An endurance bicycle race that begins in Utah and terminates in Wyoming will bring 1,000 riders and their families to a route that cuts through southeast Idaho Sept. 8.
The 25th annual LOTOJA Classic – Logan (Utah) to Jackson (Wyo.) – began with a small group of college friends at Utah State University and has become one of the nation’s premier cycling races.
Riders and their support crews will leave Logan at about 6:30 a.m. Saturday (Sept. 8) and travel north to Preston, continue north on Idaho 34, and then head northeast on Idaho highways 34 and 36 through Emigration (Strawberry) Canyon to the junction of Idaho 36 and U.S. 89. They will continue on U.S. 89 through Montpelier and then cross the Geneva Summit.
In the interest of safety, eastbound Idaho 36 will be restricted to local traffic and bicycles from about 8:30 a.m. until noon. Traffic also will be restricted in both directions on U.S. 89 to local traffic and bicycles from about 9:30 a.m. until 2 p.m.
leaving Idaho, riders will continue the 206-mile ride east on U.S. 89
to Jackson, Wyo.
ITD traffic engineer Dan Harelson and his staff have worked diligently the past decade to ensure that bicyclists, their entourage and general traffic co-exist safely.
“Not only has he improved bicyclist and motor vehicle safety, but he has identified specific problems in the eyes of local governments and worked hard to resolve those concerns,” explains District 5 Assistant Engineer Blake Rindlisbacher. “At the same time, he has worked with race organizers to ensure the event happens successfully in their eyes.”
The race is designed to minimize traffic congestion by separating the bicyclists and support crew vehicle traffic through Idaho, explains Brent Chambers of Epic Events, which organizes the event. Epic provides overtime funding for the Idaho State Police to patrol the event.
Cyclists and their support vehicles are identified by race number. “If a rider or support vehicle is behaving unsafely they should be reported to a race official, and they will be penalized or disqualified,” Chambers said.
Safety issues can be delivered to one of the many amateur radio operators stationed along the course; one “Ham” radio operator will be located at every food station, which will be located in Preston, one mile before the Strawberry Canyon summit, and at the Oregon Trail Center in Montpelier. Four other feed zones will be set up in Utah and Wyoming.
The annual event creates a positive economic impact on partnering communities, businesses and organizations along the route, Chambers explains. Several volunteer groups within each feed zone community have coordinated fund-raising activities. Proceeds from sales at the feed stations benefit youth groups, Scout troops and business development organizations, he adds.
As much as possible, Epic Events uses local vendors for supplies or equipment needed to stage the race.
Entry fees and other fund-raising activities associated with the race benefit the Huntsman Cancer Institute and Autism Spectrum Disorder Connections.
The race was conceived in 1982 by avid cyclists David Bern and Jeff Keller, both of Logan. According to organizers, the founders “wanted to give cyclists a racing experience that felt like a European road classic, such as the Tour of Flanders or Paris-Roubaix.”
The first race was staged the following year following a route from Logan to Teton Village in Jackson. The winning time was just over nine hours by Bob VanSlyke of Logan.
“LOTOJO is a European-style road classic that is unparalleled in distance and beauty,” according to the race Web site. It is reported to be the longest one-day event in the country sanctioned by the U.S. Cycling Federation.
It draws competitors from throughout the country.
Participation is limited to 1,000 riders – a cap that was reached in just two days of registration this year.
For more information about the ride contact Chambers at P.O. Box 1912, Layton, Utah, 84041 or call (801) 546-0090. Information also is available on the race Web site: www.lotojaclassic.com . For information about impacts on traffic in Idaho, contact Harelson at (208) 239-3372 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org