Wanting to check something off my bucket list, I decided to attempt the famous “Iron Horse Classic” route in Durango, Colorado. The “Iron Horse Classic” is an annual bike race from Durango to Silverton where you more-or-less race Durango’s steam-driven locomotive. Although I wasn’t actually doing the established race, it was the same route. My thoughts were centered around viewing the fall colors in the Durango area while racing the train.
After a night out camping, I lined up at the start of the race on the platform next to the trains. The locomotive pulled out of the garage, onto the track, and backed up on the main track to connect to the passenger cars. The engineer saw me from the main window of the train and in order to intimidate me, I decided to release all of the steam from the train as it connected with the passenger cars- burying me in a cloud of steam and ash.
Once the dust cleared, the engineer, grinning, poised, “wanna race?”
Soon enough the race was on. The ride took me through downtown Durango and up and over the nearby mountain range. It was a spectacular ride- one of the best I’ve ever been on. The thought of keeping a steady pace kept me from stopping too long gazing at the views. After all, there was a train to beat!
Only 15 miles into the ride, a thunderstorm appeared over the mountains. Of course, the weather wasn’t in the forecast and the approaching storm ended my ride before I made it to Silverton. After all, I promised myself not to mess with lightning again.
After another night of camping, I left Durango without finishing my battle with the train. There will be another date…sometime in the spring. Where the train and my bike will meet again!
Nick is the owner and regular content writer for Southwest Microadventures. When he’s not writing, you can find him rock climbing, peak bagging, mountain biking, backpacking, or drinking strong coffee.