Monday, February 20, 2012

LOTOJA! Part: 1

LOTOJA is a bike race/ride that started back in 1983 with only 9 participants and has grown immensely.  In 2011 there were 1,500 participants, and those are the lucky ones that were able to get it.  I heard once that in 2009 there were over 4,000 people who applied and I am sure it has only grown since then.  So why is this event such a big deal?  It is the longest one day race in the United States.  It covers the 206 miles between Logan, Utah and Jackson, Wyoming.  Along those 206 miles participants climb about 10,000 feet, reaching 7,630 feet above sea level.  Needless to say it is long day in the saddle.

2011 was my second year doing LOTJA and it was even more fun than 2010.  The main reason last year was better than the one before is because my brother did it with me.  Neither one us felt ready for it at all.  My brother, Christian, had never ridden his bike more than 70 miles in one day prior to LOTOJA.  I hadn't ridden more that 50 miles for four months before the big day.  This is not to say that we didn't have plenty of time, LOTOJA is held the second Saturday of September.

My whole family came along for the fun to be our support vehicle, carrying extra water bottles and food.  We had to wake up at 3:30 a.m. because Logan is about 45 minutes away.  By the time we got up there there were quite a few people there already.  As we were getting all our gear put on both Christian and I were very nervous, we seriously didn't think either one of us would be able to make it all the way to Jackson.

The earliest we could take off was 5:45 and we were trying to leave then, giving us the most of amount of time to attempt to get to Jackson.  We got to the start line I realized I forgot my timing chip so I had to hurry back to the car to get it.  We finally were ready to go, and we were off!

Getting ready.  The look on Christian face is hilarious.  

That's my bike.

Putting my lights on.  We had to have lights because, as you can see, it is still very dark.

Christian doing who knows what.  My niece looks pretty creepy.

Here we go.

Check back for more on LOTOJA.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Best 3 Weeks of the Year

I know it has been about four months since the Tour de France ended, but I was watching some videos on Youtube and it reminded of how much I loved watching this years tour.  Maybe the reason I loved it so much is because this is the first that I was actually watched it on a daily basis.  Don't get me wrong if I was able to I would have watched it every year but when you don't have Versus it makes it difficult to watch.

This is a great video and I think portrays what the Tour de France is all about very well.
This Tour de France was exciting in so many ways, from the tons of crashes and hoping that your favorite to win wasn't tied up in the crash, to the amazing displays of courage by launching attacks.  Andy Schleck was my favorite from the beginning and I watched his every move, although his moves didn't come until late in the tour, I was still very concerned with what he was doing and where he was positioned.  His attack on stage 18 had me feeling about every emotion I have ever felt.  Andy attacked with over 60K to go and the highest stage finish in the Tour de France's history, atop the Col du Galibier.  I was a nervous wreck most of the time, hoping that he could stay away and get a good gap between him and Cadel Evans.  Andy did fade at the end, but who wouldn't after an attack like that, and Cadel did an amazing ride as well.  He had no help from anybody and closed the gap down quite a lot.  There were many exciting moments through the whole tour but that attack by Andy was the best one in my book.

I think another thing that made this tour even better than it already was is my wife watched every stage with me.  She knew some things about cycling but her knowledge was limited, and if you don't know a whole lot about cycling you can understand how it might be a bit boring to watch, but she stuck with me on it.  Every night we would get home from work and watch about four hours of Tour coverage.  It was great!  My wife would ask me  tons of questions about the tactics and the etiquette of cycling and she quickly picked up on everything.  She would talk to her family and co-workers about what was going on in the Tour and explained to them the things she had been learning.  This made me so happy that the woman I love was enjoying cycling, I don't think every man is that lucky.

I look forward to next years Tour and I think 2012 will be the year that Andy is won't have to be a bridesmaid. but it will be his big day in Paris.