Hannah Bingham is no stranger to the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic women’s professional mountain bike race, but a course change took away familiarity for all the racers Sunday.
Bingham, the 2015 IHBC women’s mountain bike winner, turned in another victorious ride this year. The course ran in reverse of past years, giving the riders a much more difficult climb up Chapman Hill before descending back into downtown Durango and riding uphill into Steamworks Brewing Co.
Bingham, of Steamboat Springs, was able to get in front of Durango’s Emily Schadlach on the first climb of the second lap and rode strong the rest of the way. After finishing second place in the professional women’s road race from Durango to Silverton on Saturday, Bingham claimed the Queen of the Mountain bonus cash prize.
“This is a very unique and special event,” Bingham said. “I like to make a trip out of this weekend and come to Durango and do the full thing with the road race and mountain bike race. It was a great weekend.”
Bingham finished the 16-mile, three-lap race in 1 hour, 31 minutes, 34.3 seconds. Schaldach was second in 1:33:37.9, and Rebecca Gross from Golden was third in 1:34:07.9.
Durango’s Sarah Warren was fourth followed my a string of Durangoans filling the top 10. Katja Freeburn was fifth, Liz Carrington was sixth, Ellen Campbell was seventh, Caitlyn Kneller was eighth, McKenzie Winebarger was ninth and Trish Thomas was 10th. Brittany Cowan also turned in an 11th-place result.
“The first climb going into the second lap, I got away a bit,” Bingham said. “From there, I tried to go full gas.”
Schaldach was second in the Queen of the Mountain standings. She finished the road race in seventh. Durango’s Campbell was third in the Queen of the Mountain after placing ninth in the road race and seventh in the mountain bike.
“This is one of my favorite weekends of the year,” Schaldach said. “To see so many people I know and ride the trails I grew up riding, even with the course changeup, it was so fun. At least I know the trails, and I knew it would be super hard but so fun.
“I hope this event is motivating for a lot of people to get out and ride and get outsides, whatever that means for them.”
Schaldach noted the difficulty of going uphill into Steamworks, too. The ramp out the back of the building featured a 45-degree right turn into a steeper ramp onto the back patio of the bar. That ramp caused several riders difficulty, but the top pros made it look simple. Schaldach said she prefers going in the front window of Steamworks and flying down the ramp out the back door as in previous years, but she was happy the change helped give more riders a chance to experience the experience of racing through a bar. “If more people get a chance to ride through the bar, then it’s totally worth it,” Schaldach said. “If that was the change that made it worth it, then that’s good because everyone should be able to do that.”