The Bike Shoppe

The Bike Shoppe
Your Ogden Utah bike expert since 1976!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Why I didn't Win Lotoja My First Try

Last Spring I decided I had what it took to travel from Logan, UT to Jackson Hole, WY via a Trek Madone. So I signed up for the LOTOJA Classic. I made it across the finish line, but got there just after dark and so just after the timer was turned off. I had pedaled from Utah, through Idaho, and into Wyoming, but it didn't count. There are several things I wish I had done differently.

First thing I wish I had done differently was training. I trained at odd times so I wasn't able to ride in many groups. Every long ride I did was solo. Even though I told people asking for advice for their first century to ride in groups as often as possible, I hardly did when I was training for a double century. I had never ridden in as big of a group as the start and so I wasn't prepared mentally to go as fast as we did for as long as we did. We were holding about 21-23 mph from Logan to Preston, ID. I kept thinking I wasn't going to be able to keep that up the entire time. Truth is, it would have been a fairly easy ride (comparatively speaking) if I could have stayed in the middle of a group that big. I ended up dropping off during the first real climb up Strawberry Canyon.

That brings me to the second thing I wish I had done better. Numerous people told me that most people burn themselves out on the Strawberry Canyon climb because it's gradual but long. I took their advice and slowed down on the climb. This made me drop off the back of my group and go slower in general. I rode alone from the top of Strawberry to almost Montpelier, ID. If I had pushed it harder everything would have been easier past there because I would have been able to draft in a larger group.

Third thing I didn't do right was nutrition. I used everything that I had used during training. All of it helped me. But most of it was full of sugar. Everything with salt in it also had a lot of sugar. My lunch was peanut butter and honey sandwiches. We ended up stopping for Burger King in Afton. Right after we crossed the finish line 8-10 minutes late, I thought if we hadn't stopped we would have made it in time. But I realize I probably wouldn't have made it without those fries.

The last thing that I will change next time I ride LOTOJA is drinking Coke and Red Bull. I talked to several people that told me they had 3-4 Cokes throughout the race to help settle their stomach. That would have helped me tremendously. I didn't want to eat anything past the Salt River climb. My stomach just felt like it was in knots. The Whopper Jr. and fries helped, but not as much as a Coke. And about all that carried me from Alpine Junction to Hoback Junction was a Red Bull. I now drink a Red Bull before or during every race, depending on it's length.

This is what I'm going to do differently next time, I hope it helps you. The ride along the Snake River was the most amazing section. It could have been because I knew I was so close to Jackson. It was possibly because I was hopped up on Red Bull. But I'm pretty sure it was the grandeur of the area combined with with the awe of powering myself across that much terrain. The Sunday after I swore I only needed to do that ride once, but lately it's about all I can think about.

  A 14 lb. bike doesn't set off the dinger in the drive thru
200+ miles can make you feel like this ^