Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Testing a new saddle

Before I go into how things felt and this and that, remember as always, saddles are like the rears they sit under, they all or different, and some can stink more than others.
Right, now that is out of the way, let's talk about a short stint I spent this past weekend on the Specialized Romin. Jae called in a favor to Sunshine Cycles out of Greenville, and worked out a test saddle from them for the weekend. Since Jae has the Toupe on a bike already, I was the guinea pig for this one. That is cool, we had the coffee ride scheduled, so I figured that was as good a time as any to see what this saddle had to offer, me first, you second...Selfish I know.
First impressions, is that I have seen this design before...SMP have had a center channel saddle in many shapes and forms for a while now, so the design is nothing new. What the Romin does have more of than the SMP is the change in widths for different sits! SMP is now addressing some of this in newer models. I chose the 143 model, based off some measurements on my last fitting. The saddle is made with an intentional kick up in the back, and a curvy profile. The nose is wider than most, but not so wide as to interfere, and it may be more optical illusion than anything, since the front part is fairly flattened. Set was pretty simple if you have the tools and a tape measure. What I first did though was see where it sat over the top of the saddle I had on the bike to see what it would take to get it basically in the same place. Then I measured and re-measured my saddle height, marked the old saddles position so that it could be re-installed post test without problems. I sat the saddle up centered on the seatpost, and with the front tilted lower than the rear, to give me the kick up in the back to push against.
Initial feelings were good, just sitting in the living room. I could definitely feel or rather not feel anything pushing on the soft bits. Check one.
I always have some anxiety about trying something new like a saddle, since it can ruin a good ride. I am happy to say that the ride went off without a hitch, and without any adjustment.
Could I have changed the tilt? Possibly, but things were going pretty good, so I gave it some time. One thing I can say, is I never felt the slight numbing effect of the standard saddles when down in the drops and pushing. I do not run a lot of bar drop, and this saddle allowed me to push back against the rear and get low by bending my elbows. I have read that this is what the saddle was intended for.
Of course, when you pull material away, the pressure is put into another area. In this case, it is the sit bone area. You feel it at the end of the ride. You feel like you have actually been sitting on them, which is the intent of having them in the first place and hence there generic, non medical name...Sit Bones.
Either way, I was a little tender after the ride, but the softer tissue areas were fine. The next day I got in another 1.5 on the saddle with no ill effects, but alas I had to take it back to Jae so he could try it.
I am not completely sold on one yet, but I am leaning that way. Speaking to another guy I know who is a Pro and mad Cyclo Cross racer, he told me that he did not know how much pressure is put on the perinium and soft tissue, until it is not there.
That pretty much sums it up. And for the weight weenies out there, the saddle is light as is, and they make a carbon version.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Saturday Morning Coffee ride

Woke up this morning, almost late, for the first Saturday coffee ride from Chesnee, SC to Forest City, NC. The ride is an old route that used to be a staple of the upstate for a while. I can remember doing it back before I raced, and before I drank coffee, but it died out. Well, Dennis resurected it this Saturday, and a small group of us got up early in the chilly morning air to ride to the stop.
I drove up to Jae's early, left the house at 6:30am. Looking at the temp the day before, I packed the shoe covers, arm warmers, and vest. I am glad I did, when we started it was 48 degrees. We left from Jae's picked up Scottie on the way, and rolled on over. Dennis and Rick were already there, Michael soon showed up, Joey shortly after. This was the crew. We rolled out thru Harris past the race track, cutting some back roads, all the while trying our best to warm up. It finally started picking up temp, and speed, and we were soon unzipping the vest. There were some good pulls, nothing crazy on the way in.
Forest City is a small town, not unlike many other small towns in our area, not much to talk about, yard sales were the name of the game this morning. We all sat to grab our favorite caffienated fare and a little jabbing at each other. We laughed and joked, talked about the lates cycling news, and how ESPN will televise the world Domino championship, but the only time cycling gets on TV is when someone is doping, and we had plenty of that news this week. My wife mentioned to me that she had saw a chart of doping in sport, and cycling was not even at the top, and that boxing was actually up there pretty high. Funny we never read about that, we always see who the next cycling dope(r) is, but rarely see the big sports stars, until they are completely finished with their careers and then, people still pack the stadiums.
On the way back, the weather was a lot nicer as we made our way back in. Nothing fancy. The ride ended up being a little over 60 miles, which is good for this time of year, when, unless you are racing cross, you are basically in chill mode, which is good.
Oh yeah, on the way in, the cycling fairies shined on me. Found $49 dollars on the side of the road!! It was a good day!