New Love Life

Sunday, April 15, 2012


I wrote this commentary about my 2005 LOTOJA experience shortly after the ride. You may wonder why I'm posting this almost seven years later.
  • I never had a blog before now and it seems like an appropriate place and time.
  • It also seems to be an excessive thing to do but I can't seem to stop myself from signing up as each new year rolls around. People, including myself, wonder about my sanity and why I would ever want to put myself through this kind of event. Especially more than once.
  • Believe it or not I have completed LOTOJA four additional times since the 2005 LOTOJA experience and plan to ride it again this year and next to get my 2000 mile award, ten years. 
  • Nothing makes you feel more alive than being nearly dead.
LOTOJA 2005 was year number four, interesting to say the least. Our group left at . It was a cool morning and I started out with arm and leg warmers and a light jacket with my shorts and jersey. I also had on a pair of full fingered gloves under my fingerless ones.
When we got to Preston it was still cool and it looked like it could rain. I asked my daughter to get my booties for my toes but I turned down the balaclava and winter gloves. As we turned the corner leaving Preston it started to rain and I immediately regretted not taking the warmer gloves and balaclava as we would not see our support vehicles for another 48 miles. The support vehicles were sent another direction because the road we were on was closed to cars for our safety. 
The climb up Strawberry Canyon is a tough climb (about 3000 ft.) I kept somewhat warm because I was working hard. Earlier groups had seen snow at the top, there was evidence on the sides of the road but we only had rain by the time we got there. At the top I had to stop and wait in line for the port-a-potty. That's when I got cold. I knew we still had about 2 miles to the summit so I could warm back up before the descent. I stayed warm enough but the last couple of miles down were getting cold. Going 40-50 mph, being soaking wet, and the temperature around 35-40 degrees tends to give you a bit of a chill. There were ambulances at the bottom of the descent picking up riders. Clyde and I made it into Montpelier ok. We were told there was snow ahead so I changed into dry clothes, putting on tights, a long sleeved jersey, a dry jacket, rain pants, warm gloves etc.
As we turned the corner to head up to Geneva Summit the sun was out and we were so hot we thought we were going to die. We had to stop and remove all the warm clothes we had just put on for the climb.
At the top of Salt River Pass I asked the man running the neutral feed zone what the weather was like ahead. He said he thought it was nicer the further north you went. Once again, as we got around the corner it started to sprinkle.
When we got into Afton, Wyoming our friend Roy, drove up in a car and said he had had to stop and get warm in an ambulance. When he got to Montpelier, he was told the race was over and not to go on. If you wanted to go on you were on your own. So he stopped. He tried to get Clyde and I to stop.
We kept going and then it started raining a little harder but not too bad. When we got to Alpine, Clyde stopped because of a flat tire and sort of lost interest in continuing.
Clyde gave me his nice new Gortex (sp?) jacket to wear and I started up Snake River Canyon. Only 47 miles to go!
It was getting darker and darker and I was using my headlight that works great in town to be seen but with no street lights I couldn't see. I had to have them follow with the car until we got to Hoback Junction. Clyde put his nice powerful headlight on the bike and I started off again. I had a light and warm clothes on and I was doing ok even with the steady rain. Needless to say there was almost nobody else on the road. Most of the day I had ridden alone, Clyde was behind me on the climbs.
It was about when I pulled into Jackson Hole. I decided the ride was Logan to Jackson and I didn't need to go the extra 12 miles into Teton Village, where the finish line was, when there wouldn't be anybody there anyway (since the race had been stopped).
I felt pretty good about my 191 miles in 12 hours and 20 minutes of riding time until Monday morning when I looked at the race results. I was shocked to see a time of 16 hours for a man that had started an hour before me. That meant the finish line had still been open and I didn't get a time because I stopped.
I was so mad at myself and really had a rough couple of days trying to get over it. I couldn't think about anything else except trying to figure out why I had talked myself into quitting.

Moral of the story -  "It isn’t over until you cross the finish line, even if nobody is there to see it!"

Hopefully next year will be better.

After a few weeks I can almost think about doing another one. This one was so tough. My right knee hurt the last 70 miles and both knees are still giving me a tough time. I think it must be the new pedals? or the almost 13 hours of climbing? It took my stomach a couple of days to start feeling normal again. I usually bounce right back by Monday but this year was an incredibly difficult race.


No comments:

Post a Comment