"The 33"-Road Bike Racing - Lotoja
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09-09-07, 10:10 PM
I just got back from LOTOJA where I had an awesome time. It was another incredible year of racing with gorgeous weather and great support. This time it was a family affair with me and my brother doing it as a relay with mom and dad driving the support car. We finished in about 11:46. Needless to say I am pooped!
I will write a race report in a few days...
This is a great race. Anyone who loves hills and long distances should try it out. (Racer Ex, PizzaMan???)
Who else went???
Great job! I finished right at dusk with an official time of 13:01. I was whipped after that last big hill climb. Butt hurts in three different places, left knee is kind of swollen but don't feel too bad otherwise. :)
I'm just glad I finished and got that "Official Lotoja Finisher" gear medal. Now I can officially sport the "LOTOJA" sticker on my car. :) I think my official standing is 1157 out of 1420 finishers.
I wish I had trained on hills more. I think its safe to say I probably won't be doing this race again except maybe as part of a relay. This has been my most memorable race to date though. I had this almost spiritual experience crossing the finishing line.
Alpine Feed Zone @ 159 miles: My daughters had to take a pic of my helmet hair:
Cresting Salt River Pass, aka, the King/Queen of the mountain pass:
My awesome support crew:
09-10-07, 04:07 PM
This event still really piques my interest for some reason....
09-10-07, 10:44 PM
Hello everyone! I've just recently poured myself back into reality after blending my muscles and nerves into obliteration on the LOTOJA race. This was my first one, actually my first bike race since High School (a long time ago!). I had quite the experience. I was lucky enough to be placed in the first group out on the cat 5 classification. What a great group! All was going well for me until about mile 10. No, I did not miss a '0' I really meant mile 10. We rounded a corner, the pack began the "after corner sprint" so I shifted to my big ring in front, at least that's what I thought I did, the cable to my front derailleur broke leaving me with no front derailleur! I drifted back to the neutral support van and asked if they had a cable in their supplies. "No cables, sorry!" came the response. Lucky for me I had my trusty cell phone, and began calling my support crew, my lovely wife and my father. I asked them to please come up with a solution for me by the time I reached the Preston feed zone. When I rolled into the feed zone they sort of put their hands in the air and said good luck, hugs and kisses and all that. I was stuck in the little ring in front, not so bad for the next leg of the race over Strawberry pass. I felt great heading up to the top, everything but the old tummy. I must have over loaded on the sugar because breakfast decided that it wasn't going to share any space in there with all of that sugar. Out came everything I had stuffed into my mouth between 4am and the last feed zone. The loss of weight must have really helped because I felt like a new man and climbed the rest of the way, passing some of the riders who had expressed their sympathies while passing the puking pedaler. Cresting the summit and flying down the backside in the most exaggerated tuck I could possibly get into rejuvenated my spirit. A bee decided to hitch a ride inside my helmet on the descent, but he never did much but tickle my bald scalp while exploring his new transit. And then came the flats into Montpellier. Trying to stay with a pack of riders, all of which have a big ring to work with, while you are spinning your feet into a blurred spectacle is not the easiest of things but I made do and made it to the next stop. All grins my dad held up a pair of tin snips and said "close your eyes, I have a plan." Always the obedient son, I closed my eyes and listened to the snip, snip, snaaaaaap, as my dad cut the crippled derailleur away from my bike. He thought this was great! Handing me a screwdriver he said, "Meet your new derailleur, it's not shimano". I pulled off my helmet and asked Mr. Bee to please abandon ship. And my bride and dad sent me off, with the chain cradled between the teeth of my large ring and wished me luck once again. Climbing through the dirt and dropping down over the make-shift bridge of side by side flat bed trailers, somehow made me feel like part of the Wild West. I guess that's exactly where I was, back in the saddle again. I climbed Geneva pass in the big ring, not as bad as I thought, and descended like a mad man. What a great ride! On the way down the canyon my chain decided to part company with my big ring and vaulted to the pavement while clinging to my right crank arm. I reached down, and surprisingly enough pulled the slack from the back derailleur and placed it ever so gently back where it belonged. All was good until the yellow signs of "king & queen of the mountain" loomed in the not too far distance. My trusty support crew was parked near the sign and my dad yelled to me "don't forget to shift to your small ring". He's always been great at pointing out the obvious. My mind wondered, "do I push it for all Iíve got, or do I conserve a little energy for the remaining 99 miles from the summit? My legs answered, dumb a__, we're not rushing anywhere right now! And so it was, just a slow burn up salt river pass. When I crested the top, I had wondered where the running devil was like I always had see on the tour. Oh well, I'm not Lance, and the damned devil would definitely be able to out run my bike to the top at this point anyway. Another wonderful descent, except for the headwind, and I was on my way to Afton. Other than the occasional chain problems, and the slight wind in my face, things went reasonably well. The overly exaggerated rumble strips from Afton on were always a nice wake-up call when the mind began to drift and the vibration helped renew the feeling in my butt cheeks. It took two red bulls and a lot of gu, an apple, and half an orange to get me to Jackson but the ride was great! I joined with many fellow cyclists to battle the course at different segments; I made new friends yet never got their names. And believe it or not I fell in love with the the race! Thanks to all of the support crews, volunteers and generous people who gave of themselves for the crazy cyclists wanting to tear apart the bodies they have built all summer, just to see what they are capable of. The organizers were top notch, non egotistical, and real. And the race itself exemplified the virtues of the planners and organizers. I had the best support crew out there, without them I would have wound up a bumbling grieving mess. All of the encouragement was amazingly turned into 2nd 3rd and 4th winds. I almost forgot. At the last neutral stop at Hoback Junction, the support van whom I had asked for a cable pulled in as I was downing swedish fish and a red bull. The driver yelled at me "You the one that needed a cable?" I confirmed that I was and he smiled as he told me that he did in fact have a cable in his kit and didn't know it. I think that he actually saved me time by not trying to fix my bike anyway. I'm sure the repair would have taken much longer than any disadvantage that the problem caused. He was a great guy and I appreciate him Giving up a Saturday to drive behind a bunch of head cases like us! My time was 10:58:33. 58 minutes and 33 seconds longer than my goal. I was a little ambitious for my first one. I had an awesome team "Spider Bait" cool name and cool jersey's (we thought so anyway). Thanks again to everyone involved, for the most amazing day in the saddle. I'll be one of the first to be sitting in front of the computer come April fighting for my chance to participate once again!
09-11-07, 07:50 AM
great job guys.
z*daddy, Paragraphs are your friend.
09-11-07, 08:38 AM
Sorry, did I mention that I had just poured my self back into reality?
09-11-07, 12:13 PM
This event still really piques my interest for some reason....
Yes, sign up for next year and commiserate with me about the lack of air at 7800'
Awesome read zdaddy. Were you wearing an orange colored kit by chance? I would kill for your time and I didn't have any mechanical problems. I can't believe overall fastest time was 9:06 or something crazy like that.
It was nice being able to get in on some of the Pace lines all along the way and I wish I had gotten the names of the gal and guy that told me to hop on to theirs for the final few miles as that really helped me out.
09-11-07, 10:03 PM
Yep, I had a red/orange spider jersey. There were 5 of us. Were you ever part of our train?
09-11-07, 10:06 PM
9:06 was amazing, but from a 48 year old? That totally blows me away! It gives some of us late starters a lot of hope.
Were you at the awards ceremony when they anounced the winning time? I teared up, he got a standing ovation from all of us. Pretty good when most of the crowd can barely stand.
Got LOTOJA #4 under the belt and now I have to work on my golf game and earning my 1000 mile pin in 2008. Three of my team mates are heading to the Everest Challenge-Lotoja was their warm up.
It does not sound fun to me.
The hardest thing about LOTOJA is having a life and still training for the ride. That issue keeps most riders from returning.
03-04-08, 11:29 AM
I shoot LOTOJA each year for National Sports photos (white Toyota van). If riders will let me know a few details of their 2007 ride such as actual time of day finish, jersey/helmet color, team name, BIB number I will search my archives of thousands of photos (at no charge) and provide a jpeg for posting with reports.
My brother is a rider, my family comes from Montana/Utah to support him. By covering the race for National Sports photos we cover some our expenses and return a portion of the proceeds to Epic Events and LOTOJA charities.
Here is a few of our shots: http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaelvaughan/sets/72157601941847408/
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