Native man overcomes a number of obstacles en route to complete nicely in common bike race
Brandon Nelson crossing the end line at LoToJa 2020. | Courtesy Snake River Photograph
IDAHO FALLS — The annual 200-mile plus bike journey from Logan, Utah, to Jackson, Wyoming — known colloquially as the LoToJa — isn’t for the faint of coronary heart.
It’s a grueling route that winds by way of dozens of hills and valleys all through Utah, Idaho and Wyoming, and it’s very tough for the most effective riders to remain close to the entrance.
That was the case for Idaho Falls native Brandon Nelson, 32, who took first place in his class this yr (USA Cycling Race Category 4 and 5) and set a brand new private report for himself. It was his third LoToJa, and as with every race, he confronted some obstacles.
Nelson informed EastIdahoNews.com that when he hit mile 50, the entire sudden, his digital shifting on his bike stopped working. It was one thing that had by no means occurred earlier than.
“It was on the worst attainable time, proper earlier than I used to be about to climb the hill after I should be shifting so much,” he recollects. “I had no alternative however to drag over.”
After messing round with it, Nelson one way or the other obtained it to reset and the bike began shifting once more. The one drawback now was he was trailing behind the group of about 30 bikers.
He was in a position to catch up, and after reaching the highest of the primary climb, he realized a lot of the group was now behind him. 9 riders, together with Nelson, made it collectively to Montpelier earlier than a number of of them began to decelerate. By the point Nelson obtained to the highest of the ultimate climb of the race, he and three others had been main the way in which.
The 4 of them rode collectively till mile 195 when Nelson’s leg unexpectedly cramped up with eight miles left to go.
“There’s a steep little climb, and we hit it fairly onerous. I used to be pedaling as onerous as I may to stand up excessive of this climb and make it possible for I stayed with the opposite three guys,” he stated. “Proper after I obtained to the highest of it, my left leg fully locked up. I couldn’t even transfer it.”
By this level, Nelson had been biking with the three different contributors for eight hours. As a lot as he didn’t wish to have to drag off to the facet once more, he informed them they’d should go on with out him.
Nelson stood there, rubbing his leg, ready for it to loosen up as he watched them take off.
“By that time, I had given up on profitable. I believed that I’d get fourth place, which I used to be okay with,” Nelson added. “However then I had this thought in my head that stated, ‘Why not give it your all. You’ve been coaching all yr for this.’”
Ultimately, his leg loosened up, and he determined he would journey the remaining miles as onerous as he probably may. To his shock, it paid off.
“I don’t know if my adrenaline carried over from me making an attempt to catch as much as them or what, however I took off on a dash to attempt to catch them, and I used to be in a position to move them,” he stated.
Nelson completed the race in 9 hours and 19 minutes, beating his earlier private report by about 20 minutes. General, Nelson positioned 13 out of about 700 riders within the race.
Whereas the race didn’t go how he deliberate, he believes it was a studying alternative that can assist him not solely in future races but in addition in life. He stated it’s essential to be prepared for something to occur and to remain mentally robust.
“You might be robust sufficient, however half the time if you go to do it, you’re going to get midway up that (climb) and also you’re going go, ‘Why am I doing this?’ Nelson defined. “As quickly as you get to the highest of it, there’s no higher feeling on the planet.”
Courtesy Romel Guzman
Brandon Nelson standing on the rostrum after profitable first place in his class at LoToJa. | Courtesy Katelyn Nelson