By Jason Speirs of Idaho Falls, Idaho

Of all the years the LoToJa Classic has existed I'm grateful I was able to participate in 2005 — it was an experience I will never forget. Rather than calling it LoToJa 2005 it should be renamed the "LoToJa from Hell." I never imagined I would ever be a part of something like it.

I actually purchased a road bike only months prior to the race and had been a "couch potato" previous to that. Early 2005 my wife was teasing me that I was getting fat, so I bought a bike online and then entered the longest race I could find just to prove to her that I was still "the man." After assembling my bike I bought a Lance Armstrong book at the nearest Barnes and Noble and my race career was officially started.

My wife volunteered to be my support crew (she was the only volunteer---nobody else thought I was serious.) Looking back I think we figured the experience would be a lot like one of those dates you would sometimes have in high school where you would plan out an entire Saturday. I guess it was the meeting Friday night before the race when we first realized that we wouldn't be having romantic interludes and bonding picnic breaks along the way. We still laugh out loud when we remember learning at that meeting about feed zones, musette bags, drop zones, etc. After the meeting I went to the motel to get some rest and my wife went to Walmart to look for a musette bag (yeah right!). Unable to locate the Lance Armstrong section she came back with these cute little bags that looked like something that would be real popular at a craft store or my 3 year old daughter's tea parties. I guess she was more focused on whether or not they would match my bike than on how many peanut butter and honey sandwiches they would hold.

Anyway, after a half dozen or so awkward food exchanges at the feed zones, my wife getting lost several times along the way, and approximately 10 and a half hours of me pedaling my guts out with post nasal drip permanently hanging from my nostrils, I managed to cross the finish line in Teton Village. I still don't know how I managed to win my category. I was in complete shock after scraping the mud from my Vuarnet's and seeing my name at the top of the printout. We called friends and family at home who, needless to say, were in complete shock too. Everybody keeps telling me all the "good" people must have quit. I tell them I have an inborn talent for bike racing that was partly developed during years of doorbell ditching when I was younger (unlike most kids who prefer to hide in the bushes, I always favored racing off on a BMX bike).

2006 will be my race of truth!