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Arnell, Tetrick prevail at 37th annual LoToJa Classic

JACKSON, Wyo. — Competing in a 207-mile, one-day bike race, is not for the faint of heart. But winning a race that distance takes something special. Just ask Roger Arnell and Alison Tetrick, winners of the 2019 LoToJa Classic. A day they will likely never forget.

Arnell, of Farmington, won this year’s race with an overall time of 8:45:51, averaging over 23 mph on the course. First place overall for the women went to Tetrick of Petaluma, California, with an overall time of 9:42:07.

Weather conditions on race day varied with riders experiencing everything from early morning fog across the Cache Valley, to a mixture of windy conditions throughout the Star Valley, Wyoming, portion of the course. Riders certainly didn’t enjoy the generous tailwinds of previous years.

In the relay race, the top two-person relay team was the Olsens team of Ogden, with a time of 8:57.23, The winner of the three-to-five-person relay went to Team Onsite Screening of Smithfield, with a time of 9:017:28.

For Craig Jeppson of Salt Lake City, this was his first experience in riding the entire 207-mile race. “ I rode the relay last year and that got me excited for my training this year. The preparation and focus you need to be successful riding the entire race is totally different than preparing to do the relay race. I’m already starting to plan my training for next year.”

The variety in racing experiences is something race co-founder Dave Bern says is unique to LoToJa.

“Many of those riding LoToJa have spent months preparing for this one day event,” Bern said. “It doesn’t matter if you are riding with a group of friends in a relay or pushing yourself as an individual racer. We give riders at all skill levels a chance to participate in a safe, professional racing experience. One they will always remember.”

Mori Paulsen of Salt Lake City chose to participate in the relay this year. “I rode the full race a few years ago and that was a memorable experience but I wanted to test my training and fitness by riding a relay with friends. In a way, the relay allowed me to train for my specific leg which included the two biggest climbs of the day.”

Paulsen’s view was shared by his relay teammate Jeff Justice, “In the past when I rode the full race, I was constantly focused on my nutrition and energy level throughout the day. Justice explained. “But in the relay, all of your focus is on your specific leg of the race. For me, it was exciting to know that I could just light the fuse and ride as hard as I possibly could, knowing I had my teammate waiting at the next transition stop. I’m already making my reservations for next year.”

“This was by far my most memorable LoToJa. The beauty of the mountains and valleys along the route are awe-inspiring” said Paul Monson of Salt Lake City. “I will not soon forget this day!”

As for the 37th annual LoToJa Classic, it appears that regardless if riders were standing on the podium as winners like Arnell and Tetrick or riding the full course or a relay for their personal best, the feeling of accomplishment won’t soon be forgotten.

Official race results can be found at: https://www.sportstats.us/search-results.xhtml

Glenn Seninger lives in Salt Lake City and is an 11-time LoToJa finisher.