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Utah Biker Trying to Make it to the Big Leagues
 
10/23/2005
The first thing you do when you are an aspiring professional cyclist is learn to conserve resources.

Bob Lofgran and wife/manager/masseuse Taunya stay behind after races and drive back over the course to pick up water bottles that other cyclists have discarded. While his rivals toss bottles off their bikes constantly to rid themselves of extra weight, Lofgran has been known to lug several bottles to the top of a hill so he can toss them to Taunya.

Lance Armstrong was right; it's not about the bike. It's about pinching pennies. It's about moving into your parents' basement so you can save money and train. It's about packing up the car each weekend with all the biking gear and driving for hours to the next race. It's about sharing hotel rooms with other racers. It's about working part-time jobs and a spouse supporting you with a full-time job. It's about enduring the deep, burning pain of fatigue and pushing harder.

This is Lofgran's life. At the age of 23, he is one of a handful of cyclists in Utah who are trying to make the big leagues, either in America or, ultimately, Europe, which is to professional cycling what the NBA is to basketball. Welcome to the Armstrong Generation.

"Bob will either make it, or we'll go broke trying," Taunya said.

With only modest success to encourage them and scant experience, the Lofgrans have thrown themselves headlong into making him a professional cyclist. A little more than a year ago, Lofgran, then a 21-year-old returned church missionary, showed up at the door of J.R. Smith, a professional cycling coach who once coached at the Olympic training center and now lives in Salt Lake City. He announced to Smith that he wanted to be a professional cyclist, despite having raced only a few times in his life.

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