My race started at 6:46a.m. it was below 40 degrees F. I was cold as shit! I didn’t want to overdress so I went with a light base layer and arm and knee warmers. I knew the temp. would fluctuate greatly on the 205 mile course. Knowing that to be the case didn’t stop my feet and hands from going numb within the first fifteen minutes. After the neutralized start out of Logan a guy from the Spider Bait team rolled up on me and asked if we were still neutral I said no and he and his team dropped the bomb on our group. We started flying, the five guys from Spider Bait were just crushing it, I was one of the very few who would take turns pulling. The rest of the group was quite satisfied to let seven or eight of us to do 95% of the donkey’s work. I am learning to accept that most racers just suck! I don’t get the attitude of not wanting to work. For fucks sake what could really happen? You could blow up and bonk, how bad could it be? Hell, it might make for a really good story someday. With all that said if I'm not at or near the front I never feel engaged with the race, I get the feeling of being a spectator instead of a competitor.
We caught the group that started before us before we got to the first feed zone, theoretically that group was the same ability as us. I am glad I didn’t plan on stopping at the first feed because the spider bait guys didn’t ease up. We gust kept flying right through the feed zone. I was very aware that I needed to follow the S.B. boys but couldn’t tell which one of them they were riding for, they all worked. I have to admit I am impressed with their motivation. At the start of the first climb other teams started cuing up so not being sure who was real players and who were the pretenders I covered every move.(NOT SMART!) We flew through the second feed zone once again hardly easing off the pace. On the KOM climb I went with a few guys early on a hard little attack and was caught very quickly by the S.B. boys who were now down to three. I tried to hold on but they dropped me and another one of there own guys. I tried to recover and went back on the offensive again. I could see them as they went over the top at the KOM sign, and I felt like I was with in striking distance (less than a min.) if I could get some help from the guys behind me. So I took it easy on the descent and let a couple of my group join me. Our small group gained a few more players from the other groups (complete bullshit in my mind but everyone assured me this is common place, but I still didn't like it). We worked well together for a while but on any small rise or any time the wind picked up our organization went to shit! My support team missed me at Afton and I was quickly running out of water, so I struck a deal on the road and a guy from another group gave me a water bottle, THANK YOU! After Afton our group organization waxed and waned, this action continued pretty much for the rest of the race. With about ten miles to go my motivation was in the can, I was frustrated by people’s unwillingness to work together. I just wanted the day to be over with. Some where around the 5 mile mark I see a familiar face and my disposition improved and I decided to give it one more go. So at 5k I buried my head down and gave it a go but 4 vs 1 always wins! After getting caught with about 2-3k to go I decided to take my chance in the sprint which played out like I thought it would. I finished in 10th place, in 9 hrs 21 min.
I still don’t know how I feel about this race, parts are ran pretty shitty and it really sucks for your support crew. The course is cool but it is logistical nightmare. The volunteers were great but it seems like a lot of the race seems set up to sell LOTOJA gear. The event is set up more for a fun ride/ citizen ride and less of a race. The tactics employed by a lot of the participants I find distasteful at best. I'm not trying to be the moral compass for bike racing, I just don't agree with a lot of the practices. I had many of the same feelings when I was climbing/bouldering a lot and even when I was playing in bands. My opinion is people want to fly a flag before they know what it really stands for. They want a label or title before earning it or paying dues.
The whole event just left me feeling let down. I think there are other events I would rather do in the future than LOTOJA. I'll wait and see.
Go but the new Terror Record!