Durango sure does know how to throw a party and they’ve been doing it every Memorial Day for over 40 years with the IHBC. This year mother nature cooperated and we were showered with sunshine and warm temperatures for the entire weekend of races.
Saturday is the classic Durango to Silverton RR, climbing two nearly 11,000 ft passes on the way to Silverton which is nestled in the San Juan mountains at 9,300. The road race is only 50 miles but once you roll the 15 miles out the valley there isn’t much coasting. I have fond memories of Rishi Greawal winning the race the first year I did it and riding along side guys like JohnnyT and Ned. One thing has remained the same over all those years, Ned is still up there turning the screws. We crested Coalbank pass with a group of 5, Ned, Payson McElveen, Ben Sontag, Chris Blevins and myself. I’ve never made it to Silverton with the lead group but by the top of Molas I was barely hanging on and it was going to come down to a sprint. I led it out and managed to pull out of my pedal shortly after. I don’t know if it was good luck or bad because Blevins tangled with Payson and hit the deck hard. Payson edged out Ben at the line and I came 4th. As disappointed as I was about pulling out of the pedal I was happy to keep the rubber side down.
Here is a little taste of the race
Sunday was the MTB race in downtown Durango. We start and finish on Main St and use some of the town trails that link FLC to town. The coolest part of the event is riding through Steam Works brewery. They take the front window out and we ride right through the bar and off the back deck. There have to be at least 1,000 people inside and out of the brewery, it’s such a unique thing.
I knew from last year getting into the single track was critical because there isn’t much passing up the nature trail or along the rim. I managed to get a small advantage before hitting the Lion’s Den climb and keep it for the 3 laps to finish. I also avoided hitting a bear that ran out in front of me on the descent along the front hill. It was awesome to have my brother come in second. All and all it was an awesome weekend of racing.
There are tons of pictures and info on the race if you’re interested at: http://www.durangoherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Site=DU&Date=20160530&Category=NEWS01&ArtNo=529009997&Ref=PH&SectionCat=css#/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=DU&Date=20160530&Category=NEWS01&ArtNo=529009997&Ref=PH&Item=1&NewTbl=1&MaxH=400
While we were racing around the Southwest the big showdown was happening in France at the 3rd round of the World Cup. That WC was the last chance for anyone to automatically qualify for the US MTB Olympic team, no one did. It is going to be a hard coaches selection with no one having a break out performance and only one slot up for grabs due to the countries’ poor ranking over the last 2 years. I’m glad I don’t have to pick the mtb or road teams for the games.
I’m off to Augusta for the Marathon National Champs this weekend. I had a great time racing there last year, 100 KM of rocky, rooty, tree covered single track. It’s one month later this year and instead of mid 70s I think we’re going to be racing in mid 90s and plenty of humidity. It’s going to feel like racing in soup after the past few weeks in cool, thin dry aired Durango.
I wonder how those stream crossings are going to be running this weekend……