More than 1,500 cyclists will descend on Jackson on Saturday afternoon, wrapping up the 37th annual LoToJa Classic at the finish line at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
The 207-mile race is named for a course trajectory that starts in Logan, Utah, winds up into Idaho and crosses into Wyoming before finishing in the valley.
The event began in 1983, when two Logan cyclists wanted to create an enduring one-day bicycle race.
The first year saw seven cyclists compete and finish near downtown Jackson. That race was 186 miles. The event clipped the 200-mile length in 1986, when the finish was moved to Teton Village.
“It doesn’t matter if you’ve been racing for years or are new to the sport, crossing LoToJa’s finish line is known to change lives,” race director Brent Chambers said in a news release. “It is a challenging and beautiful event that presents a huge goal for every cyclist who enters. They must properly train and dig deep — and that includes those who just want to finish and cross LoToJa off their bucket list.”
According to Chambers, LoToJa is the longest one-day bicycle race in America that is sanctioned by USA Cycling, the sport’s governing body.
This year’s race features a number of categories for USA Cycling license holders, along with a cyclosportive class, which consists of cyclists who aren’t licensed and are either competing against riders in their age group or just riding for fun. A relay race and categories for tandem riders are also held.
The race will get underway at 6 a.m. in Utah, and finishers are expected to cross the finish line in Jackson between 2:30 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.
A year ago Spencer Johnson, of Riverton, Utah, smashed the men’s course record in 8 hours, 18 minutes and 29 seconds, over 24 minutes ahead of the record set in 2017. Salt Lake City’s Melinda McFarlane owns the women’s course record of 9:35:00, set in 2013.
For those hoping to take in stretches of the race or simply trying to travel on Saturday, race officials urge caution when driving. Numerous groups of northbound cyclists are expected on Highway 89 from Alpine into Jackson on Saturday afternoon and evening. Motorists are also advised that cyclists will be encountered through the road construction area on 89 from Hoback Junction to Evans Road.
As cyclists approach Jackson from the south on U.S. 89, they will turn left onto South Park Loop Road and continue north to Tribal Trail Road. There they will merge onto the bike path that parallels Highway 22. After crossing the Snake River on the bike path bridge, cyclists will turn onto Highway 390 and continue to the finish line at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
Cyclists from 37 states, Canada and the United Kingdom will be at the starting line.
The finish rate in 2018 was 83.75%, down from 87% in 2017. The oldest rider to finish last year was 76-year-old Michael Washburn, of Utah, who crossed the line in 11:55:27. The oldest woman to finish was Salt Lake City’s Sydney Tervort, 62. Her time was 12:07:03.