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Destination: Durango, Colorado

  • By Eszter Horanyi
  • Published May. 11, 2012
  • Updated Oct. 11, 2012 at 4:42 PM EST
The Rim Trail around the Fort Lewis Campus has great views of town and the Animas River. Photo: MillerPerspectives | MillerPerspectives.Squarespace.com

Town

There are few towns in existence that embrace cycling to the level that Durango has. The town eats, sleeps, and breathes cycling, as is apparent by the number of high level cyclists that originate from, or move to the town in addition to the sheer number of bikes seen on the street on an average day.

Durango Devo

In order to promote youth cycling, Durango Devo was established in 2006. The program caters to riders from ages 5 to 24 and is split into eight different teams that are built upon each other to teach mountain bike skills and create lifelong mountain bikers.

At the highest level is the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory/DEVO Sweet Elite U-25 Team, which was formed as a reaction to the void felt by racers after graduating from collegiate racing scene but needing a little extra support before joining the professional ranks.

Fort Lewis College Cycling

Another aspect of the huge cycling culture in Durango is the existence of the Fort Lewis College Cycling Team. Ranked as the number one division I team in the nation, the team competes in all four of the collegiate cycling disciplines including mountain, road, cyclocross, and track. What started as a primarily mountain bike team has grown into a program that challenges in all disciplines of cycling, even though finding track time has been a challenge, with the nearest track being in Colorado Springs, nearly a six hour drive away.

Throughout the summer months, the town bustles with cycling related activities. One of the largest ones, the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic held from May 26th through the 28th, has grown to include the 50 mile road race from Durango to Silverton across Molas and Coalbank passes where racers strive to beat the Durango train also bound for Silverton, a downtown criterium, a time trial, and a mountain bike race.

In addition to the traditional races, the event also hosts a Cruiser Criterium with crazy bikes and costumes, a kids’ race, and a bike swap. Then there are weekly short track races, bike polo, and new for 2012, a downhill enduro from the top of Kennebeck Pass down to Durango.

But there’s more to cycling in Durango than organized events. With the small town feel, the streets are lined with bike lanes and bike paths and a significant number of trips around town are taken by bicycle rather than car. In fact, several parking spaces in downtown Durango have been converted to bicycle parking spaces with racks to hold large numbers of bicycles.

It’s the small things like the bicycle parking that make Durango such a unique mountain bike destination. Not only does it boast incredible trails, but it also has an incredible community that truly loves their bicycles.

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