Courtesy Glenn Seninger

Cyclists enjoy a strong tailwind riding up Snake River Canyon in the 2018 LoToJa.

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. — It’s been said, “records are meant to be broken.” For the 36th annual LoToJa cycling race Saturday, previous records were shattered. Fans and spectators who closely follow the yearly pilgrimage from Logan to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, were stunned by the record-setting pace.

“Seeing these endurance athletes perform at this level is hard to describe,” said LoToJa co-founder Dave Bern. “This year was a special year.”

Spencer Johnson, of Riverton, set the all-time race record with a time of 8:18:29. He finished nearly 24 minutes faster than the 2017 record of 8:42:31, held by Kai Applequist of Boise.

Johnson averaged a blistering 24.35 mph over the 202 miles. First place overall for the women, with a time of 9:47.58, went to Lindsey Stevenson from Salt Lake City, who also won last year’s race.

The reason I love LoToJa is it provides me with the motivation I need to get up early and train with my friends throughout the hot summer months.

Don Ralph

In the relay race, the top two-person relay team, setting a new LoToJa record, was the Olsen’s relay team from Ogden, with a time of 8:45.01, The winner of the three-to-five-person relay went to Team Joyride, with a time of 9:09:07.

Cyclists with early starting times benefited from cool morning temperatures and strong tail winds throughout most of the day. Much of the smoke-filled air that plagued Utah in the few past weeks gave way to clear skies as light rain fell in the morning, which helped many riders cross the finish line with record times.

“LoToJa is such an incredible and fulfilling experience,” said Danny Clausen of Reno, Nevada. “This was one of my best races so far. Going up the Snake River Canyon with a tailwind was such a good feeling.”

Riders enjoyed the scenic views of the Snake River as they made the final push to the finish line.

“So much effort and sacrifice goes into training for the day, and when you cross that finish line it’s an accomplishment you will never forget,” Clausen said.

Clausen, who successfully completed his fourth LoToJa, plans on returning for next year’s race to join the exclusive 1,000 LoToJa club — an award given to cyclists successfully completing five LoToJa races.

“One of the high points for me is being able to ride LoToJa with people I know. The race comes in waves of ups and downs. You could be feeling great one moment and seconds later you can be tearing yourself inside out to hold a wheel,” Clausen said. “I have to come back to get my award.”

For most cyclists, just finishing LoToJa is a major accomplishment. Don Ralph, a triathlete from Henderson, Nevada, was riding in his third LoToJa for Red Burro Racing.

“The reason I love LoToJa is it provides me with the motivation I need to get up early and train with my friends throughout the hot summer months,” Ralph said. “We recently moved our family to Henderson from Kaysville, Utah, and for me and many of my Red Burro Racing teammates who live in the desert, you have to start early to beat the heat.”

LoToJa brings in thousands of riders and supporters each year to put their cycling skills to the test, but one of the main focuses for the race is the fundraising efforts that LoToJa provides.

“It just amazes me the generosity and giving that comes from our LoToJa community,” said Steve Sorensen, LoToJa’s race announcer. “We are so glad to be associated with the Huntsman Cancer Foundation. Since we started working with them, we have raised over $2,000,000, and every year more and more of our community wants to help. It just shows you how much people really care.”

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Other groups benefiting from the event include National Ability Center, Common Ground Outdoor Adventures, Utah High School Cycling League, Bike Utah and other community and youth groups.

“When the final riders cross the finish line near dark, it becomes clear to me that an event like this that covers three states and brings in over 650 volunteers and 2,000 riders is a special thing. We will rest today and look forward to next year.” Bern said.

Official race results can be found at:

Glenn Seninger lives in Salt Lake City and is a 10-time LoToJa finisher.


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