with a touch of
and you get one incredible ride...
Last Saturday my father "Captain", my elder brother Jansen, my younger and 1/2 inch shorter brother Kellen and a few other pirates rode LOTOJA (www.lotojaclassic.com). LOTOJA is a road race that takes a bunch of money from 1,000 suckers and makes them sit on an uncomfortable saddle for 12 hours or 206 miles (which ever comes first) while they ride their bikes from Logan, UT to Jackson, WY. First and foremost I must say that we were by far the most stylish riders in the whole field. In fact the Salt Sea Pirates won the much coveted but poorly advertised "Style Beyond Measure" classification. We didn't only win, we crushed everyone else in this "race within the race". It was humiliating the way the other riders folded under our superior style (the way Lance's rivals had already given up winning the Tour 3 months before it started...), there was no competition. I mean look at us, matching 2006 Salt Sea Pirates kits (credit goes to Jansen for designing the sweetest looking kits in the lower 48), Matching Bell Sweep Helmets (by far the best and coolest helmet ever molded, and the icing on the cake...brand new matching Moots Compact bikes with full Dura Ace/FSA build and bling saddles (see photo above). We were oozing style ala Mario Cipollini.
We started off at 6:57AM and began our ride with a chilly but not freezing ride through the fog filled Logan valley. The first part of the ride was pretty uneventful except for a small crash in our 50 person peloton, no problems for us. After the first feed zone in Preston, ID we started the climbing (all in all about 6500 ft of climbing). The climbs were beautiful. We were riding at a pace that allowed me to soak in the absolute beauty of the mountains. We got over the first pass in good shape, and made our way into Montpelier for the 3rd feed zone. After refueling with the awesome support of my Mother (she did great all day getting us the stuff we needed to keep our legs moving fast) we started climbing again up and over Geneva Summit and then Salt River pass (the highest point at LOTOJA at 7,630 ft. I took the honors of KOM (King of the Mountain) amongst the Pirates after bridging up to Jansen and Bryan from a over a 1/4 mile deficit (It was sweet). Once we got up and over the passes it was pretty much smooth sailing. We had some great descents and hit the flats feeling great. Once we got to Alpine Junction we knew we were practically there, only 46miles to go...Luckily we had a sweet tailwind heading up Snake River Canyon. We hooked up with a good group of 15 or so and were just flying up the canyon, making great time. One of the coolest moments of the whole day came when we were riding with the group following the Snake River. We were riding at about 16-17 mph. I knew that the Salt Sea Pirates could be going faster than that, so we sent the team to the front of the group an upped the pace to 19-20. It brought a tear to my eye seeing 5 Salt Sea Pirates at the front of the group controlling the pace. Riding into Jackson was absolutely beautiful, the Tetons looked gorgeous. As we were approaching Jackson looked down at my bike computer which read 194 miles and realized that the race organizers have a nasty sense of humor. The race actually ends in Teton Village, which is about 10 miles north of Jackson. I guess LOTOTV just doesn't have the same ring to it. We crossed the finish line (if you don't believe me)
with 11hr38min of ride time and a total official time of 12hr30min (we stopped in the feed zones to refuel instead of grabbing the food and keeping going).
All in all we had a great time. The Salt Sea Pirates also sponsored a relay team the did great. Special props go out to Corey, Maggie, and Eugena for tearing it up on the relay team. In fact Eugena deserves special praises for her super human effort (no EPO or exogenous testosterone involved). Not only did she ride the relay legs with the most of the climbs (about 67 miles) but then she hopped on the back of Tony Sieverts tandem (his daughters who were alternating riding with him on the back were completely wasted by the 6th feed zone), and rode the last 46 miles into Jackson. We were with them when Eugena hopped on at feed zone 6 and didn't see them until the finish. Yeah, I know what you are thinking...Eugena is incredible.
When all is said and done I had a great time. Things were a little tense when we first started riding but once we got the jitters out everything was good. I felt great at the end of the race and still had gas in the tank. In fact Jansen and I sprinted it out at the end (I was boxed in by some guy who had no idea that two Pirates were sprinting for bragging rights). I am making an official decleration of intention right now: I intend to ride LOTOJA next year in a sub 10h30min time (including feeds). There now it is official. Sure I was in the saddle for 12 hours, sick of eating clif shot bloks (which are manna on the bike), numb for 24 hours and craving chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, but it was all worth it. The scenery, hanging out with my family, seeing my awesome wife tear it up, and being able to ride the Moots made it all worth it.
PS. I'll post pics from the ride once I get them on my computer.
Pics from other people:
Brian, Jansen, and Captain
a good pirate shot