Wow, that was hard! If interested, here's a write-up. Ours results are under Dan Minert, Cit Tandem on the Milliseconds site. BTW, the two overall fastest finishers were Masters 45+ racers and they were fighting it out, not working together. New course record, 9hrs 6 min! Mark Zimbelman (48), the winner is my teammate, super nice guy, never even rides on Sunday (Hey, we're in Utah, we're Mormons, we go to church instead, its what we do).
In March our friends and local tough tandemers Theon and Stacy Rawlings and Sam and Sheila Knight suggested to my wife Debbie and me that we ride lotoja together on tandems this year. Deb thought that would be cool but unreasonable. So I signed us up, then told her about it. After a couple of days worrying, she decided to tackle it head on, and she ordered me to buy a nice, lighter tandem (rough life). Los tres tandems started training in April, typically with Saturday 6:30AM, 4-5 hour high effort rides like sardine, black smith fork, old snow basin road and trappers, 35 mile Wednesday night rides, and 2or3 more solo rides per week. Doug and Susan White also joined our training team (not the race) and did great on their first season of tandeming.
We decided we would stick together in the race to make sure each of us would finish OK. Nine tandems started in our Cit-Tandem/Cit 35+ group on race day. Pace was a quick 23-24mph to Preston. We were separated during the feedzone, but we had planned to meet at the Strawberry neutral feedzone so each of us started up the 24 mile Strawberry climb. The Debbie motor was humming and Sam said that he was worried that we were passing tons of short-bikes on the climb. I said “What’s to worry about? We feel great!” Los tres tandems came together right at the false summit, perfect timing.
Used the neutral feed zone up there, then the tandem freight train descended at 50+mph, continued rolling at ~29mph almost to the next highway. Once it flattened out we saw 30-40 short-bike tapeworms dangling off the back. I dropped back and encouraged and shamed 1/3 of them into a paceline that we kept until Montpelier. Stopped for a quick bottle and food exchange and rolled immediately out again.
The climb to Geneva summit was at medium pace as we could feel the toll of the early efforts. A 55mph descent quickly got us to the turn for the next climb, and we started up Salt River pass with a slight tailwind. The last mile was at 6mph in our lowest gear (30-23), it got really hot, and Theon was suffering through bad leg cramps, but we quickly regrouped at the summit, the first cit-tandems there, and bombed downhill together again.
By 150 miles Deb and I were both shot and sick, and drafted into the Alpine feedzone where we pulled onto the grass and laid down. We told our friends to go ahead, that we’d be OK and come along later. But Sheila was sick too and said we should get back on the bike and be sick together. After quite a bit of boosting and encouragement from team and pit crew, we reluctantly followed them back onto the course.
Our friends moderated the speed up front to keep the tandem train together. Debbie was feeling pretty bad but never stopped pedaling and continued to have a positive/ hopeful attitude. Another tandem was five minutes back. Just before Hoback, Theon had to sit up for a bad cramp, and we were shot, so I told the Knights to go defend our honor and try for 1st while we stayed with the Rawlings to make sure they finished alright. After a minute the Rawlings motored up and it was all we could do to stay in their wake and “help” them from behind as they pushed the headwind through Jackson. Debbie repeatedly dug deep to keep us going. We finished the 206 miles,1-Knights, 2-Rawlings, 3-Minerts. It was a very hard but good experience (now), each of the three girls were superwomen, my two buddies supermen. Our marriages are better, not worse, because of it. But I definitely wouldn't recommend a tandem lotoja to everyone. -- Dan