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Sunday, June 2, 2013

LOTOJA 2012–my race report


Oh how I miss Cache Valley. . .


This was the last warm-up ride before LOTOJA 2012
my friends and riding buddies Darcy & Kellie


It was a cool/chilly morning and the three of us decided to go for an easy spin just to make sure the legs and equipment were operating and behaving as they should. . .

It was a beautiful morning!


This was the 30 year Anniversary for LOTOJA. . . 

                                                    . . . and my 4th ride


This is packet pick-up and my good friend and riding buddy patiently waiting our turn. . .

it’s so very difficult to be patient!   

There is so much energy at these events, the entire summer of work and training is finally coming to an end and when all these athletes gather in one place. . .

. . . well, there is a tangible excitement and anxiety in the air. 


first we get stamped. . .  

in order to get this cool little stamp, you must be registered and then present your Photo ID proving you are who you say you are. . .

this is how the LOTOJA peeps know who is officially riding and racing at the start line.

without this stamp, they will not let you start, so it is very important!


my official number for 2012


The car is ready. . . 

am I ready?
. . . That is the 100 dollar question

I’ve worked hard this past year logging  4544.57 miles
with a time investment of over 295 hours

now before you are impressed that includes all of my indoor training hours through the winter months too.  1600 of those miles were done indoors on a trainer over the winter.  The trainer part is where you should be impressed!

. . . riding indoors on a trainer is pretty tough!!!

the outside stuff is fun :)

My goal for 2012 was a sub-12 hours which in my mind is pretty lofty, and today was the day the many hours of training paid off in the accomplishment of a challenge I set for myself . . .

My goals for 2013 are the same. . . 

                             to finish this ride faster than last year. . .

. . . but the training hasn't been NEARLY as focused or consistent. . . 

in fact I've kind of struggled. . .
but I committed to doing my best with what I have!


This is the start line on the morning of LOTOJA

Cyclists fill up an entire block!  This picture was taken at approx 6:45 am. . .

My start time was 7:06 and cyclists have been leaving every 3 minutes since 6:00 am, 
so this crowd is about 1/2 the participants. . .

                                                                                           . . . that’s a lot of bikes!

Here we are in the starting gate!

they check everyone to make sure they are officially registered, 
meaning they have their blue stamp and wrist band.


Then at the appointed time, they start the timer for your pack and off you go, the ride has officially begun at this point. . .


all appears pretty quiet, but my inner thoughts each year has always been. . . 

definitely not calm and quiet on the inside. . .


each pack begins with police escort and we cannot exceed 20 mph until we turn the corner at 
10th West. . .

. . .  then we are on our own.


This is the pack I was in. . .

notice that there are some great pictures that you have never seen before. . .

here we go, no turning back now, I certainly hope I’m ready for this. . .

this year was even more different and in some ways more exciting than usual. . .

. . . at least for me personally


Here we are, the Women’s citizens group 35+ and 45+ all headed to Jackson Wyoming. . . 

there are a few peeps who think we are slightly nuts for doing this, and yes we sign up because we WANT to do this ride!  

For me, not only is it something that I can say “I did that”, but it’s fun, and my support crew, which consists of my kids and family agree. . .

                                                                      we look forward to LOTOJA every year. . .  

it's sort of like Christmas, as soon as it’s over, we begin planning for next year to go again. . . 

. . . cool!


we ride through a lot of country roads, and it is beautiful.


Coming into Preston. . .

I heavily debated whether or not to stop in Preston this year, but there were a couple of newbies on the support crew team, and I felt it was important to give them the experience of Preston.  While it did slow me down just a tad, it was worth it.  However, next year I will ride through without stopping.

getting to Preston, which is only 35 miles, is a good basic warm-up for the rest of the ride, and I don’t find it necessary to stop there now.  The first couple of years I appreciated it, as I was pretty stressed about the whole ride and needed the mental and emotional boost from my support crew and family.


The night before, it is important to predetermine which “zone” within the feed-zone you are going to stop at.  each of these red signs are assigned a number. . .

which is visible from the other side. . .

 and we determined that we would meet at #6/7 meaning I would ride my bike to the end of 6 and the beginning of 7 and my support crew would be waiting there to give me water, nutrition, an encouraging word, and a hug as they sent me on my way.

The feed zones are between 35 and 47 miles apart, Preston which is a fast flat 35 miles has the lightest crowds as many cyclists choose to by-pass this stop. . .

                                                        . . . like I will next year.


One of the additions we had this year is a baby. . .

                           He did amazingly well on the trip

and it is a LONG day!  the average drive in a car to Jackson from Logan takes a little over 3 hours, on a bicycle it will take the very fastest riders 9 hours and me. . .

                                                      well about 11-12 hours. . . 

so it is a long day, a VERY long day.


this is our little Oreo. . . and we love him!


Montpelier, ID

the most congested feed zone of the race, also the most important. . .

one year when I was running support crew, I missed my brother . . .

bad, bad, bad!
I still don’t know if he has forgiven me!

Note, that if you are ever running support for someone in LOTOJA,


What is tricky, is that it is also the most congested, and the most cumbersome to get to, simply because motor traffic. . . ie: support crews . .  have a detour that goes so stinkin far around to get to the next destination after Preston, it’s called the Treasureton Cut Off and consists of a dirt road through desolate farm country.

Did I mention, that you should not miss your rider in Montpelier?  

. . . It truly is the most crucial stop in the entire race.


It was on the Treasureton Cutoff that Superman received his confirmation. . . 
                                       (follow the blue cars on the map after Preston)

. . . that he was going to marry me!

Of course I was completely oblivious to this event and for me I was riding my bike as I had prepared all summer. . .

my entire goal was to get to Jackson. . .

                                                            . . . faster than I did last year

my goal: sub 12 hours. . .


                     This is Afton. . .

and without doubt my most memorable stop. . . 

. . . and will be forever etched into my memory.

  • not because, my support crew was not there when I arrived. . .
  • not because I waited close to 10 minutes for them to show up . . .
  •  not because at this point I was most definitely on track to meet my time goal, the big climbs were over, and I was still feeling strong, 
  • or that the wind was cooperating and I was excited about my performance and KNEW the training and focus had paid off. . .
  • Not because, it was an awesome feeling to feel so strong and to be in the mainstream of cyclists, not at the tail-end of stragglers for a change

. . . I even passed a couple of riders in this section 

. . . now, that was cool :)
I was feeling so strong

No, this particular stop is memorable because,

. . . this is where I knew without doubt that I was going to marry Superman!

kind of an odd place for the spirit to tell me that, but that is exactly what happened.


  I clearly remember riding away thinking,

seriously . . .was that for real???


This is probably the most interesting “your support crew is here” attire I have ever seen at LOTOJA. . .  these two most assuredly stood out in the crowd!


I’m not here, but this is a great pace-line going from Afton to Alpine. . .


Alpine, Wyoming . . . the final stretch is upon us. . .

Hoback Junction is the most beautiful part of the ride, it is also the most difficult. . .

. . . after riding UPHILL ALL DAY,

in your mind you think you are going to drop down into Jackson, but that is not the case, it is a slight uphill from Alpine and at 160 miles, you are just sort of ready to be done for the day!

But here, my support crew. . .

                                                                         well. . .

they were late getting there AGAIN. . . a repeat of Afton

What's up with that anyway????

I was still so befuddled from Afton, that somehow I was okay with the situation

but I was still in a stupor over knowing that I was marrying Superman and wondering how that conversation was going to come up!

         . . . it’s important to realize that I had NO CLUE
                                              that he had the same prompting earlier that day. . .

. . . so I was just a tad bit preoccupied with my thoughts


a beautiful picture of a bridge.

I’m not sure if this is the exact bridge or not, but there was a rider the sort of toppled over the top and over the edge and died on this route. . .

VERY unexpected and tragic!


going through Hoback Junction as part of a small pack of riders


Beautiful Scenery!
This is the Snake River


A great shot of a pace-line that I was part of

great photography. . . 

Superman took most of these pics

                                                                                      . . . . Thanks Superman!

You are AWESOME!!!


holding my spot for the moment


see what I mean, this is a huge group of cyclists
I’ve never been in this position for LOTOJA before!  
I’ve always been at the end of the time cut-off and not seen so many riders still on the road.


another scenic shot


almost done, and I am so happy with EVERYTHING!  

Here I just saw Superman, and am busting with excitement
I will be getting married, I just had no idea when. . .

. . . Love is a wonderful place to be!


a forest fire is on the prowl, somewhere in the Teton Mountain Range in Jackson, Wyoming


My support Crew and family patiently waiting. . .

                                  . . . waiting

                                                                                      . . . anticipating

Mom finish #1 
Finally. . . 

                                                         Here I is!
                                rolling into the finish line. . .

. . . and it is still plenty light outside!

                                             A new experience. . . 

. . . at least for me   :)

one that I happily admit, I thoroughly enjoyed!
Best of all, I met my goal of a sub-12 hours with
 a finishing time of 11:42

This was a whole 1 hour faster than last year!

A very happy and successful day for me


Cyclists and support crews waiting at the finish line. . . 


This was the second big surprise for the day. . .

My parents showed up!

As I finished the ride, I could not find my support crew ANYWHERE, but I found my parents

I was even more distracted now, I had to find Superman and at least warn him that he was going to meet my parents for the first time. . . .

I had determined to leave the whole married part out of the equation. . .

at least for now

. . .  Awkward moment for the year!

They have not met Superman yet

and now I get to introduce them to each other . . . 

                          um. . .  

mom, dad, this is the man I am going to Marry. . .

uh, um,  

but he doesn't know that yet. . .

                                       . . . try explaing that so it makes sense!

                                                                                              . . .  I certainly couldn't

Superman . . . are you aware we are getting married????
It truly was an interesting moment

. . .  at least it was interesting in my mind!


At the finish line and a great picture with the ballerina


a final shot of our orange and black friends that the
support crew hung out with along the way

what a great experience,
and this year was a very memorable one to say the least!

And now another season is upon us and I am just getting last years events logged!
as I write this. . .

I am still getting my feet on the ground from getting engaged, married, and moved
and now we are preparing for Superman’s Daughters Wedding,
and selling two homes,
to move into a new home with a HUGE garden, that has been planted
and now we have need to maintain that garden

my stuff is in three different locations
and we have two birthdays to throw in there too, along with training and a Major Event. . . the Rockwell Relay. . . this upcoming weekend

Oh how I long for stability and routine in my life

Life, for me is a little overwhelming right now and training has suffered as a result
but I am doing my best and appreciate your patience
as my life is on a fast track forward of so many changes

This week is the Rockwell Relay that we are doing as a couple 
with another couple that both cycle

. . . so stay tuned!

This is Superman’s first race/event and he is soooooo excited. . . 

as I write this Sunday evening, he is . . .

                                               Well. . . 

. . . he is packing!
NOTE:  the ride isn’t until Friday

Stay tuned and we will give you a full report of the Rockwell Relay. . .
a ride from Moab to St. George, Utah, totaling 516 miles between four riders
we guess it will take us approx 33 hours to complete the ride

                 as always. . . 

an adventure to tell about. . .

. . . of that I am confident!

Even though this report/post is VERY delayed,
As always, thanks for joining me and sharing in the adventure with me!



  1. Well,
    This is superman. I'm happy that you, Lois Lane and me, Clark Kent made things happen back in March. Cycling has taken a back seat in priorities, but as for trading what we have together....nothing even compares. After all....Love conquers all, right?

  2. Love reading your blog