Annual event draws cyclists in droves
Published: Thursday, September 5, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 23:09
Cyclists from across the country will arrive in Logan Saturday for the annual LoToJa bicycle race.
LoToJa, shortened from the words “Logan to Jackson,” is a 206-mile race starting in Logan, crossing through Idaho and ending in Jackson, Wyo.
Ian Butler, store manager of Sunrise Cyclery, said the race was co-founded by the business's owner, Jeff Keller, in 1981. The other founder, David Bern, was a student at USU. Bern wanted to create a race similar to the European one-day races.
LoToJa is the longest one-day bicycle race in the United States and is sanctioned by the United States of America Cycling organization. More than 1,000 ametuer and professional cyclists will participate this year.
Many Logan residents get involved in the race each year because they feel the event is an important part of local culture.
Butler said all revenue brought in from the outsiders who flock to Logan each year for the race boosts the local economy.
“It brings in a lot of money to Logan,” Butler said. He said the race is an important part of local heritage.
Robert Schmidt, a community member who has been part of LoToJa for several years, said the event offers lots of opportunities for individuals who want to take part.
“It’s a long bike ride,” he said. “There are a lot of ways to get involved.”
Schmidt said there are many different types of people who take part in the event, including those who cycle the entire race. Other cyclists join a relay team, riding part of the way before another teammate takes over.
Schmidt said he has volunteered at one of the rest stations along the route in the past. However, he will be cycling the uphill portion on a relay team this Saturday, riding a total of 46 miles.
“The things going through your head are always, ‘Can you do it?'" Schmidt said. "It’s part physical but part mental. When do you say, ‘I can, I can,’ and when am I just fooling myself?”