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LOTOJA rides through the valley this weekend

The LOTOJA Classic, a 206-mile cycling race from Logan to Jackson, will take place on Saturday, Sept. 8. The race is America’s longest, single day sanctioned bicycle race.

Riders will enter Star Valley on Saturday from the south over the Salt River Pass and will ride through the length of the valley on US Highway 89.  Residents are asked to be cautious and patient in their travels.  Riders will pass through three of the four incorporated towns in the area, Afton, Thayne and Alpine.

In its 30th year, the race will include over 1,000 bicyclists from across the U.S. and around the globe. The majority of participants will pass through Star Valley from approximately 11 a.m. to approximately 3 p.m.   While en route, cyclists will climb three mountain passes that total nearly 10,000 vertical feet. Many compete to win their respective class or category, while others just ride to cross the finish line.   The current course record is 9:01:44 set in 2010 by Al Thresher of Las Vegas. His average speed was nearly 23 mph. The current women’s course record of 9:44:57 is held by Jenn Halladay of Kuna, Idaho. She also set that record in 2010, and her average speed was approximately 21 mph.
“This year’s LoToJa promises to be remarkable,” said Race Director Brent Chambers of Epic Events in Layton, Utah. “The excitement for our 30th anniversary has everyone inspired, from cyclists to volunteers, to the numerous communities the race passes through. The 206-mile course is in great shape, and with all the energy that’s going around, it’s possible we’ll see a sub, nine-hour record this year.”

Chambers added that cyclists are coming from over 40 states, some as far away as Hawaii and Massachusetts. From outside the U.S., riders are coming from Australia, Singapore, Great Britain, and Belgium.

“They come because they’ve heard of the race’s challenge, its breathtaking scenery, and how the experience of the day transforms lives,” he said. “Riding hard all day for 206 miles, and then crossing the finish line in sight of the Grand Teton, is an adventure few forget—and many want to experience again and again.”

The LoToJa began in 1983 by two Logan cyclists who wanted to create a bicycle race that resembled the difficulty of a one-day European classic like Paris-Roubaix, the Tour of Flanders or Liege-Bastogne-Liege. In that first year, seven cyclists competed and crossed the finish line in Jackson.

This year’s race will feature 33 different categorized races, and a non-competitive, fun ride or Gran Fondo class. Most finishers are on their bike 10 to 12 hours—more than twice as long as a typical amateur bike race in the U.S. The age of cyclists range from 15 to 73 (13 to 82 in the relay category), and the average rider will burn up to 15,000 calories on race day.

“LoToJa wouldn’t be possible without the cooperation and assistance it receives from businesses, civic leaders, public safety officials and community volunteers,” said Chambers.

All motorists traveling LoToJa’s route on Sept. 8 are asked to use caution when approaching cyclists. Groups consisting of up to dozens of riders may be encountered. Motorists are asked to pass carefully and to leave a safe distance between their vehicle, cyclists and other traffic.

The cyclists who compete in the event, plus their support crews, well-wishers, event staff and volunteers, result in an entourage of approximately 4,500 people.

The route and additional information about the race are available at www.lotojaclassic.com.

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