Coming out of Hoback, Roger Arnell attacked the course and created some separation with the 37th LoToJa finish line looming Saturday afternoon.
But as he built space between himself and the lead pack, he began to cramp.
“I almost stopped because it was hurting so much,” he said.
He pressed on and connected with the bike path headed toward Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Once there, he was caught by Arizona’s Gilberto Melendez, creating a two-man race to the tape.
“I just said, ‘Dude, let’s see what we can do,’” Arnell remembered. “I knew I was feeling better than him, and I just stayed with him until the end. He went first, I marked him and was able to go past him pretty easily. In the end, I was super pleased with that.”
Arnell took the 207-mile cycling race title in 8 hours, 45 minutes and 51 seconds. Melendez was second in 8:45:54.
Spencer Johnson, the 2018 champion and course record holder (8:18:29), was third Saturday in 8:47:59.
J. Trevor Robinson was the top local, placing seventh overall in 8:48.
On the women’s side, California’s Alison Tetrick took the title in 9:42:07, over eight minutes ahead of second place.
Katharine Lovett was the top local finisher on the women’s side, placing 16th in the women’s category 5 race in 11:27:04.
The race, named for its course trajectory that starts in Logan, Utah, winds up into Idaho and crosses into Wyoming, had over 1,500 participants this year. Racers hailed from 37 states, Canada and the United Kingdom.
See a full story with more results on the 37th LoToJa in the Sept. 11 Jackson Hole News&Guide.