LoToJa Bike Race
We started LoToJa (Logan to Jackson) here at the bike shop in the early 80’s when Dave Bern came in complaining about being overweight and out-of-shape, and needing a big goal. A 200 mile one-day bike race, surrounded by mountains, sounded like fun.
– Jeff Keller, Co-Founder of the LoToJa bike race
The LoToJa Bicycle Classic is a 200+ mile (322+ km), one-day amateur bicycle road race from Logan, UT to Jackson Hole, WY, USA. It is held in September the first Saturday after Labor Day, and attracts both national and International participants. LoToJa is one of the longest one-day road cycling races in the U.S, and is the longest one-day race sanctioned by USA Cycling, the sport’s governing body based in Colorado Springs, CO.
LoToJa is one of the nation’s premier amateur cycling races and continues to be a grueling test of one’s physical and mental stamina. The race began in 1983 and will celebrate its 35th anniversary in 2018. LoToJa’s first year featured seven cyclists racing 192 miles from Logan to a finish line in Jackson’s town square. The winning time was just over nine hours by Bob VanSlyke. In 2016, LoToJa had over 1,800 riders.
LoToJa is pronounced “low-to-juh” by some and “la-TOE-juh” by others. The race starts at Sunrise Cyclery in Logan, Utah and heads north into southeastern Idaho and winds across western Wyoming. The finish line is near the base of the Grand Teton at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, one of America’s top ski destinations. Along the scenic 200+ mile (322+ km) course are three mountain passes, plus hilly to rolling terrain that results in nearly 10,000 feet (3,000 meters) of vertical climbing, most of which occurs in the first 110 miles/177 km. At 205 miles, the current route which has been used since 2005, is the longest and most challenging in LoToJa’s 35-year history.
LoToJa requires over 500 course volunteers, 150 of which are HAM radio operators providing radio communications and neutral support.
LoToJa attracts a variety of male and female riders, from top-level amateur racers who are licensed by USA Cycling, to recreational cyclists who just want to cross the finish line and live to tell the tale. Because of the event’s wide appeal, there are over 30 different ability and/or age categories, plus a non-competitive fun ride or Gran Fondo class. Categories also include tandems and relay teams. All categories and classes leave Logan in timed intervals.
To win or even place in a respective LoToJa category is a prestigious achievement. Some past winners have gone on to professional cycling careers, such as Levi Leipheimer (Team RadioShack) and Marty Jemison (U.S. Postal). Other big name amateur winners over the years include Scott Moninger and John Frey.
In addition to being a bicycle race, LoToJa has become a vehicle to generate cash and raise awareness for charities and causes that need money to fund research, pay for services, and provide educational opportunities for families and individuals. So far LoToJa, along with its sponsors and participants, have raised over $1,700,000 for our charitable partners and their important causes. Our charitable partners include the Huntsman Cancer Foundation, Autism Spectrum Disorder Connections, Utah High School Cycling League, National Ability Center (NAC), Common Ground and Bike Utah.
LoToJa was created by two avid cyclists, David Bern and Jeff Keller in Logan, Utah who wanted to give Utah racers an idea of what it would be like to compete in a one-day European spring classic like the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. From 1983 to 1985, LoToJa’s distance was 186 miles (299 km) and the finish line was in the town of Jackson. In 1986, the distance was expanded to 200+ miles (322+ km) and the finish line was moved to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
The current course record is Cameron Hoffman – 8:45:38 (2014) of Clearfield, UT (Averaging over 23 mph/37 kph). The women’s course record is held by Melinda MacFarlane – 9:35:00 (2013) of Draper, UT. The Tandem course* record is held by Gary Gardiner & John Lauk – 9:05:57 (2014) of Centerville, UT. *Since 2013 LoToJa Race Route out of Cache Valley for individual and tandem categories is three miles shorter than in previous years.
To date the youngest cyclist to finish the course in one day are a 13 year old boy and a 13 year old girl. The oldest individual finishers: Male: 74; Female: 63. It is estimated the average LoToJa rider will burn up to 15,000 calories on race day and take approximately 11 hours to complete the event.