Smithfield, Utah

What I have learned in 15 years of the LoToJa:

1. Get your bicycle tuned a week or so before LoToJa, checking chain (recommended - a new one every 2500 miles), tires, brakes, etc. There's nothing worse than having your summer of fitness and training for LoToJa end because of a preventable mechanical problem.

2. Prepare your food, clothes, and race items a few days before the eve of LoToJa. Don't wait until the last minute; this will help reduce stress and nerves before your big day.

3. Hydrate, eat, rest and stay off your feet as much as possible on the Friday before LoToJa.

4. Try to get a good night's sleep the night before the eve of LoToJa.

The morning of the race:

5. Eat a good breakfast.

6. If you transport your bicycle by taking off the front tire, when you put it back on make sure to check the brakes so they are not rubbing and check that your odometer sensor also works.

7. Unless you are sure you are going to be in the lead pack, checking in wheels might not be in your best interest. Take along extra tubes and a CO2 tire pump just in case you flat.

8. Even if it looks cloudless in the sky when you leave home, be sure to take plenty of clothes to keep warm and dry along the race course.

Race On:

9. Think that today is just another day in your life; it may seem a little longer than normal but what an incredible day it is going to be, a true adventure… savor it.

10. If it is raining lightly in Preston, stop, and I mean “stop”, and put on a rain jacket and maybe some warmer clothes. You can never tell what surprises Mother Nature might have in store for your climb up Emigration Canyon.

11. Make sure you eat and drink constantly the entire way.

12. Don't try new foods or drinks that you have not already tried on training rides - eat foods that you normally eat and know your stomach can handle.

13. You can ride through leg cramps even though they hurt.

14. Bananas are a magical fruit, easy to eat and helpful for cramps.

15. Some salty foods like pretzels, chips, and some sports drinks will also help to stop cramping.

16. Baby potatoes are also a good cycling food, boiled about 20 minutes in salty water.

17. You will never eat all the food that you pack, but pack it anyway.

Feed Zones:

18. Write instructions for your support crew for each feed zone which includes foods, drinks or other items that you may want.

19. Place the food you want for each feed zone in a zip-lock bag and write on the bag what feed zone it will be used for. This will make it easier for your support people.

20. I would suggest only using a musette bag at the feed zones if you have practiced doing it beforehand. They can be tricky and unsafe.

21. If you stop, don't spend too much time at feed zones especially if you are looking for a faster time. Try to get in and out in less than a minute.

22. Always thank your support crew and those volunteers at the neutral feed zones for their help.

On the Road:

23. Obey all traffic laws, and remember you are sharing the road.

24. If you can ride with friends, that will truly enhance your LoToJa experience. If you can't, then make new friends along the ride.

25. Break the LoToJa ride into smaller rides; I am just riding to the top of Strawberry, OK Montpelier, OK Geneva. OK, I just have 20 miles to the next feed zone that will be easy. Don't think, ugh, I still have 150 miles to go.

26. Don't forget to encourage other riders along the way and thank those who encourage you.

27. Use discretion when heeding the call of Mother Nature if you can't make it to a feed zone and use the port-o-potties.

28. Try to ride at your own pace whenever possible.

29.There might be a time when thoughts of quitting will enter your mind for various reasons. Don't Do It!! Finishing is a major reward, so just stay focused and keep pedaling.

30. Stay optimistic, “This climb isn't that bad, the downhill will be fun”, “I'm sure these rumble strips are a good idea, at least for cars.” “Headwinds can be fun???"

31. Don't forget to take time to look and marvel at the beautiful scenery on the ride.

32. No matter how many times you have seen the Teton Mountains before, they will never look as majestic as they do when you finally see them coming down the home stretch riding into Teton Village to finish LoToJa.

33. Never discount your performance when you finish, regardless of time or position. You have just completed an amazing athletic feat.

34. It is OK to marvel at the fact that you just rode your bicycle 206 miles. Wow!!! Congratulations, you are incredible!

35. Regardless of how much you suffered and told yourself you will never do this stinking ride again, moments, hours or even the next day after you finish LoToJa, your mind will do something very unusual. It will start to plan strategies how to improve your time for next year. Before you know it you will be a member of the 1000 mile club.