Okay, so I’ve heard some mixed reviews of this endurance road bike race, and I’d like to lay them all out for you to consider. Please add to or take away from any of the following statements as you see appropriate:
"It’s not so bad." This one came from the wrench who put my road bike together before I picked it up. He said he’d done Lotoja as part of a relay, and it really wasn’t as bad as everyone had said. Hey, come on, of course the relay was easier than the whole thing, that’s a ridiculous comparison.
"I’ve done a marathon, and Lotoja was harder." This came from an experienced rider in my Tuesday-night ride group. I trust his wisdom, but it sounds like he may have gotten separated from the peleton that day and gotten stuck riding the whole thing by himself.
"Yeah, I’ve done Lotoja. It’s a good ride; you should do it." Remember that girl I told you I outsprinted at my first Teton Pass Climb (and who totally beat me the next year)? Yeah, this one came from her right after I’d pulled ahead and gotten my hollow victory. At the time I wondered if that was a revenge statement, like, "Hey, you may have beat me today, but I’ll kick your keyster in September …" or something. It would have been true, too. I found her Lotoja time as 9.5 hours. Ugh …
"You know I did Lotoja one week and I did a marathon a few weeks later. The day after Lotoja, I was fine, but for a week after the marathon I was sore." Could it be that you trained exclusively for Lotoja and your cycling legs weren’t very well-suited to running? Just a thought. This one came from a co-worker who actually pulled out of Lotoja 25 miles from the finish after racing through the slush and sleet and into the darkness of a delayed race. He says he would’ve kept going if he’d brought lights with him (on that note, what do you guys think of this?).
"There was no way I was going to finish that." This came from a guy at the finish of the 2005 edition who had pulled out after the race got snowed/sleeted on at the top of the Strawberry Summit above Montpelier, ID. After hearing about it, I’d have probably pulled out about there too. Either way, that particular ordeal amounted in some hardcore motivational speeches from coworkers about "sticking it out despite the circumstances." You know–when the going gets tough, the tough shiver and turn blue … whatever.
"The first year I did Lotoja was on a mountain bike with four weeks of training on a dare. I came in at 11 hours and had amazing time. … Regardless of how you race it, there’s nothing but smiles that beautiful Autumn Sunday morning." This is a quote from the ‘Course Advice’ section on the Lotoja web page: Lotoja Classic. I showed this to Botched, and his response was "I love it when freaks of nature say ‘ah, just kick back and relax, it’ll be fun!’".
P.S. Here’s a photo, I can only assume to be of Dave Francis, last year’s winner. I’m in the background of this photo, I believe, but I don’t think you can really see me.