It’s about that time again …

Ladies and gents, I just received an e-mail alerting me to the fact that the Lotoja race registration is now open. If you’ve been reading for very long, you may be aware that I’m not much of a long-distance guy. But I’ve got to be completely honest with you, I’m really starting to think about doing the whole stinkin’ thing.

The course is the same as last year’s–the toughest course they’ve ever had. It would be only two weeks after my wife has our baby (if she’s had it by then). It would mean a more serious time commitment to training. And I may already be pinned down under my promises to be on the relay team.

What do you think?

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20 thoughts on “It’s about that time again …

  1. Tom Stormcrowe

    Ya know, a thought occurs to me, if you do Lotoja in 2007 as well as me and UncsDan, maybe we can get more of the Spinner Crowd involved and do a team ot club entry and do it Peloton style as a gaggle!

  2. Zed

    Wow, lots of encouragement in the affirmative direction, eh?

    Tom, Dan- I gotta tell ya, though, if I ride the whole thing this year, I\’ll probably find some other endurance race for next year. See, maybe it\’s best that I ride the relay this year and do the whole thing next year.

    Erica- That\’s rather direct, eh?

  3. uncadan8

    Sounds logical. Of course it could just be a cop-out for fear the "old men" will show you up. Ya gotta remember, between Tom and me, there will be about two less people on board, if you catch my drift. Seriously, though, if we could put a team together for next year, that would be awesome!

  4. FARRELL

    You really ought to do it, but you need to do it at least twice. The first year just to finish and teach the mind that it can be done. The second year to kick butt and have some fast fun.

  5. Zed

    You\’re doing it again this year, right, Farrell? I\’m going to depend on you to supply me with all sorts of advice between now and then, you know.

    Dan- oooo, a challenge. We could. I\’ll have to think that over. Right now the biggest challenge for this year is convincing my wife to let me take off an entire Saturday while she cares for our newborn. We\’ll see what happens.

  6. Unknown

    Pain is transitory.  Wounds usually (okay, frequently) heal.  Glory lasts forever.  Do it.  At least the relay. 
     
    I might be convinced to make the trip out next year if enough of the spinner crowd were doing it – make a little family vacation out west and work a little 200 mile training ride in there…    I\’m thinking non-competitive, unless y\’all are looking to fill a 55 gallon drum with undiluted hurtin\’ an\’ cryin\’, in which case I\’d roll with the group\’s preference for the competitive class.  There are some things to think about when you talk about long group rides, however.
     
    For the competitive bracket, you had better bring the strong set of legs, leave the soft ones at home.  I note that Cat 5 racers seem to finish at 11-12.5 hours.  12 is pretty easily do-able, that\’s a high 16 average.  I find a hiigh 16 is my long, slow travel pace, I usually average 16.8 or so on century rides because I can go forever at that speed without straining and without having to draft – I just eat and drink constantly while pedaling.  An 11 is a lot tougher, it works out to a little over 18 MPH average, you would want to have everybody reasonably fit and working together in a disciplined paceline.  Doing it as a group on the competitive side might be tough unless y\’all were doing some concerted climbing training.  It\’s very do-able. but you need to go in with open eyes and recognize the course\’ demands (as well as how group dynamics pan out on long rides) before you commmit to a path.  
     
    As a group, everybody has to agree to stick together and to be trained up to about the same *minimum* level (you can exceed it), or the group ride is tough on all involved.  My velo club deals with this by regrouping after every couple major climbs, but if you were trying to go 200 miles, the really fast climbers would be bummed, the slower climbers would always feel pressed, and it would make for a tough day mentally.  Even on the non-competitive side, you have to be prepared for the great climbers to be rocketing up hills and the worse climbers feeling pressed.  None of this is to say a group would be a bad idea, just you need to consider the commitment it would take to be well prepared for it, and if you were well prepared then racing it would be fun, and the non-competitive class would be fun as well.   200 miles ain\’t beanbag.   

  7. Zed

    I don\’t even think the climbing is too severe–I mean there\’s a 20-mile, 5-7-percent gradient in there (Strawberry Summit) and a sharper climb at the Salt River Pass, but all-in-all, it\’s nothing like Botched\’s E100 (that\’s the one with 20,000 feet of climbing over 100 miles). I mean, heck, it\’s like three times the elevation of Teton Pass spread out over 20 times the mileage. Cake.

  8. Unknown

    20 miles at 5-7%.  Hmmm… I think that would work out to about a Cat II or III on the TDF Categories, depending on whether it\’s early or late in the race.  Either way, I\’m going to have to buy a 12-27 ten speed cassette, or ditch the compact cranks (50-36).  "Cake," huh?  Better watch it Caloi… somebody might make you eat that cake.

  9. Zed

    I\’d rather have it than eat it, and I\’ve heard you can\’t do both–at least that\’s what my economics teacher in high school said. No, I\’ll agree that Strawberry Summit is a tough rise–no question–but I\’ve been to the old KOM site (it used to be Tin Cup Pass), and it\’s nothing compared to Teton Pass. It\’s more like the rolling hills I do my training rides on. I\’ve heard Salt River\’s not all that bad either.
    Strawberry was actually where most of the riders cracked last year (more than 50% of the racing field retired at Montpelier) when it snowed. You\’ll notice that there are warnings all over the Lotoja web site: "Lotoja is not weather dependent, so be prepared for anything …"

  10. uncadan8

    So if I am a lowland Easterner, what could I expect from the elevation change? Is there any particular way to train in an attempt to overcome the oxygen difference?

  11. Zed

    Do you have any climbs nearby? I don\’t know that you have to worry too much about the elevation change (even though the race starts at 4,500 feet). Just push yourself hard at home, and give it everything you\’ve got when you come. Of course, if you can afford an oxygen tent, that probably couldn\’t hurt (I don\’t think you\’ll find any discounts on these things). If you have mountains nearby, take a camping trip in August and allow your body some time to get climatized.
    The guy who won last year, Dave Francis, used to be local to my area, so the guys in my local paceline yap about him once in a while. Supposedly, he just does a lot of interval training. So I suppose if you want to do well at Lotoja, that\’s the thing to do, interval training, eat right, and then eat a lot in the days leading up to and the day of the race.

  12. Unknown

    UncaDan – there are two solutions to altitude.  Get there a week early
    and acclimatize, or stay in the lowlands and get there when you get
    there during the race.  Do not show up two-three days early, however,
    it willl mess you up. 
     
    Hills – read Friel.  Do intervals.  Can\’t help you much there.  Learn to spin
    up hills keeping in your aerobic Hr zone.  Do lots of strength & endurance
    intervals (105% lactate threshold).  Do a good few power drills on the
    bike.  Move to Booone, NC.

  13. Unknown

    …what can i say? it wasn\’t hard to come to the conclusion, it wasn\’t difficult to see you\’d do well (you can definitely handle 200, if you pace yourself right) and from everything you\’ve shared about mrs. caloi, she\’s a woman who encourages your passion…

    really, the baby\’s due in september?

    i\’m looking at the link and thinkin\’ mebbe this is a goal for dan the man. it would be the weekend before my proposed half-ironman….;-)

  14. Zed

    Actually, August. Yeah, I\’ve noticed that the encouragement only goes so far when pregnancy\’s a factor. Still, that\’d be cool if your hubby comes out for it. Mebbe you should can the Ironman and do this too.

  15. uncadan8

    Caloi – I live in a very hilly area. I feel like I am always riding up or down, never on a flat. So I guess that is good. Most of the hills are relatively short, but pretty steep. At this point, I think the weight loss is the primary objective, which fits in nicely with interval training.
     
    Al – Thanks, I will keep that time frame in mind when planning vacation and the ride next year. I have one book by Friel; I\’ll try to find more stuff by him.

  16. uncadan8

    I just got done looking at the Lotoja route via Google Earth and it looks like a blast. At least it will be if I manage to lose the 100 pounds that need to disappear by then. I think I might have to check into that move to Boone, NC!

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