Legend provided by L.R.C. teammate of Tracy Mikesell, Logan, Utah

Email received from Tracy’s teammate:

Dear LoToJa, I am writing this email for the purpose of letting you know about one of this year’s LoToJa participants. I know that in the past you have recognized cyclists that have unique circumstances that may set them apart. If this is still the case, this person should qualify. He is from the Logan area and is very well known in the Logan Race Club and by the hospital medical staff. He has completed LoToJa in the past and is a very dedicated, consistent rider. What sets him apart is his extreme run of bad luck the last three years. Please allow me to explain.

First off just as a warm up, three years ago he was riding through Logan and was struck from behind by a car. He suffered a broken collarbone and elbow.

The next year (two years ago) while he was training for LoToJa and riding down Emigration Canyon he was attacked by a large dog. He was traveling around 40 m.p.h. and collided with the dog head on. He was propelled over the dog and landed directly on his hip, which as a result was completely shattered. It was the worst thing I have ever witnessed. He lay in the road for well over an hour, going in and out of shock, before we were able to get an ambulance. He ended up having very extensive surgery where they added a significant amount of hardware to his hip. He spent several months just getting to where he could walk again. As a result of the accident, he has some permanent paralysis in his left leg. Then, he astonished us all by climbing back on his bike the next year and continuing to ride.

Unfortunately, this is not the end of the story. Last year, he was out on one of Logan’s famous TNRs (Tuesday Night Rides) when some riders in front of him hit a large pothole and went down, taking him down as well. As I understand it, he broke both collarbones, 6 ribs, and a spinal vertebra. Everything combined, all these accidents left him patched together with something like 4 plates and 30 screws.

Well I am happy to report that this year he has been accident free and has amazed everyone by continuing to ride his bike. I don’t know many with this kind of perseverance. I know he has once again been diligently training for LoToJa and is signed up. I am not so sure his wife has been too happy about this, but I myself am very impressed. Most of us can hardly believe he is willing to ride a bike again, much less ride a 206-mile race like LoToJa. It’s almost crazy but inspirational as well.

This person’s name is Tracy Mikesell. Thanks for your time and I hope that if you do any special recognition awards this year that you keep Tracy in mind. It will be an amazing accomplishment after all he has been through the last three years to complete this race. Thanks also for putting on such a great, though grueling event.

Additional insight from Tracy:

When I decided to get back on the bike the year after hitting the dog, my wife just about went through the roof. In the accident, the impact with the road had actually forced the head of my left femur thru my hip socket and into my abdominal area where it lodged. It also shattered my pelvis. As you can imagine, it took months before I could do much of anything. When I got to the point in therapy where I could run a exercise bike for a few minutes, I remember getting on and watching my left knee flop all over because I couldn’t control it. I remember thinking “boy, this is really going to screw up my spin!” Of course my spin has improved significantly since, but I still do approximately 65% of the work with my right leg as I was left with a paralyzed left hip flexor.  

Thru all this, I have had many conversations about my accidents with several people and typically I get two types of reactions about my resuming the bike. The non-bikers are usually sympathetic, yet believe I must be crazy or stupid to keep biking. The bikers tend to be more impressed and supportive. Bikers just have a different mind set, the desire to overcome a major challenge. If they didn’t, you wouldn’t be filling up LoToJa so fast.  

I barely made it to the finish line this year. I have to admit though, sometimes I wonder if I am stupid and just can’t learn my lesson. But then I remember I love riding my bike.