Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sandbags, hangers, waiting, watching, waiting some more, panicking, and podiums (or is it podia?)

I promised to post some pictures from Lotoja, which I’ll get to. But first a couple of items further to yesterday’s post. As if it weren’t long enough already.

First, I was wrong about Nate P.’s sandbagging technique. I said he was getting his time by leapfrogging from group to group after the Strawberry climb. I wrote this, not having witnessed Nate race, because I thought it was the only possible way for someone to get a time that fast. I didn’t think it was possible to go that fast alone. I was wrong. Turns out Nate is bagging way more sand than I thought.

As Nate indicated in the comments, and Mark T. vouched for, Nate rides solo the whole way. In 9:10. The course record was set this year at 9:02. By a group of very fast guys. Working together. Nate, go get your upgrade and race with the 1-2-3 group next year. Sub 9 hours is absolutely doable.

Second, JZ mentioned in the comments that a couple Red Burro guys in the Masters 35+ snuck off the front in the darkness and worked with other groups to get the win. I noticed in the results that a couple Red Burro guys from Masters 35+ also got DQ’d. Glad to see officials cracking down on that a bit.

Finally, I left out what was perhaps the most superlative of superlatives: Worst finisher award ever. Thankfully, Eber did a nice writeup and said everything I wished I could have thought of and didn’t. Lovely job.

Tell me, what would you rather have, a hanger?

Or a belt buckle?

That’s what I thought.

Brent and the rest of the crew at Epic events do a great job channeling the chaos that is Lotoja. It’s remarkably well-organized considering what a colossal ordeal that many people, bikes, and cars becomes. But the hangers suck.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, how about a few pictures.

If you’re ever looking for us, we’ll be in section 8 at the feed zones. We can’t afford anything else.

The crew waits and watches for their riders. They do a lot of this. I can’t tell you how awesome it is to have people give up a Saturday to watch and wait and then panic for about 10 seconds until the musette is handed up. My Saturdays are precious, and I’m very stingy with them. Thanks, Josh.

Rolling in, just about to grab the handup. You can just see a Salted Nut Roll sticking out of my pocket. I didn’t touch it all day.

Rolling out.

Sam and Holly make a quick exchange.

Rick pauses long enough to drink a diet coke. It may not have any nutritional value, but the placebo effect is unreal.

It wasn’t Tony’s day. He had a flat in the first few miles, chased back on, and then his Achilles flared up.

When not waiting for their racers at the feed zone, crew members wait in traffic trying to get to the next feed zone.

I grabbed my musette in Afton, stopped to ask Marco how far ahead Steve was, and then had to think for a minute about whether I was going to continue.

Pulling off the road in Star Valley for a cold drink and some familiar faces.

Adam C. on the pavement after crashing in the Alpine feed zone. I’ve learned since that he broke his collarbone and will be out three months.

Marco waits for Steve with everything he may need at the ready.

Steve grabs his musette.

The musette is all ready, but I think Sam spotted that box of cookies and is stopping for one. I would have.

Joel R. takes the win by two bike lengths with Steve right behind.

My dad at the finish area. I predict he’ll be back next year, leaner and fitter than he is already.

There’s no family resemblance whatsoever. I have no idea why Jon S. walked up to Steve and started talking to him, thinking it was me.

The Cat. 4 podium.

After the awards on Sunday, Taylor let me pedal the kids around the parking lot in one of the Madsen cargo bikes. If my neighborhood had more than a quarter mile of roads that were less than 8% grade, I would buy one of these to pedal the kids around in. They loved it. 70 pounds of bike, 125 pounds of kids. Look how distended that rear tire is. It’s a little slow to accelerate and doesn’t handle like my Giant, but still a fun ride.


  1. Wow a hanger...And after you put you ski jacket on the hanger it will look just like the costco hangers I bought last weekend. Definitely the lamest award ever. I have an idea they should give out hood ornaments to go along with the rear window decal.

    Nice job in the race. A friend of mine did it in 13 hours. That distance is just torture.

  2. A hanger... lol! That is classic. Next year, win a toothbrush!

    And I must say, riding with your dad must have been awesome. My dad is not a rider, but he loves backpacking, and those trips together are always my favorite.

    I feel like Agrippa after looking at the pictures: Almost thou persuadeth me to ride LOTOJA again.

  3. love the sandbag picture...and the comment about Sam seeing a cookie was pretty funny

  4. Yeah the hanger was a little strange, but at least it was made of bike parts and is somewhat useful. Belt buckle, much cooler.

    As for the two DQed guys in the Masters 35+, they weren't the ones that went off the front. I don't know why they got DQed. We did almost have a fist fight over blocking/negative racing tactics (one of the great parts of road racing), but one of the DQed guys, Steve F., was the voice of reason in that dispute from what I could see.

    Also, for the record, from what I can tell from talking to others the two Red Burro guys off the front didn't work with any other groups, so hats off to them.

    You just don't get this kind of drama from any old bike race.

  5. Care to comment about the "serious" racers who received illegal hand-ups when not in the appropriate feed zones? Maybe the officials should crack down on that?

  6. Blackdog, I can't imagine being on the bike for 13 hours. Jdub did the same, with a broken hand no less. It took me 11 and change my first year, and I hurt way worse after than this year or last.

    Adam, I like the toothbrush idea. If they gave out toothbrushes next year, I'd be willing to go back.

    BJC, as it happens, Sam did in fact take a cookie. A snickerdoodle. The sandbag picture is courtesy of Team Revolution's sandbag potentate.

    JZ, props to the Red Burro guys for going it alone. I thought I was going to get DQ'd for a centerline violation. Don't know if I actually went over or not, but Gary Bywater pulled up next to our group and started writing down numbers.

    Chal, sure, I'll comment. I don't give a rip about handups. I took an "illegal" handup from a course marshall at tour of park city. I may have been hospitalized without it. I just don't see handups making too much of a difference one way or another except they might keep someone from getting dehydrated, though that likely wasn't an issue at Lotoja. Unless, of course, the handup endangers other riders in the pack. Then it's a bad thing.

  7. SBJ, yeah Bywater came by us a few times, I didn't see him write down any numbers though. Frankly I went over the centerline a bunch to get around riders in full view of the officials on the motorbikes. Going up Strawberry pass I went over the centerline to get around a sketchy guy and just after I moved up a few places, he took himself out along with a few guys behind him.

    I didn't see anyone take illegal feeds, but I did see a lot of support crews slowing down to cheer on their rider. Last year one family yelled at their dad and it startled him so much he crashed and took a few others with him. Woops.

  8. Have you ever eaten a snickerdoodle from Paradise Bakery? It is for lack of a better word Paradise!

  9. Nice write up and pics. Meet you at the corner for a full download.

  10. I have to tell you great job on this blog. I haven't always agreed with the whole perspective, but you are quick to correct. In addition, you are likely one of the best cycling bloggers I have read. I definitely come back again and again to read your account of things. Keep up the good work! Also, grab James C or I on the next race and we will give you a bunch of Endure for your Dad. It is a Pure Electrolyte you mix in your water. It does an amazing job keeping your legs from cramping! I would love to see him finish next year. We will absolutely be cheering for him!

  11. Joel, glad to see you came back and to know who you are. Congrats on your win--it was well-deserved. Lots of great things happened in that race, but I'm most impressed with the universal recognition of what a stud Mark T. is and the mutual respect being shown all competitors. I'll let my dad know about Endure and will look for you guys at Harvest Moon.

  12. it was an awesome saturday, bro. thanks for inviting me to crew. i'll be happy to do it until i have time to train for the race myself :)