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Payer gets her first Iron Horse victory

‘It’s fun. I’ve been trying since I’ve lived here'
Kira Payer wins the 2022 Iron Horse Bicycle Classic pro women's road race Saturday in Silverton. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

After five years of trying, Kira Payer succeeded in winning her first Iron Horse Bicycle Classic road race Saturday, crossing first in 2 hours, 47 minutes, 34.5 seconds.

Cyclists compete in the 50th annual Iron Horse Bicycle Classic women’s pro road race Saturday from Durango to Silverton. (Nathan Van Arsdale/Ballantine Communications)

“It’s fun. I’ve been trying since I’ve lived here,” she said. “I had good legs today, and it just fell into place.”

Payer, who rides for DNA Pro Cycling, said she worked together with Sarah Sturm of Specialized throughout the race, and they ended up crossing first and second.

“We were a little team,” Payer said.

Payer, however, got a little separation on the last downhill to take the win.

Kira Payer leads a group of riders during the 50th annual Iron Horse Bicycle Classic women’s pro road race Saturday from Durango to Silverton. (Nathan Van Arsdale/Ballantine Communications)

“I felt she deserved the win,” Sturm said. “It was special to see her go for it.”

Sturm wasn’t planning on racing. She was recovering from COVID-19 and has a big race coming up, the Unbound Gravel 200 in Kansas.

Kira Payer, left, Katie Clouse, center, and Sarah Sturm celebrate after taking the top three spots in the 50th annual Iron Horse Bicycle Classic women’s pro road race Saturday from Durango to Silverton. Payer won, followed by Sturm and Clouse. Photo by Nathan Van Arsdale/Ballantine Communications

“Something is wrong with me,” Sturm said. “I can’t not race.”

She said she tried to keep her heart rate down and keep it comfortable.

“It was special,” she said. “Because of that I got to ride with all of these girls.”

Sturm finished second, 16 seconds after Payer.

Katie Clouse finished third in 2:45:16 and was followed by 2021 Colorado high school state mountain biking champion Bailey Cioppa, Lauren Aggeler, Mindy Caruso, Ashley Frye, Erin Osborne, Ruth Holcomb and Madelyn Roberson in 10th.

Holcomb said the Iron Horse is the only road race she does each year.

“You can’t miss the hometown road race,” she said. Holcomb has been competing in Europe this season in the UCI mountain bike World Cup in the U23 division, which she said better suits her strengths.

“It’s pretty different,” she said. “In mountain biking, my strengths are my skill and the downhills. On a road bike, it’s not as much skill compared to who has the most endurance and is the strongest.”

Holcomb started the race strong but pulled over for a while because of stomach issues, she said.

“It’s always fun to do a home race,” Sturm said. “I race all over the country and the world, but this is the reason I do it – to be around these people, my friends and the community. It’s just a special day.”

For complete results, visit https://my.raceresult.com/203806/.

Kira Payer descends a mountain pass on her way to winning the 50th annual Iron Horse Bicycle Classic women's pro road race on Saturday from Durango to Silverton. Photo by Nathan Van Arsdale/Ballantine Communications
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