This, I’m assuming will be the final installment on my new competition road saddle contrasted with my old gel road saddle.
Being a noob, there are certain things that you can look at on a bike and take from the internet that just don’t make sense. We could definitely use manscaping the legs as a good example – at the ether’s request, one should immediately commence to shaving on purchasing a worthy road bike. Reality is a little more forgiving though. The saddle is the same way. You look at a gel saddle contrasted with a rigid competition saddle and the gel saddle should be the epitome of comfort according to common sense. Reality in this case is a little less forgiving. I went for a nice, very fast 16 mile ride today in some fairly windy conditions. As windy as it was, there’s no way I should have been able to average 20 mph but I did that easily – with energy to sprint up all of the major hills, previously unheard of for me at that pace.
First of all, the gel saddle that came on my bike is a very nice saddle. It’s real leather and very comfortable – if I happened to ride very upright and on the hoods or bars most of the time at a more leisurely pace. That’s not how I ride though. I wanted to be in the drops as much as possible into the wind and low on the hoods to maximize aerodynamics because I like to go fast. That simply wasn’t possible without a lot of pain and an impossible time breathing on the gel saddle. The best I could manage in the drops was maybe 3/4 of a mile before I’d have to move up to the hoods for a rest – and I thought it was me.
Today, on my new rigid road saddle, I was able ride the entire time into the wind in the drops – seven miles. Instead of times around 3:45 a mile, I was down around 3:15.
The strange thing – at least to me – is that the saddle is right on the comfort. I didn’t miss the gel a bit, in fact, on the hoods the only difference I noticed was that my right sit bone and hamstring don’t hurt. In the drops, though, the comfort increase was profound. I was able to get my hip angle right which allowed me to breathe easier. In addition, because I have the hip angle right, the width of the seat right (so I could sit in the right part of the saddle), I didn’t get sore or tire out quickly.
I didn’t miss the extra padding once. On the contrary, I’m glad it’s gone – go figure.
I’ve quit a lot of things over the last 20 years in the pursuit of happiness. Let’s look at a partial list in order: Baseball, Playing the Saxophone, Cheating, Stealing, Drugs, Booze, Catholicism, Depression, Golf, Flirting, Caffeine, Chewing Tobacco, Cigarettes, Caffeine/Coffee (again), Cigars, Sweets (this one only really lasted about a week), Fast Food, Golf, Coke (the sugared beverage), Kicking my own @$$ (mentally) for no good reason, Chewing Tobacco (again), Politics, Golf (again)… Some have stuck, some are in progress and still others haven’t. The important ones (the things that will kill me or destroy my life), Theft, Drugs, Alcohol, Chewing Tobacco, Depression, Cigarettes, Flirting and Cheating are well in the rear-view and I don’t do shades of gray.
At some point though, not too long ago I realized that I’ve quit just about enough.
Take coffee for example – while Coke is well behind me because I need the 4,500 empty calories a week like I need a hit in the head – caffeine, in the form of coffee, isn’t going anywhere. I don’t care who says what, at some point you just have to stand your ground(s). I love my coffee and I refuse to give it up – especially based on “what somebody read on the internet”. Besides, there is no food on earth that has more free-radical eliminating antioxidants. Was the study somewhat subjective? Sure it was as some anti-coffee complainers will point out in their attempt to foist on their choice to quit coffee to others. Of course, as is usual, the complaints against coffee are highly subjective as well and I would suggest on a much more egregious level than the studies that show benefits funded by the coffee industry. Let’s look at some of the benefits of a daily diet that includes at least 5 cups of coffee:
Decreased risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia, Parkinson’s, Liver Disease (and Cancer), Oral and Esophageal Cancers, as well as Breast Cancer (modest), Endometrial and Prostate Cancers. In addition, it’s a mild laxative, is not a diuretic (at best it shows extremely mild diuretic properties – less than 5% that of water). There are negatives to coffee consumption as well, but I really don’t care. I love coffee and it’s staying.
There is no doubt that fast food is bad for you when it is consumed without moderation. I don’t do that, so at least for the time being, I’m going to continue to enjoy my #11 with an additional 4 pc chicken nuggets and BBQ sauce – Oh how I adore you, Fish-O-Filet.
As crazy as that may sound, there are still people out there who believe that running is bad for you. Normally in those cases I simply suggest selling stupid somewhere else, but that’s not very nice, now is it? I’ll have to work on a nicer approach. In the mean time, any doctor worth their degree will tell anyone who will listen that running is good for your joint system and health. There are caveats, of course: If you have suffered an injury that alters the motion of the leg during a running stride, you should find another exercise – after consulting a doctor who knows more about this than you do (I would recommend a Kinesiologist of course). Also, if you’re overweight, you should start out slowly. The trick is if it hurts, you’re doing it wrong.
Riding on the Road
Road riding is a slightly more dangerous than riding the couch – at least in the short-term, but I’d sooner give up eating. Remember, less than 3% of all bicycle related fatalities occur when the cyclist is following proper cycling etiquette (riding with traffic, on the road – in lieu of the sidewalk, using caution at intersections, etc.).
The Active Life
An active life is no place for a nervous person. While there must be a balance between placing ourselves in danger – especially when we have a family to think of, there are risks inherent with being active. It just is what it is.