The Iron Horse Bicycle Classic has changed its location from downtown Durango to Number 33, approximately 33 miles north of downtown. This relocation will free up space for participants riding the cruiser crit in downtown Durango. Therefore, there will be no downtown events this year. Though some may think that this relocation could impact business over Memorial Day weekend, business owners and leaders in Durango say they are not concerned about the change. In fact, they believe it will keep downtown more open and flowing.
As of Wednesday, 1906 cyclists were registered to bike from Durango to Silverton. The event over the weekend had a total of 2,388 registered attendees. Chris Oyler, CEO of Peak Food & Beverage, expects the company’s restaurants – Steamworks, El Morro, and Homeslice – to operate on par with a typical Memorial Day weekend. On the weekend of Memorial Day, many people ride bicycles, but other than that, many tourists usually visit Durango. Euler said, “Generally, there are about 50% more people overall this weekend.”
Jarrod Regan, owner of Primi Pasta & Wine Bar, believes that downtown road closures are good and bad for business. He said he helps businesses as well as alumni. During the last few years, Regan has observed that there are two big food out events that occur on the same weekend as the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic. Since Regan opened his Italian restaurant in 2020, he’s noticed that IHBC attendees often eat with him the night before a ride for “carbo-loading.” He said, “We are very busy all year round.” Therefore, even if there are a few less tourists, it won’t have a big impact on Friday and Saturday business.
For Silverton’s management, the Iron Horse event is one of the biggest weekends of the year. County spokeswoman Dean Gallegos said, “Remembrance Day weekend is generally very busy. Motorcycle and automobile traffic is starting to increase, not just on the Iron Horse, but along Highway 550. And with the weekend being his three-day weekend, all kinds of traffic is starting to get heavy.” In addition to the Iron Horse, the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is the second train to Silverton. Gallegos said it would be the earliest to run trains. She said they already had some restaurants saying they were doing better than they did last year.
Overall, the changes in the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic location will allow more space for participants, and it is not expected to have a significant impact on local businesses in Durango and Silverton over the Memorial Day weekend.