Kaysville, Utah -- 25 YEAR LOTOJA VETERAN

I've started and finished the LoToJa 25 times. I think the most important key to success in the LoToJa is complete preparation. Meaning the right kind and amount of miles and proper pre-ride planning. If it's a year I'm trying to win my category I know I need to go into the race with at least 7,000 miles for the year. If it's a "rolling-picnic" year much less is required. Regardless of the expectation, a good base of 100 plus miles a week for the previous three months seems to be a good predictor of completion. It's important to do at least several century rides that include the type of hilly terrain you'll find in the LoToJa.

If you're a first time LoToJa rider my advice would be as follows:

1. On race day DO NOT overdress. It's better to be a bit chilly than to cook all the way to the first feed zone in Preston.

2. Plan on forcing yourself to drink constantly, even when you don't feel the least bit thirsty. Your legs will thank you later in the day.

3. Stay away from the back of the pack. The yo-yo effect will quickly drain you of precious energy.

4. If you're not one of the stronger riders in the pack, stay out of the front until your pack is small enough that all riders rotate.

5. Be realistic about your ability. If you fry your legs hanging with a fast group on the first few hills your chance of recovering to finish the ride is at risk.

6. Plan your ride carefully. From your "century experiences" you should know what food and fluid works best for your body. Share your requirements with your support people so you'll have what you need waiting for you at each feed zone.

7. Most accidents seem to occur in the first few miles of the ride. It's a good idea to stay in your drops until the pack thins to a single line.

8. Avoid being stranded without a rotating pack. If you're a new rider don't chase after a breakaway group that may accelerate and leave you by yourself.

"LoToJa... It's a character builder!"