Three Options, One Choice

08.21.2007 | 5:51 am

This happens every year.

I work myself into a fitness frenzy trying to get into as good as shape as possible for the Leadville 100. Then, after the race, I go into a fitness freefall, eating everything in sight, and exercising only sporadically and randomly.

That pretty much describes what’s happening right now.

Beating The System, I Hope
In order to fight back the inevitable weight gain and to leverage the fitness I’ve worked so hard to get, I’m going to do another race.

The only problem is, there are three interesting races coming up in the near future, and I just don’t have the courage (or indecency) to ask my wife if I can do all three of them. Or even two of them.

I need to pick one race to do. But which? These are my options, and the factors I am considering in making my selection. Listed — for your convenience — in chronological order.

The e100
The first race I could do is the e100. I had planned to do this race for certain, back when Dug and Rick Sunderlage were going to race it. I liked the idea of doing this race just as a ride, goofing off, taking lots of pictures and video, and generally suffering as little as possible.

But Dug’s not going to do this race anymore. So if I’m going to do the e100, I pretty much now have to do it as a race. And here’s the thing: it’s another 100-mile mountain bike race. I know I’m not going to win it, but I also know I’m strong enough to complete it. So I wouldn’t be exactly breaking any new ground at a personal level. However, it is acknowledged to be a very challenging course with a vast amount of singletrack and climbing. Which would be very cool.

This race is close, which is a positive — I could probably sleep at home.

But — and I feel a little bit mean saying this, but it’s true — this race has a real “what do you get for your money” problem. Let’s compare: For my $220 at Leadville, I get a bag, a t-shirt, a personalized sweatshirt, a handmade trophy buckle, a pre-race dinner, the best-marked course I could ever hope for, and aid stations beyond my wildest dreams.

At the e100, you spend less –$185 — but from what I understand, you get a t-shirt and socks for entering, and nothing at all for completing. People tell me the course is not well-marked (you’re encouraged to bring your own GPS), and I know from first-hand experience that the aid stations are pretty sad.

In short, the positives seem to be an interesting and challenging course that’s relatively close. The negatives are that the race organization and rider support seems to be kind of weak.

The Logan to Jackson (LOTOJA) road race is pretty much a rite of passage for cyclists in the area. 200+ miles connecting up Logan, UT to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

I could do this ride with Rick Sunderlage, which would be fun, and 200 miles on a road bike does sound epic.

The logistics, however, seem like a pain in the butt. We’ve got to find a place to stay in Logan before the race, a way to get back from Jackson Hole after the race, and — from what I understand — someone to come be our sag wagon along the way.

When the arrangements around a ride / race become more effort than the ride / race itself, is it perhaps time to reevaluate the ride?

The 24 Hours of Grand Targhee
It’s been years and years since I’ve done a 24 Hour Mountain Bike race, and I’ve never done one solo. Kenny and the Jack Mormon Militia are planning to head up to Jackson Hole Wyoming for this 24 Hour Race in mid-September, and I’m tempted to go up with them and try my hand at riding for 24 hours, solo.

This race would definitely not have the “no breaking new ground” problem I’d have with the other two races; I’ve never done a 24 hour race solo before. I honestly don’t know if I have it in me to ride for that long (though I have a hunch that I do). It’s in a new place, not too far away. That’s good.

It is, however, on a ski resort. And the description of the course makes me think that this is going to be an extremely climby course. How am I going to do at not just riding for 24 hours, but basically climbing for that long? Seems like I could wind up fully cooked well before the race is even halfway over.

As a bonus, I would get to see the Jack Mormon Militia in passing, which would be kind of cool. I could probably even leach some support from them.

And if I push really hard, I bet I could badger Sunderlage into doing this instead of LOTOJA, which would be pretty cool. And Brad.

I admit: of the three races, this one both intrigues and terrifies me the most.

Your Choice
If you were presented with these three races, which would you do, and why? Furthermore, which should I do, and why?

Provided I am given good compelling reasons, I shall abide by the consensus of the commenters.

Which is probably a really, really dumb idea.


  1. Comment by TG | 08.21.2007 | 5:59 am

    FC–personally, I would skip all of them. Sit on the sofa and have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, chocolate milk, followed by some Cheetos. But that is just me.

  2. Comment by Phil Liggett | 08.21.2007 | 6:07 am

    24hours. no doubt. if not now, when?

    that’ll have you wearing your mask of pain

  3. Comment by axel | 08.21.2007 | 6:18 am

    24 hours! It is so easy to say when you don’t have to do it.
    build on your kokopelli trail ride (18 hours solo) – you have nothing to be afraid of. Go geared, fully suspended and slow.

  4. Comment by ChinookPass | 08.21.2007 | 6:33 am

    I think 24 hrs without really preparing for it, makes it too easy to drop out. Pick one of the others which are completly do-able, and finish out the season with a new accomplishment.

    Why do you need a sag for a road ride and hotels are for sissies, tent and sleeping pad on a pullout off a forest road is the way to travel.

  5. Comment by lowrydr | 08.21.2007 | 6:36 am

    How fitting that the banner at the top of the page this morning is for Hostess cup cakes. So grab a box and sit down and think this over real hard before you decide which ride.

    But the 24 hours really does sound interesting out of all the choices. And you could maybe hang with your buds every other lap or two. Is there anything in the rule book about not napping once or twice?

    Strike out for new frontiers there Fatty.

    Best to Susan (her story was great) and the kids to of course.

  6. Comment by bradk | 08.21.2007 | 6:38 am

    funny you should mention me to do the 24 hr race. as i was reading the article i was thinking, hey, i’ll do it if elden does it. get me some dates and lets go. also, come and do the e100 with me and tasha this weekend. actually, we are just doing the 50 mile option. its our 17th anniversary and we don’t want to wear ourselves out too early in the day. as for lotoja, ask kenny what he thinks of that race and then strike it from your to do list forever.

  7. Comment by Less Fat Mike | 08.21.2007 | 6:39 am

    I’d go for Lotoja. It’s a rite of passage, as you said, and I’ve always liked racing road better than trail ever since I stopped healing in 6 days or less.

  8. Comment by UltraRob | 08.21.2007 | 6:43 am

    Both the E100 and LOTOJA have been on my wish list for quite sometime. Not only does the 24 hour solo sound cool but I believe in pushing personal boundaries. I really think you should do it and I think you can ride for 24 hours.

    I’ve done 6 24 hour solo off-road races, 4 RAAM qualifiers and attempted RAAM and there’s something special about pushing past what you think you can. Oh, and it hurts sometimes too.

  9. Comment by Dave | 08.21.2007 | 6:57 am

    I would say the 24 as well. The challenge is there. You just did a 100 mile mtn. bike race. 200+ miles on a road bike would be okay with friends but could just be a long day on the bike. I’ve always liked 24 hr races. I expect nothing less than 20 laps from you.

    After reading you final post on Leadville I was somewhat let down that you thought this was your last shot at a sub-nine hour time. I agree more with your wife and next year you can spank it. Fitness is accumulative. You’ll carry a ton of fitness thru to next year with how you’re riding right now. But, now that you’ve lost the weight and have changed your eating habits, keep those habits. Nothing makes me more discouraged when my diet goes out the window. I think you are right on the cusp of your first of many sub-nine’s at Leadville if you keep this intensity up you’ve had all year. Kenny’s a mutant with his 8:30 and you are right there with him. Put down the fork, step away from the buffet and carry the good eating habits through the fall and winter. I know you can do it. There’s a bunch of us in SE Washington rooting for you and your wife.

  10. Comment by Jeremy | 08.21.2007 | 6:59 am

    Since you have put it up for a democratic vote… I vote for the one with the crappiest support, marginally high entrance fee, and nothing to gain race. What does not kill you will only make you suffer… or something like that.

  11. Comment by MAJ Mike | 08.21.2007 | 7:08 am

    Think about it over a bacon cheeseburger…

    or just ride the e100 and minimally aggravate the wife while meeting your fitness demand (which was your initial motivator that got you thinking about it).

  12. Pingback by » Links Of The Day: 21 August 2007 | 08.21.2007 | 7:09 am

    [...] Three Options, One Choice [...]

  13. Comment by Wheels | 08.21.2007 | 7:14 am

    Give us some credit, here. We don’t have to be very good at reading between the lines to see your obvious preference is to suffer for 24 hours. How could we let you down by voting for anything else? Brad’s there with you now, so stock up on fruity shotbloks and begin your sleep deprivation training.

  14. Comment by traildiva | 08.21.2007 | 7:18 am

    24 hours! If you can ride the entire Kokopelli trail in one go, riding “just” a ski hill for twenty four hours should be cake.

    In distant second place, the e100. I’d take a fun and challenging ride over a marginal one that gave me more stuff. Then again, my event memorabilia seems to breed faster than I can give it away.

  15. Comment by Richard | 08.21.2007 | 7:29 am

    Well I think you should do the fun thing so you don’t get burned out by raceing and training like i have seen many people do.
    Here’s my advice; do the 24 hour race as a team and make it fun. Your friends are all fit you are fit 24 hours split 3 ways gives some time to sleep and drink beer and eat something other than cliff gummies.
    Have fun! I know for someone with the competetive spirit like you it is tough but your wife might enjoy crewing when she gets to see you occasionaly when you are not bonking.

  16. Comment by Kris | 08.21.2007 | 7:35 am

    The first thing you can do to prevent a fitness free-fall is keep riding! I thought I saw you at the top of the Alpine Loop, but it was one of your riding buddies (my mistake, sorry about that) who noted that you didn’t make the ride that morning. Tisk, tisk.

    I wouldn’t do any of those rides, but then I’m turning anti-big-organized-rides. How about an open invite for all the locals to do the Ride Around Timp (affectionately known as RAT). Minimal driving, no support, no awards, no entry fee, no goodie bag – just riding.

    But I admit there is something about a race, and if that’s what your in the mood for, do it. I’d do the E100 – sure it has some negatives, but a friend did it last year and was happy to complete the race even though it took just about everything he had.

    I have a love / hate thing with LoToJa. It just seems so overblown and you see all those stickers on cars and logistically it’s a pain. But if I had the chance I’d probably do it. Another wrinkle, how do you expect to get in? LoToJa has been sold out since the 3rd day of open registration. Too bad the Desperado Dual is over – it’s my choice for a double century.

    24 hours of Grand Targhee solo just sounds like a suffer fest, but maybe that turns your crank.

  17. Comment by Richard | 08.21.2007 | 7:36 am

    When you talk to Kenny about Lotoga, fill us in (hands in samurai prayer salute). I really want to hear what he has to say.

    When I eat healthy and exercise regularly I feel better, and I smile more. So hey, maybe this will be you best fall / winter season ever, and if you feel good, then it’ll be that much easier for Susan to feel good. I’m not saying . . .

    Maybe the 24 (my vote) would give you a good opportunity to try out a light weight full suspension or at least a nice fork. Maybe that’d make it even more of a challenge, but what a perfect place to test the difference.

    Honestly you, Susan, the Core Group, you’re all an inspiration. I’m no where near your level, but I’m improving and it feels great.

  18. Comment by iDon, uNot | 08.21.2007 | 7:40 am

    I have to say that I think the 24 hour is thee way to go. From what I gather ( and I might totally be incorrect, but Im not really asking so… ) you’ve spent the majority of your time lately on dirt trails, it should be a nice change and a challenge to get on a ( geared ) road bike and haul butt for 24. You’ll have Kenny and the Militia to keep you company, and get a new proverbial notch on the belt too! With that being said, is there some good swag involved in entry? Since you took the materialist route earlier in the post. BTW, any word on the contest for times? Just curious.

  19. Comment by Rick S. | 08.21.2007 | 7:42 am

    LOTOJA is something you must eventually do if you are a local utah cyclist. Better now than wait another year. We can make this a dirt bag trip and use the neutral feed zone support. I already have a hotel in both Logan and Jackson. We just need to find a way back home. Maybe we get up on Sunday and ride back 206 miles to Logan? Now that would be epic….

  20. Comment by bikemike | 08.21.2007 | 7:47 am

    do all three. wait, what, you can only do one?
    o.k. my answer is yes.

  21. Comment by Philly Jen | 08.21.2007 | 7:49 am

    Well, Brad’s already on board for “24″, so there’s my vote. (At this rate, Jack Bauer will join you and the Jack Mormons.) Anything to keep you off a steady diet of ice cream and goat.

  22. Comment by Bob | 08.21.2007 | 7:49 am

    Jackson Hole is one of my favorite places in the world, so I’d go there. But the LOTOJA race seems too difficult to manage logistically unless it’s part of a vacation. But doing the 24 Hours race solo doesn’t sound like too much fun at this stage. So I would get a team together to do the 24 Hours race on singlespeeds. You and Brad and Dug and someone else of your general fitness level, like — ME! I’ve started doing knee bends.

  23. Comment by bob | 08.21.2007 | 7:51 am

    Targhee, for sure, I’m doing it, so it must be the right choice.

    E100, your issues are my issues

    LOTOJA, besides the fact that it is full, with a long wait list, I believe a 200 mile road race would be very similar to hitting my nether regions repeatedly with a mallet.

  24. Comment by Bent022 | 08.21.2007 | 7:52 am

    Personally I would go for the 200 mile road just because if I attempt off road I tip over. For you I think you should go for the 24 hour. You seem to thrive on challenges and THAT is one heck of a challenge. Which ever you choose have fun.

  25. Comment by Lurquette | 08.21.2007 | 7:55 am

    I second Bob’s motion. Get a 4th rider and do the 24 hours as a team. You’ll have a blast. Call yourselves the Jack Mormon Pacifists.

  26. Comment by Mocougfan | 08.21.2007 | 8:06 am

    I’m biased since I’m driving out to do the LOTOJA. But you just did a 100 mile mtn bike race, and 24 hours on a course going round and round seems less than fun to me. So I vote for a LOOOOOONG road bike ride.

  27. Comment by Charlie Brown | 08.21.2007 | 8:13 am

    Assuming you have lights already or can borrow or rent without spending alot of money –

    Do the 24 hour race. Go slow, enjoy the party atmosphere. Take a nap if you need to. Eat bags of Oreos along the way… You don’t have to carry them – you can pick them up at the end of each lap!

  28. Comment by chtrich | 08.21.2007 | 8:19 am

    I’d say LOTOJA, but that’s mainly because I’ll be doing it. I’ve been planning on it since I signed up in January. Get that rite of passage out of the way.

    I was about to offer you a hotel in Logan or Jackson because I thought Mocougfan was not going to make it, but now it appears he will be. What a maniac.

  29. Comment by SYJ | 08.21.2007 | 8:31 am

    As many have pointed out, Lotoja is full – has been for awhile. Even if it wasn’t, Logan is (ie, no lodging). And Jackson is stupid expensive (the $69 room I had last year is going for $270 this year). Regardless, it would be (and is) my choice (if only because I had to drop out last year).

    the E100 looks like fun. Haha. Whee. I thought about doing the 50 option, but decided it was too close to lotoja.

    24 hours of GT sounds like a blast, but for God’s sake, do it as a team.

    There’s also the 24 hours of Moab in October…

  30. Comment by turnonthejets | 08.21.2007 | 8:32 am

    24 hour no question. Huge new ground factor, you’re in shape, and it’s simpler…er…you just show up and ride ride ride.

    Go with the full suspension geared bike and pace yourself.

  31. Comment by KT | 08.21.2007 | 8:34 am

    24-hours. Get yer team together, wear matching outfits, and have fun. Come up with a new phrase to yell when you’re tapping out or in for your turn (I like “SLPORP!!” screamed at the top of your lungs). Carry water guns (the cheap little ones, not supersoakers) and have a water gun fight mid-lap.

    Bob’s doing knee-bends, sounds like he’s ready!

  32. Comment by Mrs. C. | 08.21.2007 | 8:37 am

    I agree with some of the others that your commentary reveals your preference for the 24-hour race. It’s in your admission, “…of the three races, this one both intrigues and terrifies me the most.”

    Also stated before, your fitness level is at peak right now so take advantage of it. Someone said you’ve done an 18 hour race before; that makes 24 hours reachable. Go for it.

  33. Comment by Mehera | 08.21.2007 | 8:55 am

    Do the race furthest out calendar-wise to prolong your reasons for staying fit in the interim. And then find another race further out than that. And then take up a winter sport to keep your fitness over the off season.

  34. Comment by formertdffan | 08.21.2007 | 8:57 am

    I would do the one that works the best for your wife, unless of course, she doesn’t care, in which case I would go for the 24 hour ride

  35. Comment by monkeywebb | 08.21.2007 | 9:12 am

    The e100 sounds no good. I’d be stewing all day about how much I paid. If you want to get lost while suffering on single track I’m sure you can find plenty for free. The 24-hour deal sounds a bit too crazy for my tastes. While intriguing, if I wasn’t at least 50/50 on my odds of finishing I wouldn’t do it.

    LOTOJA, on the other hand, sounds enticing. If you haven’t done a double yet the time is now. If you can figure out how to get in (and i’m assuming you have connections) the rest of the logistics will fall in place. Sounds like Rick S. (what is his real name?) already has you taken care of. If the ride doesn’t sound like enough of an adventure leave the return trip up in the air. Either find a ride, hitch, or ride home. No matter what you’ll end up with a great story (which benefits us). My favorite adventures are ones that are guaranteed to produce stories that could never be guessed at prior to leaving home.

  36. Comment by brett | 08.21.2007 | 9:55 am

    given your writing style, i can tell you already decided to do the 24 hour race. why?
    -because the e100 is pricey and has little ROI
    -because the lotoja is a logistical nightmare
    -because you listed it last, thereby making it the denouement of your post.

    i say go for the 24 hour race. e100 sounds cool… lotoja is just road miles. you already know you can complete that. there is a question mark hanging over the 24 hour race though. can you do it? will you be competitive? will it be the best choice to provide more articles for this blog? you need to answer those questions for yourself.
    24 hours.. GO!

  37. Comment by Big Boned | 08.21.2007 | 10:02 am

    I’ve done LOTOJA a couple of times, it’s a good time, but I agree with you the logistics make it somewhat of a chore, the only plus is it is a good place to get a fast time on a double – the main pack (of each wave) holds together for at least 70 miles.
    The e100 is more of the same, more climbing than Leadville if I remember right, but for self-satisfaction, it isn’t going to come close to what you’ll get for a solo 24. I’ve done both (100’s and solo 24’s) and it’s not even close to the same experience. In fact, I pretty much have quit doing centuries of any kind to focus on 24’s and longer.
    The time you turned in on Leadville assures me that you’ll be fine on a solo 24 and I’ll bet that next winter when you are drawing up next seasons objectives the memories of that 24 will have you scouring the schedules looking for another one to do. They are that addictive.

  38. Comment by eunicesara | 08.21.2007 | 10:09 am

    Hmm. No time conflicts. How about, gulp, gasp! VOLUNTEERING! Make the e100 a better place. Then go out and pedal 200 miles. I can’t imagine there are very many events that can’t use knowledgeable volunteers. Someone who didn’t just get dragged along by their mother so she could keep an eye on them.

  39. Comment by eric | 08.21.2007 | 10:11 am

    No choice– 24 hr race.

  40. Comment by Mrs. Coach | 08.21.2007 | 10:13 am

    I vote for LOTOJA, but like others, its just becuase I’m already going to be there (groan!) Bob promised a teammate he’d help him out.

    I do agree with Rick S. you have to get it over with at some point. And the logistics aren’t nearly as hard as everyone says, unless you’re a Mandiva. You could even stay in Star Valley with us and Bob’s redneck family, thats always interesting!

    If you guys do decide to to LOTOJA, let us know, we can probably help you get back to Logan.

  41. Comment by GenghisKhan | 08.21.2007 | 10:15 am

    I, too, think your heart’s greatest desire lies in the challenge of the GT 24 (Hopefully you’d have a better “24″ than luckless Jack Bauer…) and therefore cast my vote that way. And, to sweeten the pot, if you commit to the GT 24, I will commit to the AF (American Fork ) 2.4, to be spread out over the number of days, weeks, months and years I choose, of course. And yeah, I said 2-point-4; no typi! Oops, that was a typo! (Backspace doesn’t work…)

  42. Comment by Mrs. Coach | 08.21.2007 | 10:19 am

    Hey, and anyone who finds us at LOTOJA can get a discount on coaching services. Even if you’re not sure now if you want to, you can always grab a card for later…or for a friend.
    We’re in the Cat1/2 field, light blue Contender Bike Shop kit. Red/Black Orbea (Orca I think).

  43. Comment by Stephanie | 08.21.2007 | 11:02 am

    24 hours. if you’re even considering a race of this magnitude, then you should just go ahead and do it. I mean, what do you have to lose?

  44. Comment by mark | 08.21.2007 | 11:47 am

    Fatty, I vote for Lotoja, especially if you’ve never done it (What!? You’ve never done Lotoja? The shame of it!) OK, I’m partial–I’ll be there as well. I’m not sure how you’ll get in, though, unless you already registered.

    24 hours sounds appealing, but it’s a longer time to be away from your family.

    BTW, I too would like to hear Kenny’s perspective on Lotoja (just when I was starting to feel confident again).

  45. Comment by Clydesteve | 08.21.2007 | 11:47 am

    24 hours of Grand Targhee. Because that is clearly what you want.

    Listen, I have to take exception to your comment about how much steep climbing there might be, Fatty. I used to ski Gran Targhee a LOT when I was stationed in Idaho Falls in the Navy (Nuc Power Trainng). Did Jackson Hole (too expensive, steep and moguled) and some of the smaller ski places local to Idaho Falls, but all winter we kept going back to GT. Why? We were intermediate skiers and GT is an all intermediate ski mountain. Even the expert slopes are intermediate there.

    And climbing all the time? come on you will be decending 1/2 the time, and everyone loves decending…oh…never mind. But it is a small resort on the side of a small mountain. For myself, the 24-hours thing would give me pause. For you? Hit it!

    I am sure there are no steep hills that would cause you to falter. P.S. Take some PB Honey Stingers – They’re delicious!


    Please support me and honor Susan Nelson in my LIVESTRONG Challenge ride against cancer on September 30th in Portland, Oregon. You can donate here:

  46. Comment by kenny | 08.21.2007 | 12:09 pm

    Ok .. Here is my take on Lotoja. I’ve done it twice. One year with the masters. I’m no roadie, but I got hooked up with a 10 man group of Hammer Heads. I kid you not, we were in a rotating pace line for 8 hours. Being new to the road bike, it was difficult for me to ride straight and fixiate on the wheel in front of me. Let alone for 8 hours. The course was beautiful, but all I got to look at was the guys butt in front of me. The second time I did it was the snow year. I did it that year as a rolling picnicker with some friends from my neighborhood. I froze my ass off, but was determined not to quit. It rained and snowed all day. At every aid station, the race people would try to pull us off the course. I finished two hours after dark with a group of about 15 cat 4, 5 and citizen riders that I had been pulling for the last 25 miles. As we came in to the finish, after having been on our bikes for more than 12 hours in the rain and snow, the race organizer yelled at us. “Get off your bikes the race was over at dusk” No one to greet us. No shuttle service. No finish line. I was expecting him to say. Wow good job, you guys finished when more than half the field quit. Instead we got. What are you even doing, the race was over hours ago. I’ve never had such an emotional downer at the end of race as that. I swore that I would never do Lotoja again.

  47. Comment by Al Maviva | 08.21.2007 | 12:41 pm

    Based on Kenny’s description, I’d have to do Lotoja. It has everything I like – bad weather, a bunch of Freds on bikes, Angry Kenny, and staring at guys’ butts for 12 hours. No, wait a minute. That’s not what I meant. I’d do it with a team of two or four, race my butt off, have somebody drive support, and try for a placing. It would take two strong climbers to pull the big boys uphill, and two strong big boys to pull the climbers in the flats. It maybe wouldn’t be all that bad. Oh, who am I kidding? Riding 200 miles hard in a paceline would be brutal, but it’s what you do. It’s taken me a few years back on the bike to figure out what I’m good at, and that is laying down some speed when the conditions are bad, climbing not as terribly as I should climb, and getting stronger relative to other riders as a long ride goes on. 60-70 mile roadraces are actually sort of fun, so Lotoja would be a no brainer for me, pretty much right down the middle of my strike zone. Plus, I’m a really sketchy mountain biker, a 24 hour event or the E-100 pretty much summons visions of “Al was eaten by wolves, Mrs. Al, sorry.”

    You, on the other hand… you have 24 hour MTB racer pretty much oozing from your pores. I know some boys do 24 hour solo events, they’re about equally warped & crazy. You seem to have the right coordinates for that kind of thing. Besides, you go nuts, strip off your clothes and go running off in a long road race, you’ll get mowed down by a semi. You do the same thing in a long mountain bike race, and you’ll actually earn style points, and possibly a time bonus.

  48. Comment by mark | 08.21.2007 | 1:18 pm

    Kenny, other than the weather, how was the rolling picnic category? That is where I am signed up. I have pretty much resigned myself to my bro and I taking turns pulling the last 25-50 miles, but I’d prefer to have a good paceline going at least until we get to the climb up to Strawberry Summit.

    Also, how strict are they about starting with the group you’re registered in? I may try to move into a different start wave if the rolling picnic is looking too sketchy.

  49. Comment by KeepYerBag | 08.21.2007 | 1:31 pm

    e100. Why? eenie, meenie, miney moe…

  50. Comment by Chris in Boulder | 08.21.2007 | 1:32 pm

    Hey Fatty, I hate to rain on your parade, but according to the Lotoja Website the event filled up in two days and is now closed. You might be able to finagle an entry if you keep an eye on your local Craigslist or ask around your local bike clubs for somebody who is selling their entry for some reason. Maybe there’s a special entry available for cyber-bicycle-journalists. I am writing this from Jackson Hole – I spent the last couple of days road riding over Teton Pass to Idaho and back. A very nice climb that I recommend. The old highway from Wilson, WY, to the top of Teon Pass is a good way to mix things up. My vote, as always, would be for the road ride.

    Incidentally, speaking of long road rides, are you ever going to get back to me so we can settle up on our cyber bet? I owe you an entry into next year’s Triple Bypass. See my concession email under ‘Congrats’ in the B7 forum. A response from you is required so I know how to proceed. You probably would fair better in Leadville next year with a little extra Colorado high altitude training. Not that Utah is below sea level. Chris in Boulder

  51. Comment by Teebone | 08.21.2007 | 1:39 pm

    The nice thing about a 24 hour solo is that you do loops, so your support crew does not have to travel with you. Also, there is nothing that says you have to be actually pedaling for 24 hours, or even 23 of the 24 hours, or even ANY of the 24 hours. You can take a break, take a nap, whatever you want to do and you still finish the race. The only reason a 24 hour race scares me personally is because I would just not feel good about stopping for an extended break, so I’d probably ride till I collapsed. I think I sense a little of that in you as well. It’s kinda like running a marathon. My time is secondary to whether or not I actually run the whole thing or not.

    Anyways, that gets my vote, do the 24 hour race but make sure you have fun doing it. That’s where your friends will be and that’s what means the most.

  52. Comment by BS | 08.21.2007 | 1:52 pm

    The 24 GT naturally. Why be half-baked when you can be fully-fried.

  53. Comment by Mrs. Coach | 08.21.2007 | 1:56 pm

    Kenny, no one would blame you for hating LOTOJA after the snow year. I had to go pick up Bob’s frozen carcass from off the road. Driving up the canyon before Montpelier it looked like a bunch of refugees that had been beaten senseless and then left to wander in the cold. I guess thats pretty much what it was.

    C’mon FC, you know you want a piece of that action!

  54. Comment by Tripp | 08.21.2007 | 3:01 pm

    I’ve never done a 24 hour MTB race, but I have a teammate who has done a lot of them (well, maybe 10 of them, which adds up to 240 hours, which, in turn, equals a lot). He has stopped doing them because “they aren’t any fun.” More specifically, he says that hours “18 to 24 aren’t any fun.” At that point he says it is all pain and no joy.

    Come out to California and do the Mt. Tam Hillclimb instead! Mass start road race up a 2200 foot mountain, from sea level to the top. 4.5 miles of flat road, 4 miles of steady, 7% climbing, and 4 miles of rolling climbing. Here’s a link to the profile:
    Record time is 37:26.

  55. Comment by David | 08.21.2007 | 3:58 pm

    I would do the road ride, because I’m not crazy about going downhill on all those slippery rocks and dirt.

  56. Comment by allan | 08.21.2007 | 4:26 pm

    Do the 24. You already know you can do the other 2. The 24 is about more than just fitness. Trust 2 a.m. every personal demon you have will attack you. Every endurance racer should do at least 1 24 solo. Just my humble opinion. Probably best not to listen to it.

  57. Comment by Dudley | 08.21.2007 | 4:47 pm

    Don’t do the 24 Hour.

    You will then move on to RAAM. People have died recently on that event. It is completely crazy.

    I think the E100 would be the best for you. You already have the GPS, and you could do it.

    Did you ever get my Email re wheels?

  58. Comment by Yukirin Boy | 08.21.2007 | 5:00 pm

    The 24 hour race.
    The reason purely selfish – it would make an epic story, possibly for days and days, on this blog! No really, as you say, a new challenge is good.

  59. Comment by kenny | 08.21.2007 | 5:11 pm

    Mark, they don’t give you a chip so they won’t really know when you started. The rolling picnic group split up pretty fast with the bad weather conditions. I’d say, just stage when ever it suits you.

  60. Comment by NickV | 08.21.2007 | 5:37 pm

    No question at all. You should do the 24 hour race.

    Cons: Same loop over and over as compared to longer courses.

    - It’s new. It’s going to challenge you in entirely new ways.
    - It’s even longer which is good for us older folks. You may find you have the ability to kick hiney at it.

    (Keep in mind the above comes from someone who has never raced longer than 2 hours)

    Props to you and Susan. Having lived through my wife surviving cancer, I applaud you doing what you need to do to keep your self sane and healthy. You can’t care for your family if you don’t take care of yourself.

  61. Comment by Brewinman | 08.21.2007 | 6:08 pm

    I vote for the 24 hr race. As much as you (obviously) enjoyed the KTR, I can’t imagine you not enjoying a 24 hr race. Besides, I think the general consensus of these comments is that the 24 hr race would make for the best blog entries, and of course I wholeheartedly agree!

  62. Comment by Big Mike In Oz | 08.21.2007 | 6:18 pm

    I’m sort of with Al M. here. You certainly ooze the stuff 24 hour MTBers are made of. But there’s ointments that can help. You need to remember that if there’s an epic volume of climbing, there’s also an epic volume of descending. And during any 24 hour period there’s bound to be a few dark hours. Play to your strengths… run the other way.

    Play it safe… do LOTOJA on a 42×17 fixed. You could probably borrow the basket and streamers.

  63. Comment by Debamundo | 08.21.2007 | 6:56 pm

    Road Race. Definitely. As a roadie, I’m obviously biased, but it does sound epic and I bet finding someone to sag for you and haul your tired butt home won’t be that hard.

  64. Comment by Kati | 08.21.2007 | 8:21 pm


    I’ve never posted before, you don’t know me, and so clearly you have no reason to put any stock into my opinion :-)

    That said, I think you should do 24 hr of GT.

    200 miles on a road bike sounds like hell. And the report Kenny gave above makes that particular ride sound particularly hellish.

    24 hours on a mtb sounds pretty fantastic. Plus, you just did a 100 miler, go for something (like everyone else has said) challenging in a different way. It sounds like you’ll have some company, besides, which always makes it more entertaining.

    You also might want to see the documentary “24 Solo”, if you haven’t already seen it. (It would either really motivate, or really discourage a person from doing a 24hr race solo… I think most people with the slightest inclination to do a 24hr race solo before seeing the movie find it motivating.)

  65. Comment by boots | 08.21.2007 | 8:45 pm

    Which would I do? Given my recent inability to get things done – witness a new Kona in my basement w/o pedals (which I have!) and the spare tire I am carrying -
    I probably would volunteer to drive the sag wagon. You, however, should go for the
    24 hour event. Preferably as part of a team. Having committed company helps to
    smooth over the inevitable rough spots.
    The only reason you really need is WHEN IN DOUBT TRY SOMETHING NEW. It “intrigues” you so go for it!!

  66. Comment by SYJ | 08.21.2007 | 10:17 pm

    for what its worth, people in Jackson have been trying to get Lotoja cancelled forever, claiming the inherent danger of riders streaming into town at all hours. After the blizzard, there were so many stragglers that the Jackson City council (or whomever) started listening, and gave the race org a pretty stern warning – stop the late finishers, or the event will be cancelled.

    That, plus the stress of having hundreds of skinny ass cyclists suffering from hypothermia probably led to the race org’s nasty (over)reaction.

    If you decide on Lotoja and need a ride up to Logan, I should have room in my car. I’m staying in Jackson Saturday night (not sure where yet…I’m waiting for a last minute deal on a room), and am headed back on Sunday.


  67. Comment by sly | 08.21.2007 | 11:26 pm


    you need to skip all 3 of those races and do the 1 hr cross pain session in heber saturday.


  68. Comment by Chris_N | 08.22.2007 | 5:55 am

    24. ’nuff said.

  69. Comment by Murphy | 08.22.2007 | 6:09 am

    Avoid the 24 hour race at all costs. It could ultimately ruin you.
    Based upon what I’ve read over the last couple of years once you complete the 24 hour race you’ll have to go back next year. Why?? You will start analyzing where you could have improved in technique, hydration, body odor, etc. This will justify going back and proving your hypotheses. Pied Piper that you are you’ll be compelled to bring others with you. SAVE YOURSELF!! Go sit in the lazy boy and have someone bring you Krispy Kremes.

  70. Comment by BurkeInTheOzarks | 08.22.2007 | 7:34 am

    I vote for the 24 Hours of Grand Targhee. Of course, this is for purely selfish reasons, since I think it will make for the most entertaining recap of the three. In fact, you should break it up into 24 installments, each covering an hour of the race…

  71. Comment by Rocky | 08.22.2007 | 8:32 am


  72. Comment by jill | 08.22.2007 | 9:24 am

    I used to work with the guy who started LOTOJA. Back when he was going to school at USU, he thought it would be fun to ride his bike to Jackson to visit friends before classes started. And while he was at it, he thought, why not just do it in a day? After that excursion, the next year, he talked his friends into riding it with him. LOTOJA was born.

    I’m still a little confused about how this became *the* epic Utah ride. Probably a great ride … but I’d do the 24. There are so many layers to a 24-hour race, and I’m sure you’ll recap them well. The story of staring at men’s butts for 10 hours won’t make for nearly as good a reader (although, from a female perspective, it’s close.)

    Happy riding!

  73. Comment by jill | 08.22.2007 | 9:29 am

    But if you do ride LOTOJA, and do need a way back, you should think about the double cross. Riding home would be great practice for the Fireweed 400 in Alaksa, which you should do next year, right after you stop through Whitehorse, Yukon, for the 24 Hours of Light (a 24-hour race with no night? Oh yes.)

  74. Comment by Lowrydr | 08.22.2007 | 10:32 am

    Of course you could think of putting this one on next years list of punishing things to do. it’s set for 36 hours max and limited entrys. There isn’t much info up on the site yet. But the 24 GT would get you ready for it.

  75. Comment by flash_ck | 08.22.2007 | 11:55 am

    If you’ve never seen Grand Targhee in the summer, then that alone is worth the pain and suffering that you’d endure on the 24 hour ride. Plus, we would all get some unbelievably good posts out of you after that because your epic ride posts are probably the most intriguing (at least for me). My family used to vacation there in the summer and it is breathtaking hiking and biking country.

  76. Comment by mbonkers | 08.22.2007 | 1:44 pm

    I’d have to say the 24 for the same selfish reasons stated above by a few.

    If it took, what, 4 entries to talk about a 100 mile race it should take weeks to tell a 24 hour race story. Plus it’s more time for something truly epic to happen to you or your bike or those around you. Not to mention I think you could do it and do an awesome job (ego stroking here).

    Definitely the 24 hour race, snapping iPhone pictures the whole way.

  77. Comment by Born4Lycra | 08.22.2007 | 3:05 pm

    Being weak willed and unable to come to a decision without seeking help from others I asked around my office. The result was 17 out of 20 chose the 24 hour.
    The ladies actually asked what would suit Sue and the family best (info I could not supply) and the blokes wanted to know which ride involved the best pubs. I told them I thought you did not drink and their reaction apart from disbelief was so what he should be thinking of his mates. With that need for info quenched it was a landslide in favour of the 24 hour. So the Specialist Services Section of the Department for Transport Energy and Infrastructure in South Australia recommend based on absolutely no local information, technological knowledge or riding experience whatsoever that you do the 24 hour ride. The Ladies wanted to add that whichever you chose you should have fun.

  78. Comment by bradk | 08.22.2007 | 5:20 pm

    dude, can you believe that you have people in government offices in australia voting on what you should do? amazing! you should listen to them.

  79. Comment by Big Mike In Oz | 08.22.2007 | 10:49 pm

    I took a show of hands today while I was out and the 2pm tutorial class for Waves, Fluids & Optics class are, as physicists with no real world experience, vote 4-1 in favour of the 24 Hours of Grand Targhee. The dissenter was me, having already indicated a leaning towards LOTOJA I couldn’t allow myself to be swayed by the emotional and often heated discussion of your fate.

  80. Comment by Mike M | 08.23.2007 | 12:52 am

    not for nothing, but I’m seeing pictures of Lindsay Lohan on a mountain Bike in Utah lately. You guys encounter her on the road?

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  84. Comment by velokitty | 08.23.2007 | 3:58 am

    The 24… you sound like that’s the one you secretly really want to do, even if you’re not fully prepared for it. And I think if you don’t do it, there might be regrets and what ifs involved… and nobody likes a whatif.

  85. Comment by dgage | 08.23.2007 | 6:42 am

    Do the one that Susan says you can do. After Leadville, you owe her!

  86. Comment by KC | 08.23.2007 | 7:15 pm

    I would definitely vote for 24 hours of Targhee. I have done both the e100 and Lotoja. I am not really interested in doing either again. As you indicated you don’t get much for the e100 and your assessment of the course is also correct. I got lost last year and had to wait for someone to find my way at another intersection. Lotoja is scary because it is on the open road. People throw things and I saw some one come incredibly close to being hit. Targhee sounds like your best bet.

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    Stella Hong rides the Colnago C50 in Corral Canyon, Malibu, CA. Twin Six limited edition WIN jersey (all proceeds go to the Lance Armstrong Foundation) and socks.

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    I thought his name was Rick Sunderlage (not his real name).

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