On Saturday I rode in LoToJa with my dad and my Uncle Mike. LoToJa is a 206 mile 1 day bike race from Logan, Utah to Jackson, Wyoming. My dad and my uncle have rode in it before, but this would be my first year. After driving support for 3 years I knew that even as a relay team we would be pushing it to finish especially if the elements—namely the wind was not in our favor.
These photo’s are out of order, but here is me getting ready to leave from the top of Salt Creek pass. I rode into Afton and touched base with my Aunt Connie at the feed zone and then took off for Alpine.
My dad jumped back on the bike in Alpine and we rode up Snake River Canyon together. I was glad to be with him because I’m a lot more comfortable pulling with him because we have done a few rides together. We pulled the guy in the orange and blue for awhile, he was from Ogden.
Here we are passing our support team—mom, my sister Mindy, & Dave. It was so fun to have them stop and cheer for us—it really kept us pedaling.
This is me going through Star Valley. I pulled with a group of guys from Highland most of the way. They kept me going fast and this was by far the fastest pace I have kept all season.
This is my Uncle Mike cooling off at the top of the King of the Mountain climb. He was so tough and just kept on going. Some guy stopped and told him he needed a coke and gave him a cold can to finish on the climb.
My good friend Nora got me this necklace for my birthday when I finished the Cache Valley Century. I wore it on race day and as I was coming of Salt Creek Pass I could hear it jingling.
My Uncle works for Stryker Orthopedics—if you need a hip give him a call. So, our team name was STRYKER. I loved the jersey and must say I felt very official to be all decked out in team gear.
This is not a sign you want to see on race day. Just outside of Preston after Mindy about ran over a flagger lady we got a flat tire on the car. Thanks to my husbands many skills we had the donut on in 7 minutes flat. We drove back to Preston and fortunately found a place open at 8:15 in the morning and were back on the road pretty quickly.
Here is the group of guys I rode with through Star Valley. They were such great guys and even slowed down for us in Jackson trying to get us to the finish line, but we had already turned in our time chip and were so happy with our ride (plus it was pitch black) that we stopped at the Jackson sign pictured below.
The ride up Snake River Canyon was so pretty and dad and I kept a pretty decent pace. We kept picking up riders and trying to help them because we were not as tired as the individual riders. We picked up this lady and when she kept telling us we only had 15 miles left we finally had to break her heart and tell her it was more like 26. After that she kind of went delirious. We saw her at the Jackson sign riding with her support car behind her for light. I wonder if she made it to the finish line.
I will post my dad’s recap of the day because he is a great story teller. It was a great day, I felt like a kid on Christmas morning the whole time I was on the bike. Next year I want to do the “big” king of the mountain climb and hoping my mom will not see this I do plan on riding the whole thing in 2-3 years after I can build up some strength on the bike. And just putting it out there to the universe who keeps thinking my family can not lick this race—I will finish!
Here is my dad’s version--
Well, for any of you that are interested, here is the blow-by-blow account of LOTOJA 2011. For those of you that may not know what this is, it is a one-day bike race of 206 miles from Logan, Utah to Teton Village near Jackson.
For the past three years Mike’s family and my family have been involved in doing it together. It has turned into an annual party, and I do mean party.
This year it started on Friday September 9th when Mike and Connie rolled into to town to register. Mike and Brady drew out a ticket for the race and Dave did not. I met Mike at the registration to see what I would have to do to be able to start with Mike on Saturday morning. When I got there Bradey and Alli were there getting shirts. We visited and Bradey showed me what the bike numbers looked like. Mike got there and we visited and discussed RACE STRATAGEY. As I said, we are really into this.
Mike and Connie came out to our house for dinner. We had a great visit. We carb loaded on spaghetti, beans, salad and our SPECIAL apple pie. Connie can tell you about this if you are interested. It has special ingredients.
After dinner we visited and they went back to their hotel. They usually stay at the luxurious Anniversary Inn, but this year had to settle for the less palatial Marriott.
Mindy is the driving force behind our team and keeps us together and entertained.
Robyn and Dave were coming up also and Robyn was going to ride with us also. They got to our house after we had gone to bed. We were getting up at 3:45 to have a good breakfast before the race. We got up, had breakfast, and were at the starting line at 5:30. Mike was there with his bike. He had ridden over from the motel.
I had to go around the corner to start with Mike because I didn’t have a ticket. I tried to get one, but they only give out so many. Anyway at 6:00 we started and were on our way. It was still dark but we had headlamps and the temperature was perfect, unlike last year when it was on 38 degrees.
We went out through the fields and were making really good time. Riding with Mike is a treat. He gets out in front and just leads the pack. I did fine until outside of Preston Id., when I had to stop and go into a cornfield to answer nature’s call. That put me a ways behind Mike, and I lost the pack of riders we were with. I finally caught another group and rolled into town a little behind Mike. It is about 31 miles Preston. We got into Preston about 7:45.
I rode from Preston to Montpelier by myself. Well, not really by myself, because there were 1500 other riders on the road. The wind picked up and we had a head wind all the way up Immigration canyon and into Montpelier. It is about 45 miles or so to Montpelier. Immigration is 23 miles of uphill riding. I got to the next stop and was glad to leave maybe the hardest leg of the ride to Mike. My feet were killing me and I was tired!!!
Meanwhile back at the ranch, Mindy, Les, Dave, and Robyn had tried to drive off the support route and the flagger lady had really got them. Then they had a flat tire. The tire was ruined so they had to go back into Preston and get a new one. Luckily they found another route around the crazy flagger lady. Dave set a record for changing a flat and buying a new tire.
Mike took off from Montpelier and rode Montpelier Canyon and Salt Creek Canyon. This section of the ride is a tough one. Montpelier is gentle up to the reservoir and then it gets really steep. Mike was great. He went over the top like a deer. We caught up with him in Salt Creek Canyon and leap frogged with him to start of the King of the Mountain portion. He asked me how long the climb was and I told him it was two miles. Actually it was 3.2. You are tired and hot and it is really tough. We went to the top and waited and waited. No Mike. Come to find out, some guy in a car thought Mike looked like he needed a Coke so Mike pulled over and had refreshments with some stranger. He said it was a guy, but it was most likely some biker babe from Sturgis. This is a really tough part of the ride and Mike did a really good job. While we were waiting for Mike we decided to send Robyn on ahead to Afton. Mike got to the top, refreshed himself with a bottle of water to the face and off he went. We caught up with him out of the canyon and he had a tailwind and was hitting between 27 and 28 mph at times. He was flying. This leg of the race is also about 45 miles or so.
We got to Afton and Connie had sent Robyn on ahead. She was going to ride from Afton to Alpine. We waited in Afton until Mike got there and then we went to find Robyn. She was flying and was almost out of the county when we caught her. She had braided her red hair into two braids and was quite a sight with the braids flying behind. We had her stop and we put the timing chip on her leg and got here going just in time to catch four guys flying along. They had her jump on with them and because she was fresh she really made them work. They were nice guys and LET her pull some of the way.
Mike and Connie decided not to go up the canyon into Jackson. We weren’t sure how far we would ride so it was easier for them to break off at Alpine. We really missed them. They were so fun and Mike is just a super rider.
At the elk refuge outside Alpine I got back on the bike and when Robyn came through, minus her biker buddies, I jumped on with her. We didn’t stop in Alpine just busted on through. The Snake River Canyon was gorgeous. It was cool and there was no wind. We stayed at about 16, 17 mph hour all the way to Hoback Jct. In the canyon there was this crazy girl who decided to ride with us. She got on our wheel for a while. She kept saying we only had a few miles to finish line when in reality it was still a long ways. I think the sun had affected her. At Hoback we pulled over for a minute and this crazy girl started yelling at us about her support team. We tried to help, but she didn’t want to listen. We headed for Jackson and she stayed with us for a while. We slowed down to help her but the guys Robyn had been riding with caught us and we jumped on with them and took off. They were great and we were flying. They dropped us outside of Jackson and Robyn and I rode into town at about 8:15. I know the pictures make it look like it was still really light, but it was almost pitch black.
Mindy drove Robyn into a service station for a pit stop and we waited by the sign for them to come back. In the mean time the crazy girl came by with an SUV behind her with the flashers on. Last we saw of her.
We had a great day of riding. Mike and Robyn were simply awesome. The weather was perfect. Mike and Robyn rode two legs each and I was able to do three. We are already planning for next year. Get bikes and come and join us.