Jemison Battles Elements to Claim Solo 1997 LoToJa Win


Clothier Takes the Women’s Win

By David Ward and David Bern
Last year’s LoToJa was one for the history books, but this year’s race will burn long in the memories of all who dared to jump on a bike the morning of Sept. 20.
Despite his prestigious position in Europe’s pro peloton and racing the Tour de France, Marty Jemison (U.S. Postal Service) won’t likely forget it either.

The pack begins a push to catch the solo breakaway of Rob Van Kirk. Dave Wood, second in line eventually bridged to Van Kirk along with Marty Jemison, the eventual winner. Wood finished third behind Van Kirk. Photo by David R. Ward
The pack begins a push to catch the solo breakaway of Rob Van Kirk. Dave Wood, second in line eventually bridged to Van Kirk along with Marty Jemison, the eventual winner. Wood finished third behind Van Kirk. Photo by David R. Ward

The 1996 LoToJa saw Scott Moninger smash the long-standing record by over 30 minutes. Yet, racing conditions had been ideal on that day, with a relentless southern wind blowing the peloton from Logan to Teton Village. Moninger also had help with John Frey (a two-time LoToJa champion) and Steven Speaks keeping the breakaway intact and at a brutal velocity.
But help was short in coming as dawn broke on this year’s 203-mile edition. El Nino was in full force, sending a chilly, hard rain onto the backs of riders as they left Logan shortly after 7 a.m. Conditions were so abysmal, that it took Jemison well over nine and one half hours to win the race — almost two hours slower than last year’s record-breaking time by Moninger.
“I was riding the race for training, but wanted to win,” explained Jemison, who has ridden the LoToJa twice, placing sec- ond both times. “I was disappointed with the turnout. It would have been nice if Moninger and Frey had come for the race.”
Although Jemison described the LoToJa’s competitiveness as a “training ride” in comparison to racing the Tour de France, the 32-year-old Utahn still had to contend with impressive riding by Rob Van Kirk (EDC) and David Wood (Mi Duole).
Just north of Soda Springs, Van Kirk made a successful solo attack and stayed away to win King of the Mountain on Tin Cup Pass. Meanwhile, over five minutes back, Jemison launched an attack at the base of Tin Cup. The remaining peloton exploded and only Wood was able to stay on Jemison’s wheel.
The two crested Tin Cup together and flew down into Star Valley in search of Van Kirk, whom they caught. The three riders worked together through Alpine Junction and continued their cooperative while rid- ing high over a misty Snake River.
But on a long hill, Jemison maintained tempo and left Wood and Van Kirk. “I was just keeping pace when they dropped off,” he said. “I heard somebody yell, ‘Hey, wait for us.'” Jemison didn’t wait and soloed the remaining 35 miles to Teton Village. Immediately after the race, the U.S. Postal rider didn’t complain about the weather. But he did describe the 7 a.m. start in the rain as “Brutal. I’m not used to starting that early.”
Jemison’s time was 9:37:43 with Van Kirk taking second and Wood third. Van Kirk and Wood crossed the line with the same time of 9:51:33.
Only a handful of licensed women pulled up to the start line and left Logan with the Cat. 4 men’s pack. After racing the LoToJa once two years ago and taking fourth, Jennifer Clothier (Northshore) was in the hunt for a win. Also wanting a spot on the podium was Heidi Appedale.
Shortly before Soda Springs, both women were involved in a crash and had to chase hard to catch the Cat. 4 peloton. Clothier bridged back with two other riders, while Appedale chased back alone.
After the China Hat feed zone, Clothier noticed that Appedale had been dropped. “I stayed with the pack as long as I could to put distance on her,” said Clothier. Shortly before Tin Cup, Clothier lost contact with the pack. But her effort was enough, crossing the finish line at 10:35:50. Appedale was second at 10:55:00 and Kirsten Davis was third at 12:03:40.
The start of Sunday morning’s awards ceremony was delayed as USCF Race Referee Gary Bywater processed rider dis- putes for the Cat. Ill and Masters 35-45 races. Cyclists Kirk Eck, Eric Schramm and John Osguthorpe were relegated to second, fourth and sixth places, respective- ly, for allegedly failing to obey traffic con- trols at a road construction zone. Quinton Appedale took first place at 10:03:03 with Dan Arnold taking third at 10:03:06.
In the Masters 35-45, the race came down to the wire between Dana Harrison and Mark Schaefer (Mi Duole). Both men sprinted heavily for the line, with Harrison crossing first. However, Schaefer immedi- ately filed a protest, claiming that Harrison had nearly rode him off the road during the sprint. Schaefer’s winning time was 10:00:08. Harrison was relegated to fifth.

LoToJa Classic Results
September 20, 1997
Sr. Men Pro/Cat. I-2:
1. Marty Jemison 9:37:43; 2.
Rob Van Kirk; 3. David Wood; 4. Allan Butler; 5. Tyler
Higley. King of the Mountain — Van Kirk
Cat. 1-4 Women:
l. Jennifer Clothier 10:35:50; 2.
Heidi A p p e d a l e ; 3. Kirsten Davis. Queen of the
Mountain — Clothier
Cat. 3 Men: 1. Quinton A p p e d a l e 10:03:03; 2. Kirk
Eck (relegation); 3. Dan Arnold; 4. Eric Schramm
(relegation); 5. Manx Quayle
Cat. 4 Men: 1. Tim Hanson 9:55:14; 2. Bob
Henderson; 3. Brent Cannon; 4. Brian Williams; 5.
Shane Sorenson
Masters 35-44: 1. Mark Schaefer 10:00:08; 2. Ken
Jones; 3, Jim Althus; 4, Chuck Collins; 5. Dana
Harrison (relegation)
Masters 45+: 1. Terry Patterson 10:06:00; 2. Art Heers;
3. Bill Peterson; 4. Mark Bates
Cat. 5 Men 17-26 (1-day lie): 1. Mike Depiero
10:10:09; 2. Dave Mathison; 3. Mike Caldwell; 4.
Steve Bender
Cat. 5 Men 27-34: 1. Dennis Porter 10:12:05; 2. Steve
Murdock; 3. Dave Bush; 4. Chris Johnson; 5. Gary
Cat. 5 Men 35-44: 1. Tony Koch 10:06:43; 2. Gerald
Cat. 5 Men 45+: 1. Carl Blair 10:06:43; 2. Joe
Thompson; 3. David Wallace; 4. Roger hansen; 5.
Tom Dyson
Cat. 4 Women (1-day lie): 1. Julie G o d d e r a g e
12:47:49; 2. Irene Herremans
Tandems: 1. Beth Whittikar/lvan Meddors 10:34:17;
2. Brian Carlson/Cathy Vojta; 3. Michael
Bingle/Larry Conor

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