Annual bike ride to cross southeast Idaho Sept. 11

An endurance bicycle race that begins in Utah and terminates in Wyoming will bring more than 1,000 riders and their families to a route that cuts through southeast Idaho on Saturday, Sept. 11.

The 28th annual LOTOJA Classic (Logan, Utah to Jackson, Wyoming) began with a small group of college friends at Utah State University and has become one of the nation's premier cycling races.

LOTOJA participants and their support crew vehicles will leave Logan, Utah, beginning at 5:45 in the morning. Cyclists travel north from Logan and enter Preston via South State Street. From Preston, riders head northeast on Idaho Highway 36 through Emigration/Strawberry Canyon to the junction of Idaho 36 and U.S. 89. Cyclists will continue on U.S. 89 through Montpelier and then cross the Geneva Summit headed for Wyoming.

Support crew vehicles will not share the same road as cyclists for the first 100 miles of the race. They will enter Preston via U.S. 91 (northbound), travel to Soda Springs using Idaho 34, and drive on to Montpelier using U.S. 30.

From Montpelier, the support vehicles will continue east on U.S. 30 to Border, Wyo., where they will turn north on Wyoming State Highway 89. After leaving Idaho, cyclists will continue the 206-mile ride east on U.S. 89 to Jackson, Wyo., and finish at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Teton Village.

In the interest of safety, eastbound traffic on Idaho 36 will be restricted to local traffic and bicycles only from about 7:15 a.m. until noon East of Montpelier, traffic also will be restricted in both directions on U.S. 89 to local traffic and bicycles only from about 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.

ITD encourages motorists who travel the route on Saturday, Sept. 11, to use caution when encountering cyclists. Pass carefully and leave a safe distance between cars and riders.

ITD traffic engineer Corey Krantz and his staff worked diligently the past decade to ensure that bicyclists, their traveling entourage and general traffic co-exist safely while the ride winds along Idaho highways.

Not only has Krantz improved bicyclist and motorist safety, but he also identified specific problems from the perspective of local government officials and worked hard to resolve those concerns, explains District 5 Assistant Engineer Brian Poole. At the same time, Krantz has coordinated the route with race organizers to ensure the event happens successfully.

The race is designed to minimize traffic congestion by separating the bicyclists and support crew vehicle traffic throughout 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 operating unsafely they should be reported to a race official, and they will be penalized or disqualified, Chambers said.

Published 8-27-2010