That Loving Feeling

08.23.2006 | 10:51 pm

Elden hasn’t made much of the fact that we are riding Lotoja in about three weeks, because I spose he’s been all preoccupied with his fancy Leadville 10,000 mile belt buckle and his ever-elusive sub nine hour finish (smirk).

Well, Elden, Rick Sunderlage, and I are riding Lotoja in three weeks. And I’m afraid in a very particular way.

Lotoja is a road race, 206 miles, from Logan, UT, to Jackson Hole, WY, over several mountain passes. Rick S. raced last year, and nearly froze to death in a freak snowstorm. But he survived, and even finished. AND, he’s back for more. But I don’t know if he’s afraid of what I’m afraid of.

I’m preparing for Lotoja by following my usual very meticulous strategy of riding as much and as often as I can (which can be pretty random). Brad, who may or may not actually ride Lotoja with us, and I have been taking the following measures to prepare for the big day:

Monday or Tuesday: Emigration to East Canyon, 3 climbs, 2900 feet of vertical, 30 miles, bout two hours.

Wednesday or Thursday: Either Little Cottonwood Canyon to Alta ski resort (16 miles roundtrip, 3,000 feet of vertical, bout an hour and a half), OR Big Cottonwood Canyon to Brighton ski resort (28 miles roundtrip, 3400 feet of vertical, bout two hours. More on this in a second.

Saturday: My house at Suncrest to Top of American Fork Canyon and back (with optional backside descent/ascent to Sundance to add an hour and change), 40-60 miles roundtrip, 2-3 climbs, 4500-5500 feet of vertical, and 3-4 hours.

And sprinkled in there somewhere, a short mountain bike ride on the north side of Hog Hollow. On which I have never actually seen or smelled any hogs.

Today, we went up Big Cottonwood Canyon, but turned left at Brighton, and climbed to Guardsman Pass (which tops out at about 9,500 feet), adding another 25 minutes and 1100 feet of vertical and another 3 miles of climbing. The temperature was 95 degrees (in American degrees).

You would think that would do it. And yet, I fear Lotoja. Fear it like I never feared Leadville, fear it like I never feared 24 Hours of Moab. Those are mountain bike races, involving getting off the bike every once in a while.

My big, overriding, debilitating fear, is that my taint will lose feeling for so long, that I will never get it back. I fear that I will have lost that loving feeling. Forever.

Can that really happen? They would tell me, right?



  1. Comment by Jake | 08.23.2006 | 11:52 pm

    Dug – I’m suffered during a recent 300K single-day ride on the wrong saddle and am making a switch.  I recommend you check out the following site for long-distance riding saddles designed to keep you luv’n and on the go
    Best of luck on LOTOJA!

  2. Comment by Unknown | 08.24.2006 | 2:11 am

    Dug- Try breaking your car so you have to ride your road bike to work both ways each day.  It’s worked wonders for me this week.  Maybe you could throw a banana seat on your bike for the race? 
    Rick S.

  3. Comment by Unknown | 08.24.2006 | 3:17 am

    Yes, I know that feeling–er, lack of feeling. I, too, am signed up for lotoja, and have been pondering the same question (though, about myself, not you). In fact, I have been switching saddles around trying to solve the issue, but haven’t found any that also didn’t just hurt. I’ve decided that, this close to the race, I’ll be just sticking with my saddle and taking my chances.
    Which category/time slot are you guys riding in?

  4. Comment by Zed | 08.24.2006 | 3:45 am

    The local chatter at my bike shop was that a particular rider lost the lovin’ feeling for two weeks after riding Lotoja on an aluminum bike. Hope you’re riding steel or carbon, cuz otherwise you’ll have to do a lot of shifting around on that saddle to stay comfy.

  5. Comment by Jsun | 08.24.2006 | 4:13 am

    My tips:
    1-Saturday’s ride should include the extra distance, sounds like you need every mile to help harden up the leather, besides I have heard that Sundance is an absolutely amazing place.
    2-Leave the water bottle at home and just throw a bottle of chamois butt’r in your cage.
    3- SORE, what is it good for, absolutely nothin, say it again
    4-Quit creating the picturesque links; it was easier to make fun of your meaningless rides, now I have to talk about your taint more than I do about mine.  I know its neither here no there, but no one likes to poke fun at that.

  6. Comment by BIg Mike In Oz | 08.24.2006 | 11:31 am

    The secret to long distance cycling survival… masking tape.  Run the tape from the underside of your "boys" up around the front and run enough tape to get good traction on your abdomen.  This will keep your delicate predicament up away from the saddle a bit.
    There is also the question of wax/shave/hirshute in the areas where the tape makes contact.  In my opinion go for the magilla gorilla look.  The sweat on smooth skin will unstick the tape.  The hair acts as a buffer and offers more surface area for improved grip.
    If all else fails, massage is good for the circulation.  Just remember to say plenty of Hail Mary’s when you start the therapeutic self abuse.

  7. Comment by Unknown | 08.24.2006 | 12:22 pm

    Having lost a little of that lovin’ feeling due to diabetes, I had to try a few saddles to stave off further loss. My training bike now has a low end Specialized Milano saddle, with the BG cut out, and it is fabulos. I rode 50 miles Sunday with hardly a squirm. Also, try tipping the nose of your saddle down a bit, makes you sit back a little more. How the heck can Floyd Landis ride time trials like that ? . Ouch.  Wood is good, all hail Cialis !! And BG & Terry saddles.

  8. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 08.24.2006 | 6:40 pm

    A few suggestions, observations, and comments:
    I dont’ see what the big deal is.
    You’re done procreating anyway, right?
    You should try orienting the nose of your saddle vertically. You may need a lot of chamois buttr for this.
    Just ride standing up. It should only take you about 13 hours to finish.
    P.S. If you were a Boeing engineer, you’d figure out a really amazing solution to this problem.

  9. Comment by sans auto | 08.24.2006 | 7:25 pm

    Earlier this summer I rode 1100 miles in 10 consecutive days.  People asked if my legs hurt; no, but my butt hurt constantly starting on day 3.  I learned a lot.
      1.  Hands, feet, wrists and man parts go numb.  Never did my butt go numb.
      2.  The harder you pedal, the less your butt hurts.  I looked forward to hills because it relieved my butt.  I tried using a really big gear all of the time, but it took too big of a toll on my knees.
      3.  After a certain period of time on your bike it is certain that your butt, feet or hands will hurt.  I found three positions that relieved pain in one of the culprit areas and rotated good feeling parts.
      4.  Chamios butter works great for sores, but I didn’t have sores, my butt hurt.  It wasn’t a friction thing, it was like being kicked really hard in the butt repeatedly for hours a day. 
      I like to do things naturally, so I didn’t use any drugs for the first 8 days.  On day 9 I was hurting, and someone offered me 3 ibuprofen.  I took them and my butt felt better that day.  Day 10 started with ibuprofen loading in the hotel room.  Forget carbs, Ibuprofen is what you need!

  10. Comment by Lofgrans | 08.24.2006 | 8:04 pm

    It is more important to get time in. Make sure you are getting long rides in. The adrenaline of the race/ride will get you through the miles. If you are a mtbiker you are already used to climbs, get your time in! My husband has ridden LOTOJA several times and this has been his key to success (several top 10 finishes in the Pro/1/2 catergory).
    As far as the saddle goes, why not stick with what you’ve already got, unless its already hurting you? You are bound to have more um…injuries if you switch equipment right before a big event. If you’d like some more tips feel free to email, Bob would be happy to oblige.

  11. Comment by Unknown | 08.28.2006 | 3:42 am

    Dug, it’s all about staying in the protection of the group.  Never pull, unless you’re working alone with your teammates of course.  We, as your teammates, become the only option to your survival in this race … and vice versa. I rode last year with Rick and the rest of the team and couldn’t have finished without their help. Besides the obvious benifit of their draft, you’ll need someone to share your misery with, and through the inevitable waves of desperation, strangers will become best of friends.


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