Neither course record was broken Saturday in the 39th LoToJa Classic.
But many local cyclists fared well despite dealing with rain for several hours and getting a little cold. The Logan Race Club (LRC) was well represented with between 30 and 40 riders attempting the grueling one-day event that starts in Logan and finishes at Teton Village near Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The LRC has 200 members.
“I felt like we had a great showing,” said Brian Child, who is on the board of directors for the LRC. “We got a lot of people on the podium. I thought it went really, really well.”
Child did well himself, finishing strong after dealing with rain for three hours. Riding in the men’s master 35+B category, he finished fourth in 9 hours, 27 minutes and 34.9 seconds. This was his 11th LoToJa.
“It went really well, it was a great day,” said Child, who resides in Logan. “It was hard, but turned out to be a really good day.”
USA Cycling licensed racers rode 203 miles to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, while cyclosportive cyclists and relay teams rode 198 miles to Jackson Hole High School. The course takes cyclists through northeastern Utah, southeastern Idaho and western Wyoming.
The overall winners included Nathan Spratt for the men and Melissa Aitken for the women. Spratt, who is from Millcreek, raced with the cat 1/2/3 men and won by 26 seconds with a time of 8:31:18.7. Aitken, who is from Salt Lake City, raced with the cat 5 women and had the best time by a minute, clocking in at 9:44:15.7.
Two members of the LRC won their categories. Sarah Smith of Smithfield won the women’s cat 4/5, crossing the finish line in 9:53:41.1, while Christian Durstetler of North Logan won the men’s novice cat 5 in 9:18:20.6.
“We had a lot of women do well,” Child said. “Christian did well, as did Drew Neilson, Joe Camire and Greg Roper.”
In a very competitive men’s master 45+A race, long-time LoToJa racer Drew Neilson, who is the first to tell you he is not a sprinter, was edged by the width of a tire for first. In fact, he and a cyclist from Bozeman, Montana, finished with matching times of 9:05:09.6.
“I went 50 meters too early,” Neilson said. “I really didn’t think I would stay away.”
Neilson was trying to help set up a teammate who is a better sprinter, but found himself away in the closing miles after several attacks, so he had to go for it. Joseph Camire of Paradise ended up third with a time of 9:05:27.0, and Greg Roper of North Logan was sixth in 9:05:27.9 in the same category.
This was the 17th time Neilson has completed LoToJa. Other than dealing with poring rain from just north of Preston all the way to Montpelier, Idaho, it was a good day.
“It was a safe day,” Neilson said. “There were no close calls even with all the rain and water everywhere down Emigration Canyon. ... It was a good day. It was pretty satisfying when the team works together.”
Other cyclists placing in the top six of a category that haven’t been mentioned included: Becca Louviere, Smithfield, 3rd master women’s 45+, 10:33:02.5; Elizabeth Edwards, Hyde Park, 3rd women’s cat 5, 11:01:25.3; Laura Howley, Providence, 4th women’s cat 4/5, 10:33:02.3; Scott Smith, Smithfield, 5th men’s cat 4, 9:13:47.9; Michael Adams, Preston, 6th men’s master 55+, 9:50:22.8; and Joel Draxler, Richmond, 6th men’s masters 35+B, 9:36:51.7.
Other LRC riders that did LoToJa included: Ryan Ottley, North Logan; Brandon Burtenshaw, Nibley; Mike Broadbent, North Logan; Doug Plowman, North Logan; Douglas Moore, Preston; Nelson Palmer, Providence; Craig Willis, Logan; Brandt Smith, Nibley; Tim Frost, Bear River City; Nic Porter; Jonathan Foster, Logan; Mike Twohig; Banden Nakken; and Greg Law
The LRC’s title sponsor is OnWatch which is tied into the Malouf Foundation. Cyclists of the club wear OnWatch kits.