps while most of the other categories will complete three laps.

There will be three waves of racers taking off throughout the day on May 28, and there are plenty of spectating opportunities along the course.

Mountain biking has been a mainstay at the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, which is known for the Durango-Silverton road race and tour, where riders “race the train” over two mountain passes for a total of 50 miles and 5,700 feet of elevation gain. In recent years, the event has also added the Alpine Bank La Strada La Plata gravel event, which will also start and end at Chapman Hill this year.

Both the long and short gravel courses will start off on city streets before tackling the loose and rocky Horse Gulch Road climb. Riders then head east toward the punchy Glockenspiel climb and the steady yet scenic Texas Creek climb. The short course is 59 miles with 5,400 feet of climbing. The long course adds an additional loop with rolling terrain for a total of 98 miles and 8,000 feet of climbing.

Durango’s cycling and mountain bike legacy – being home to hundreds of miles of singletrack and numerous Olympians – is closely linked with the Iron Horse, which began in 1972. In addition to the 2001 World Cup, Durango also hosted the inaugural UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in 1990.

Registration and more details about the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic at https://www.ironhorsebicycleclassic.com.