This is the third year we have gone down to the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic. It is usually one of my favorite races even though I have to ride in a peleton. The group starts off and stays together for about 10 miles or so. The pace is even—just simply cruising along. Then at the base of the climb things break up and it is more like a mountain bike race, but with pavement and skinny tires. In the past I have found my rhythm early and just climbed. I was really excited for this race to see if my fitness has picked up with such a sketchy start to my season. The other aspect that makes this race especially fun is we travel through moab. So we, of course, bring our mountain bikes because who goes through moab, but does not ride.
On Thursday Brad meets us we pack his Element with three road bikes on the rack, three 29” single speeds (SS) in the vehicle and camping gear for all of us. It was a tight squeeze but we got it. We cruise down to moab, set up camp and sleep. In the morning we packed up camp and do a quick, easy trip up and down amasa back. It was a perfect pre-race interval ride—a couple steep climbs to really get the heart rate up. As we are leaving the trail, it starts to rain. Perfect timing. On the way to Durango it is a little of everything—rain, snow, and hail. We are hopeful that the weather will break for the race. We all did Lotoja in 2005 and know how miserable cold mountain riding can be.
In Durango we get our packets, set up camp and do all the usual stuff. It is raining on and off. There were a couple huge claps of thunder but we were lucky enough to be indoors for each of them. The intermittent rain continued all day and night. At 6 am, they announce that half way to Silverton they had received five inches of snow and the road race was canceled. I had really mixed emotions about this. While part of me was excited to not have to get ready and be miserable and wet, there was the disappointment of not being able to ride/race at all.
So we packed up all of our wet gear—and there was a lot of wet gear—and got out of there as it continued to rain and snow. We were going back to moab. Paul was kind enough to take our road bikes so we had a lighter more convenient load. The ride back seemed incredibly long, but we made it back set up camp again. We dried out all of our stuff and rode Sovereign. Sovereign makes just about everything situation better. It was delightful. We had bratwurst over the fire for dinner.
The next day was porcupine rim on the SS. I was so excited for this. We rode from town and upon reaching the trail head we decided to go on and do the lower portion. We continued to climb and it got steep! We found the new single track and made our way down. It was fun and smooth. There were a couple crazy sections though that had to be walked. I am not sure if it was worth the four arduous miles on the road. I had a blast on the SS. It was awesome. Next time I would wear gloves with padding because my hands got rocked and it started to effect my riding. I can not wait to do this again. It almost made up for not being able to ride to Silverton—almost.