LOTOJA Classic celebrates three decade anniversary

Sep 7, 2012

The LOTOJA starting line moments after being erected.

Preparations are underway for the famously strenuous cycling race known as LOTOJA as it celebrates its 30th anniversary this weekend. Over one thousand cyclists are expected to participate.

LOTOJA, the 206-mile race (the longest one-day race in the nation) from Logan, Utah, to Jackson, Wyoming, is in its 30th year, but co-founder Jeff Keller says the race had humble beginnings.

"So actually, Dave Bern was a key rider in that because he's the one that came to Sunrise [Cyclery] and said, 'Jeff, I'm fat and out of shape and need some motivation. How about we put on a bike race from Logan to Jackson Hole?' and I'm like, 'Cool, OK, I'll help you with that.'"

When asked if a 206-mile bike ride was a little extreme for a fitness regimen, Keller said he agrees.

"That's the beauty of it. It is extreme but it is attainable," Keller said.

Coffeeshop Citrus and Sage has the good fortune of sitting at the starting line. Employee Steve Danielson says it's great for business.

"We get some people that come in, especially later tonight when things start kicking off across the street. Then tomorrow, even after the race starts we're pretty busy. We get lots of people in for breakfast," Danielson said.

Vincent Van Suchtelen will be riding in his sixth LOTOJA. He said it's a challenge every time.

"I grew up here in Cache Valley, and I figured that I should pay homage to my upbringing here and ride this bad boy."

Van Suchtelen  was reluctant to divulge his best race time.

"Oh, it's horrible. I don't publish my times. I'm lucky just to finish it, but I have a lot of fun," Van Suchtelen said.

The race starts Saturday morning at 5:45 in front of Sunrise Cyclery in Logan.