Every new LOTOJA registration season I see a slew of emails, phone calls and Facebook comments from those who did and did not get accepted into the BIG 206. Traditionally LOTOJA has a maximum of 1,500 riders who ride and compete every year. Groups range from Fun Riders to Pro 1,2,3 competitors. Last I checked there were 23 different groups and categories. Given the popularity of LOTOJA, how can you increase your chances to an entry?
Here's my list of ways you can increase your chances.
1. Volunteer. LOTOJA is successful because of the challenge to complete 206 miles, it's great organization and above all it's got an incredible army of volunteers. LOTOJA promoters are well known for taking care of their volunteers and making sure that if they'd like to ride the Big 206, that they will have an entry available to them.
2. Money Talks. If you are a first time LOTOJA rider and only purchase the cost of registration, your chances of getting chosen to ride is slim. For those who purchase the entry and LOTOJA clothing or accessories dramatically increase you and your team's (for relay teams) chances to an entry.
3. Upgrade. The competitive groups are smaller than the non-competitive groups. If you upgrade from USA Cycling Cat 5 to a 4 or 3, your chances also dramatically increase a spot to ride/compete.
4. Give. LOTOJA has ties to the Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI). For those who beef up their charitable giving (or become a Fundraiser and raise funds) to the HCI during LOTOJA registration also have increased chances. As for how much do you need to give or raise, I haven't found a solid benchmark. The more the better your chances.
While there's no guarantee an entry into LOTOJA, the above should give you an edge.
Will you be implementing any of the above to increase your chances to an entry? Which option will you choose?