I can’t remember where but Dave Wiens, the most prolific Leadville 100 MTB winner of all time, emphasized that when you ride an endurance mountain biking event like this you need to make sure your 5 contact points with the bike are going to make for as comfortable and efficient experience as possible.
Today I went by the bike shop to hopefully improve the contact point with the most surface area: the seat. At the suggestion of a trusted mechanic I went with the Specialized Phenom Expert size 143mm after he measured me with a memory foam device and a couple of bb’s, a nifty way to measure the distance between my “butt bones”.
I’m coming from a WTB saddle which is actually more padded but I certainly have felt the soreness after my 8-10 hour rides and more recently a 3.5 hour ride that included a bunch of flatness. My theory there is that my typical 3-4 hour rides have less in-saddle pedal time (I stand up way more, providing periodic relief) than the more recent one where I focused on maintaining cadence across flatter sections. I plan to put this saddle to the test as soon as tomorrow so we’ll see.
[UPDATE 5/14] Rode 90 minutes this morning and never once thought about the seat which is a very good thing. Zero pain or soreness hours later. Planning a 4 hour ride Saturday which will provide a better opportunity to gauge the change in fatigue/soreness level.
The next and frankly more concerning contact points are my feet. More concerning because a) there is no relief for my feet: they are connected the entire time and b) they cause discomfort far sooner than the saddle.