Paralympics: The untold story
It was just a year ago when a group of self-described Park City "old fogies" fought their way to first in the relay division of the famed Logan to Jackson (LOTOJA) 206-mile bike race, making them one of the oldest groups to ever grab the title. Just one year later, under the same moniker of "Butts, Sweat and Gears," a much younger group of men again walked away with first place.
Parkites Peter Johnson, and brothers Andrew and Tanner Putt, along with Salt Lake friends Bobby Cannon and Conner O’Leary, took to the grueling three-state course this Saturday. All but Johnson are experienced riders and looked to finish near the top.
Johnson, whose father, Bill, rode in the older version of the team last year, got the idea to continue the tradition in his family and convinced his friends, all of them sponsored cyclists, to ride with him. The team spent all summer training for the event.
The race got off to a good start for the young crew, but quickly took a turn for the worse as lead rider, O’Conner got caught in a crash with the stage leader just seven miles short of the end of the first stage near Preston, Idaho. O’Conner, who later had to be taken to the hospital, managed to get back on his bike and ride with a cracked helmet and finish the ride to keep his teammates in the running.
O’Leary took over in the second leg making up some of the lost ground along Strawberry Pass and then handed off to the older of the Putt brothers, Andrew. Putt, who is a member of the cycling club at the University of Utah, and has been racing in Park City since his youth, was able to quickly make up time and rode his way into first place in the third stage.
Johnson, a junior at Park City High School, was able to hold second place in the fourth stage before handing off to his classmate, Tanner Putt.
It was a big day for the Putt brothers who dominated in their respective stages. Tanner has been racing alongside his older brother for years and is currently sponsored by Cole Sport. He quickly caught up to the rider in first place and then rode right past him in a sprint for the finish.
Bill Johnson said that the parents nearly missed seeing Tanner ride into Jackson Hole as Tanner established a whopping nine-minute lead on the second place team by the end of the race. The young "Butts, Sweat and Gears" team finished the race in nine hours and 19 minutes.
The win marks the fourth year in a row that a Park City team has claimed first-place in the LOTJA relay division.
"These boys are really keeping the tradition alive," said Bill Johnson in a phone interview.
For complete LOTOJA results, see b-4.
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Park City officials are preparing to take what is considered to be an important step in protecting the Treasure land from wildfires. City Hall in early June requested proposals from firms interested in the work.