Wednesday, May 28, 2008

LOTOJA...the untold story

I know this looks like a shameless attempt to celebrate myself - but I just found these pictures on my madre's computer and decided to document them for all posterity.

In 2004, I decided to ride LOTOJA. According to Wikipedia LOTJOA is: " of the longest single-day road cycling races in North American, if not the world and is the longest race sanctioned by USA Cycling or the United States Cycling Federation." The race is always held on the second Saturday of September, starts in Logan, Utah and finishes in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and travels 206 miles.
I started the race at about 7 in the morning. The skies were very overcast and after about ten miles it started to rain. After about fifteen miles it started to downpour. What you see above is all I was wearing when I started the race. After about forty miles I thought I was going to die. I remember coasting into the first feeding zone and finding my sister. I was shaking horribly from the cold and I kept saying, "I can't do this. I can't do this." My sister, being the absolute bad ass that she is, just replied, "Shut up, and get back on your bike." Which I did. As the ride continued, people started to drop out, and I started to steal clothes.
This poor guy rode with our group. He took a wrong turn and rode an additional 30 miles to get back on course.
The entire race is sort of a blur. If I wasn't freezing, I was having to pee from drinking so much water. I remember one time my sister pulled up next to me. I was about ten miles away from the next feeding zone and I thought my bladder was going to explode. She tells the story that I was almost crying and saying, "I have to pee so bad." I typically deny this story, but now four years later, I think there might be some truth to it.
My sister was the absolute reason I finished this forsaken race. At every feeding zone she had peanut and butter sandwiches made, she would rub my legs down, got the most amazing chicken McNuggets in all of Wyoming, and would constantly say, "You are going to finish this race." I have never been colder in my entire life (Mongolia included) and yet, her words truly made me go forward.
This was one of the last feeding zones in the race. In order to move on from this zone you had to be checked for frost bite and hypothermia. I remember some lady grabbing my face and watching my eyes. I was shaking so bad, but held it together as she examined me. She then said, "If you are crazy enough to go - I'll tell you that the next pass is snowing. It's up to you." Again, I don't know what I was thinking, but I shook my head and clipped in.
This is me at the top of the last mountain pass. I look happy because I thought Jackson was only twenty miles away. (My odometer shut off after hydro-planing down the pass into Montpelier, I was guessing based on my watch). Unfortunately, I had about forty miles to go and the sun was setting.

After riding in the dark for about two hours I crossed the finish line. Again my sister saved me. I remember she followed me with her car so I could see the road and blasted Bruce Springsteen to push me the last mile. As soon as I crossed the finish line they took down the sign and started to pack up. Unfortunately, for the 300 or so riders behind me their times were never recorded. I ended up finishing in a little over 13 hours and was 1 of the 13 girls who actually finished.

The legacy of this ride: 1. I hate riding when I have to pee 2. My knees have never fully worked since 3. I still want to go back and do it again...even though Dan won't let me.


4 Reale said...

Come back and do it!

Em said...

Is it weird that I'm still proud of you?

BagLady said...

you are the badass