The LoToJa Classic (Logan, UT to Jackson, WY) was started in the 1980s by two Logan cyclists who wanted a race that resembled the difficulty of a one-day European classic. LoToJa’s first year featured seven cyclists racing 192 miles from Logan, Utah, to the finish line in Jackson, Wyoming's town square. It has since evolved into one of the nation’s premier amateur cycling competitions. The team at Strambecco considers it to be one of the Best Road Cycling Events in the Southwest.
Event & Course Info
Few cycling events in the United States command the respect and awe as the LoToJa Classic . Kicking off in Logan, Utah and culminating at Teton Village, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, this event is renowned for its breathtaking scenery, varying terrain, and the sheer challenge it presents. Sprawling over 200 miles, the race boasts an impressive elevation gain of approximately 9,800 feet and the three mountain passes that riders need to conquer within the first 110 miles. Each leg offers an unparalleled test of endurance and spirit:
- Logan to Preston: Starting at an elevation of 4,533 feet, the initial 30-plus miles leading to Preston offers a moderate terrain - an ideal warm-up for the steeper challenges ahead. However, don't be fooled by this gentler start; conserving energy is crucial.
- Preston to Montpelier: Covering 47 miles, this stretch demands grit with 60% of the route uphill. After Preston, riders will face a swift descent into Riverdale, followed by a grueling 22-mile climb up Strawberry/Emigration Canyon. Topping at an elevation of 7,424 feet, this section concludes with a descent into the Bear Lake Valley, before a flat terrain leading to Montpelier.
- Montpelier to Afton: With two substantial climbs and rapid descents across 47 miles, the road to Afton is a real leg tester. Climbers will reach the Geneva Summit at 6,923 feet before tackling the ascent to Salt River Pass, peaking at 7,630 feet.
- Afton to Alpine: Spanning 34 miles, this stretch is relatively flat but can prove challenging due to winds and traffic. A vigilant eye on the notorious rumble strips is essential.
- Alpine to Finish: The final 47-mile stretch is a visual treat. As cyclists navigate through Snake River Canyon, they'll experience the motivation of riding beneath the majestic Teton Range.
Things kick off early Saturday morning in Downtown Logan in Utah and the finish line awaits riders starting at 2:00pm at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Teton Village in Wyoming. Post ride celebrations take place including awards for the prestigious Utah Triple Crank winners, riders that have crossed the finish line at LoToJa Classic as well as at the Iron Lung and Kokopelli Relay that season. There is also a KOM/QOM competition starting four miles south and slightly more than 1,000 feet below the summit of Salt River Pass on US-89 (approximately 27 miles east of Feed Zone 3 in Montpelier). This award is given to the fastest climb time recorded by an individual male and female cyclist. Relay teams are excluded from this competition.
Be sure to check out the official 2023 Race Bible for all of the nitty gritty details.
Remember, registration is limited for this special event, and a lottery system is in place. One participant shared,“It doesn’t matter how much you suffered and told yourself you will never do this stinking ride again, moments, hours, or even the next day after you finish LoToJa — your mind will do something very unusual. It will start to plan strategies how to improve your time for next year. Before you know it, you will be a member of the LoToJa 1000 mile club.”
Area Accommodations & Things to Do
Lodging partners for LoToJa Classic in both the start and finish towns include University Inn, Best Western Plus - Weston Inn, and Bear Lake Luxury Rentals located in Logan, UT and Jackson Hole Resort, Spring Creek Ranch in Jackson. If you prefer a home like experience, there are plenty of vacation rentals in both Logan and Jackson, as well as unique camping options near each.
While in town either preparing for the event, or celebrating afterwards, each host town has a lot to offer in regards to restaurants and outdoor activities. Logan, UT boasts a homely culinary scene reflective of its agricultural roots, with a mix of traditional American eateries, international flavors, and farm-to-table establishments. Jackson, WY, on the other hand, melds the rustic charm of the American West with upscale dining, offering a blend of gourmet mountain cuisine, eclectic global dishes, and renowned steakhouses. Both cities celebrate their regional specialties, ensuring a delightful gastronomic journey for visitors. Favorites in Logan include Sabores, Crumb Brothers, and Le Nonne, while some of our go-to's in Jackson include Persephone Bakery, Il Villagio Osteria, and Local.
Outdoor athletes will not be bored exploring either town in the summer. In Logan, Logan Canyon, is a scenic gateway to the Bear River Mountains, offering a multitude of hiking trails, including the popular Wind Cave Trail, a moderate three-mile round-trip hike that leads adventurers through limestone formations to the iconic Wind Caves, where panoramic views of the canyon await. Also, Beaver Mountain just a short drive, provides a variety of mountain biking trails that challenge both novices and seasoned riders. With elevations ranging from 7,200 to 9,600 feet, riders can enjoy thrilling descents, technical sections, and breathtaking alpine views. Finally, Bear Lake is often referred to as the "Caribbean of the Rockies" for its intense turquoise-blue water, and is located northeast of Logan. Water enthusiasts will enjoy a canoe, kayak, or SUP and paddle along the shimmering shores, get in a good workout, and get immersed in the lake's serene beauty.
For those that have gas in the tank after the LoToJa Classic, hiking and climbing the Grand Tetons is a must-do once you reach Jackson. For avid mountaineers, the ascent of the Grand Teton is a challenging yet rewarding endeavor. The most popular route, the Owen-Spalding, involves a mix of hiking, rock scrambling, and technical rock climbing. Athletes will revel in the stunning alpine views and the sense of accomplishment upon reaching the 13,770-foot summit.
During summer months, the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort transforms its ski runs into a mountain biker's paradise. Offering a diverse range of trails for various skill levels, riders can enjoy the Teewinot Lift to access downhill routes like the Ricochet and Lucky Charm trails.
Lastly, the Snake River Canyon, just south of Jackson, is renowned for its exhilarating white-water rapids. Companies like Snake River White Water and Mad River Boat Trips offer guided excursions that take thrill-seekers through Class III and IV rapids like "Lunch Counter" and "Big Kahuna." Aside from the adrenaline rush, rafters will be treated to picturesque views of the canyon's rugged cliffs and potential wildlife sightings.
While LoToJa Classic is the only event produced by its organizer, there are other road cycling events in Utah and Wyoming that are of a similar pedigree including Utah-Cache Gran Fondo a GFNS Partner Event and a UCI Worlds qualifier or Gran Fondo Moab part of the Transrockies Race Series.
For multi-sport athletes, check out other Strambecco best-rated gravel, mountain biking, and trail running events taking place in Utah and Wyoming. Gravel cyclists will appreciate Belgian Waffle Ride Utah by Monuments of Cycling which is also part of the Quadrupel Crown of Gravel Series, while mountain bikers will want to put 25 Hours in Frog Hollow on their bucket list, it’s organized by GRO Races and is part of the epic N24 Series. Two additional events in Wyoming worth mentioning are Laramie Range Epic and Pierre's Hole 50/100 which is part of the NUE Series are some of the Best Mountain Bike Events in the Rockies.