Layton, Utah — Montpelier-area motorists are asked to be extra alert on Saturday, Sept. 7 as more than 1,500 cyclists race 207 miles from Logan, Utah, to Wyoming’s Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in the 37th annual LoToJa Classic.
The Idaho Transportation Department will temporarily close US-89 to eastbound vehicle traffic between Montpelier and the Wyoming state line from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sept. 7, said LoToJa Race Director Brent Chambers. Traffic will be detoured south or north on US-30. Also on that day, eastbound traffic on state Route 36 north of Preston between Riverdale and Ovid will be restricted from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
The temporary travel restrictions will be used because US-89 and SR-36 will be congested with eastbound bicycle traffic, Chambers said. Motorists are asked to use caution while traveling on these two roadways during LoToJa, and to anticipate encountering groups of cyclists. Cautious passing is advised to ensure safety for motorists and cyclists.
Chambers defined “cautious passing” as slowing down, giving plenty of space (at least three feet) between the vehicle and cyclist(s), and patiently waiting for oncoming vehicle traffic to clear before pulling around a cyclist or group of cyclists.
Also, Chambers said Montpelier motorists and residents will encounter cyclists throughout the morning and early afternoon as they enter the community from the west on US-89 and proceed north for two blocks on US-30 before turning right and back onto US-89 for a feed zone at the Oregon Trail Center Park. Bicycle traffic will also be experienced on US-89 between Ovid and Montpelier.
He said LoToJa puts more than 1,500 cyclists, an estimated 1,200 support crews, and almost 700 volunteers on the 206-mile course.
“On behalf of the LoToJa organizational team, I sincerely thank every community LoToJa has the privilege to ride through for taking part in making the event fun and safe,” Chambers said.
Started in 1983, LoToJa winds across northeastern Utah, southeastern Idaho and western Wyoming. There are also three mountain passes with almost 10,000 vertical feet of climbing. Participants ride the entire course in one day. The current men’s course record is 8:18:29 and the women’s is 9:35:00.
LoToJa has grown into one of the nation’s premier amateur cycling races, attracting riders from across the U.S. and foreign countries. It has also become a major fundraiser for the Huntsman Cancer Foundation as well as Common Ground Outdoor Adventures, National Ability Center, Utah High School Bicycle League, and Bike Utah. To date, LoToJa sponsors and participants have raised more than $2 million for these causes.
Most LoToJa finishers are on their bike 10 to 13 hours — more than twice as long as a typical amateur bicycle race in the U.S. LoToJa is the longest one-day bicycle race in America that is sanctioned by USA Cycling, the sport’s governing body.
The route of this year’s LoToJa and additional information about the race are available at lotoja.com.