January 18, 2013

Lotoja- The long ride

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The look of a man about to ride a bike as hard as he can for 10 hours.

This is a late post so forgive me. The news from this event is over. Most cyclists are fattening up for the winter but for some they have one date in mind throughout the whole year, September 7, 2013, next years Lotoja race. This year my wife and I ran support for my best friend Ivun, pictured above. It was a race in and of itself. Pushing, running and gunning through crowds and traffic to get some food and liquid to our man. Holding a flag made out of a ski pole and a stand out hawaiian shirt trying to flag an overheated cyclist down in Montpelier was a chore. Organizers yelling to stay back as crowds tried to beat each other out for position so their cyclist can spend as little time as possible getting their feed bag. Ivun’s brother Ira, who was part of our clan ended up stopping for a total of 1:50 minutes over the 9:13 hours he rode while having to pee for about 7 of those. He ended up with the win in category 3 by a meager .005 of a second. It is serious business out there and every second counts for those looking for a title.

For others it is a chance to just finish the 206 mile, longest one day race in America and say, “I did it.” Kudos to anyone who crosses that line representing hours and days and typically around 3000-6000 training miles over the year. For those who don’t make it, it is usually in the hills and because they weren’t prepared, didn’t eat right, or had an accident.

Riding support was eventful and sad at times this year. We were seconds behind the racer who fell off the bridge at Hoback Junction. We arrived just as some riders were looking over the edge trying to call 911. My heart goes out to this rider’s family. It is still a mystery as to what really happened.

Minutes after we left the bridge a fire broke out on the mountain threatening to stop the whole thing. We stopped and just thought, “Could things get any crazier?”

Overall, I think the organizers did a fantastic job. This is a huge thing to organize.

I was so inspired by the race, the determination that I decided to start training. I did my first century in October just a month after getting my first road bike. I have a long way to go but I hope I can cross that line someday.

 

 

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