LOTOJA Transfer Clamp-Down

I've expressed my bewilderment at the continued popularity of LoToJa despite its high cost (this year it's $180), no transfer policy, and heavy-handed control and enforcement.

To be fair, the route is scenic and tough, and the organizers and volunteers put on a good event. I must also acknowledge the marketing skill which keeps LoToJa as the most recognized ride/race in the state.

But evidently the LoToJa folks are still unhappy about transfers, despite previous steps to curtail the activity (showing ID at check-in, wrist bands, etc.). This year riders/racers must receive a stamp on their left calf and have it visible at the start and throughout the race. Here it is straight from the event guidlelines under "all cyclists":

20. Cyclists must have a frame number on their bicycle, wear a timing chip on their ankle, and receive an official LOTOJA body stamp on their left calf before they will be allowed to start and participate in LOTOJA. These items must be worn/visible throughout the day until arrival at the finish. Event personnel and course marshals will be located at the start and throughout the course to remove participants without these three items.
In a KanyonKris exclusive, I present the LoToJa leg stamp:

You better have your mark of the beast or it's off to the gulag for you. OK, I'm exagertaing for effect, but come on, really, a stamp? If I didn't find this so funny, I'd find it sad and insulting.

Wouldn't it be better if the LoToJa organizers spent their energy handling transfers instead of enforcing a bad policy? Either they are really entrenched in the mindset of no transfers, or they count on racers dropping out.

I don't understand why cyclist keep flocking to LoToJa. Surely these draconian policies are a turn-off. I guess the allure of LoToJa is stronger than the risk of losing $180 that you have to ante up months before the event and hope you don't get injured, have to work or attend a wedding/birth/funeral, etc.

Fellow cyclists, there are other double centuries. Right here in Utah we have the Desperado Duel run by a cycling club, fully supported and it costs less than half of LoToJa. I did STP and enjoyed it - and they handle transfers even with 9000 riders.

I just don't get it.

P.S. I find it amusing that my rants are the top results when you search Google for lotoja sticker and lotoja transfers.


reabbotted said...

Hmm... tattoos huh? Isn't that what they did in concentration camps? That does sound strict!

Unknown said...

There are also other rides that you could do that weekend. Like the Everest Challenge over in NorCal. Less $$, TWO days of racing with a genuinely absurd amount of climbing, and harder than LoToJa. Each day is. No tats, though. I understand they will have stickers, but they are not required...Full disclosure: I run the EC so I may be less than completely impartial. And I will help you do a transfer if you like. Or roll over the entry to next year. Or whatever.

Janet B said...

I guess some people like the bragging rights to compete in the longest one-day sanctioned race in the US. Otherwise, yes, plenty of other fish in the sea.

I rode the Capitol Reef Classic stage race in Teasdale, Utah this year. Three races in two days for only $85.

bjchild said...

I don't know what bugs me more, the Lotoja stickers on the back of mini vans of people that don't "look" like cyclists or the little stickers showing how many kiddies are in the family (especially the turtle ones).

KanyonKris said...

Good comments, all.

bjchild - I have considered doing a rant on the family stickers. Glad to know I'm not the only one who has a negative reaction to fads that start out unique and cute but then become obnoxious with over use.

Ski Bike Junkie said...

Seems a bit draconian to me, too. But I'll be lining up with the other lemmings on Sept. 12 nonetheless.

Agree with Janet that CRC is a better event with a better course for less than half the cost. Tour DAY Park City is a better, harder course, and you can sleep in your own bed before and after (if you live on the Wasatch Front). TDPC is even harder than it needs to be because they don't feed you adequately on course.

For a lot of people, though, doing these big events is about whether or not they can finish, and they're immensely proud of just finishing, as indeed I was the first time. Now for me it's more about racing and seeing what results I can get. It just so happens that I'm better-suited to the longer, sufferfest types of races than the shorter ones. I would take the Lotoja sticker off my car except that my windshield wiper is already doing it for me.

South County Ciclista said...

One more reason I don't do LOTOJA anymore. 3 times was enough for me. I agree with the Tour of Park City comments. I believe that race will one day overtake LOTOJA.

Faceless Ghost said...

Listen to datsaxman. The Everest Challenge is more difficult, more scenic, and more fun (big climbs make big descents). Plus, you can back out and still get a refund up until about a week before the race. And the neutral support is awesome, not to mention all the food at the finish line. The only downside is that each day the final climb will crush your soul. You probably won't even want to look at your bike for a month after the EC.

KanyonKris said...

Ski Bike Junkie - You've got a lot of good reasons to do LoToJa. You're actually racing, with your brother, and as you said you do well at long races. Sounds good to me.

And you're right, if someone has a goal to just finish LoToJa that's worthy in my book.

My main beef is with the organizers and the policies they set. Just because they fill up every year does that make it OK for them to take people's money who can't ride?

MOCougFan said...

I see your still shaving your legs Kris. Looks good.

KanyonKris said...

MOCougFan - No, that's an old picture. I've let my legs lapse back into their natural hairy state. I need to post about that.

eber said...

having done leadville and lotoja now...i think this will be my last year at lotoja.

couldn't agree with your post more. ps - last year i snuck someone in. maybe I am the reason for the leg stamp.