'Go Joe Go'

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'Go Joe Go'

For Joe Williams, Iron Horse is more than fun; it's therapy
Cyclist Joe Williams, leading a team of supporters up the Animas Valley on County Road 203 during a training ride for the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, uses cycling to help slow Parkinson's disease, which is causing him to lose control of the left side of his body.
Cyclist Joe Williams rides with a team of supporters across Hermosa Creek on County Road 203 during a training ride for Saturday’s the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic. All the riders have stories and reasons for being there. After learning in July 2010 that he has Parkinson’s, a doctor advised him to stay active to keep the pathways working from his brain to his body as best he could.
Cyclist Joe Williams rides up the Animas Valleys on County Road 203 during a training ride for Saturday’s Iron Horse Bicycle Classic.
Cyclist Joe Williams, second from left, takes a moment for a group photo with his team of supporters before a training ride Wednesday to prepare for Saturday’s Iron Horse Bicycle Classic.

'Go Joe Go'

Cyclist Joe Williams, leading a team of supporters up the Animas Valley on County Road 203 during a training ride for the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, uses cycling to help slow Parkinson's disease, which is causing him to lose control of the left side of his body.
Cyclist Joe Williams rides with a team of supporters across Hermosa Creek on County Road 203 during a training ride for Saturday’s the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic. All the riders have stories and reasons for being there. After learning in July 2010 that he has Parkinson’s, a doctor advised him to stay active to keep the pathways working from his brain to his body as best he could.
Cyclist Joe Williams rides up the Animas Valleys on County Road 203 during a training ride for Saturday’s Iron Horse Bicycle Classic.
Cyclist Joe Williams, second from left, takes a moment for a group photo with his team of supporters before a training ride Wednesday to prepare for Saturday’s Iron Horse Bicycle Classic.
Rain likely for race day

If you can't handle the truth about this weekend's weather, it may be a good idea to skip to the next story.
The dirty lowdown: The National Weather Service is all but guaranteeing precipitation during Saturday's 43rd running of the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic.
“We're expecting it will be a cool and wet ride,” said Joe Ramey, meteorologist with the service's Grand Junction office.
An unseasonably strong low-pressure system is pumping moisture right into the San Juan Mountains, Ramey said Thursday. He said models show 1 to 2 inches of precipitation falling as rain or snow in the mountains from Thursday through Sunday. One weather model paints more than 2 inches of rain.
Iron Horse Director Jeff Frost said in a voice mail Thursday evening that the weather is not a concern at this point. Organizers will evaluate weather on the passes early Saturday.
“I'm not really thinking about it until Saturday morning because it changes so frequently,” Frost said. “We make a decision about 6 a.m. Saturday morning.”
Weather could affect more than the bike races, which will begin with Saturday's road ride from Durango to Silverton and continue with Sunday's criterium and mountain bike race, and conclude with Monday's time trial.
Ramey said he'd been in touch with Butch Knowlton, La Plata County's director of emergency preparedness. Rain on existing mountain snowpack increases melt and adds to the amount of drainage this time of year.
“A pretty good surge into local rivers” is possible, Ramey said.
For Saturday morning, Ramey, a former bike racer who competed three times in the Iron Horse, strongly suggested a couple of layers, a rain jacket and gloves. Half-joking, he suggested using fenders.
“There is no reason to be wearing shorts on Saturday,” he said. “The potential is there that it's going to be very cold. And they need to be ready for that weather over the passes.”
Light snow is possible on the passes.
“Saturday morning, the road could have sleet or snow pellets that will probably be melting off pretty quickly,” Ramey said.
The course has been closed to riders three times in its 42-year history. Each time, it was because of snow on race day.
In 2008, the race and ride were called off before they began. In 1997, riders were stopped at Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort, just before they headed up Coal Bank Pass; it was the first time no one finished the race, which was first run in 1972.
In 1996, about 400 riders were evacuated off Coal Bank and Molas passes, and many were treated for hypothermia after a severe snowstorm hit near Silverton. Two were briefly hospitalized. Weather also hit in 1995, but everyone was allowed to finish.
johnp@durangoherald.com

Today's Iron Horse events

For more information, visit www.ironhorsebicycleclassic.com.
Packet Pick Up, noon to 8 p.m., Durango Community Recreation Center, 2700 Main Ave.

To donate:


Help the Go Joe Go team by visiting this fundraising website.

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