I miss my boys. On any ride more than an hour, there ceases to be a there there. It has become necessary to replace the stock saddle that came with my Cervelo, and I have been putting off the decision because I’m getting stingy and am quite tired of buying Stuff. The Stuff never seems to end, especially after the horror that was my return from Boise. Oh, yes, I forgot to mention that in my race report: when I brought the bike box back to Tri Zombies on Tuesday Scott informed me that a hole had been punched into his disk wheel. Ironman bikes didn’t see any damage when they packed it, the box was undamaged, so obviously someone opened it, broke the wheel, and closed it up hoping not to get caught.
Not only that, but one of my aero bar rests was also broken, probably from the same idiot who opened the box and did not position the aero bars properly back inside. Alaska/Horizon rejected my claim as I had to report the damage within 24 hours, preferably in the baggage claim area. I explained that I was not going to unpack a $6,000 bike that had been professionally packed in the middle of LAX, but they did not care. Thankfully Scott can get a new disk wheel at cost through an employee purchase program, so the damage may only cost me $900. Only. I am actually relieved because the MSRP on that wheel is $1900. A new saddle is going to run about $200. That is a lot of goddamn clean system installations. I’m glad Steve Jobs is returning to work as his innovation schedule keeps my bills paid.
TZ only had a Specialized tri tip saddle for demo, which I tested some weeks ago. I felt no difference between that and my Cervelo saddle. I would have liked to get a tri tip saddle as it fits my “beef” theme, but I wasn’t going to forgo the use of my twig and berries for an ironic seat. Unfortunately, TZ didn’t have any other demo saddles. Triathlon Lab does have demo saddles but I am tired of driving down to the south bay. They have a new store opening in Santa Monica soon, but I need a new saddle now. At this point I’m certain my sperm are the same slow and lazy open water swimmers as I am, and crushing them into oblivion before their mass start is a hindrance they just don’t need. They’re already disallowed wetsuits as the water temp is over 60 degrees F.
Enter the www “now not just for porn” internet. Tripsorts.com has a demo program where they ship a demo saddle to you for a week for $25, shipping included. They offer a comprehensive selection of saddles, including the often mocked, yet legendary ISM Adamo. Few saddles get snickered at as much as the Adamo. It looks like an alien life form, and to even consider pressing your pelvis against this thing for a few hours suggests a late night movie on the Sci-Fi network written by, well, me.
I wear a strange mustache and I am used to being looked at – I ain’t worried about having a weird looking saddle. If it works as well as people claim, I’m using it.
The saddle arrived last week and after I looked at it and my bike, talked to Scott how to install it, I brought the bike to him and had him do it properly. I am not mechanically inclined. Yes, I fix computers. No, I don’t enjoy taking them apart. I don’t enjoy manual labor mostly because I am very, very bad at it. Every curtain rod or mechanism I have installed in my home has abortive wall anchors surrounding it like Helen Keller practicing at a gun range. I measure twice and cut once and it’s always wrong. The timing for the demo was perfect – I was booked for an 80 mile ride over the weekend followed by another 2.5 hour trainer/track session which would yield at least 30 miles of stationary spinning.
The 80 miles was great. Eve and Talia showed up to start off as a group and we exchanged cell numbers in case of emergency. We were rolling shortly after 8. My plan was to do the 25 miles from Pepperdine to Las Posas and then swing north to see how many miles I could pick up in that area, then come back to Pepperdine and fill in any missing miles. The first 25 went smoothly and quickly and I managed to pass several dozen other riders in pelotons including two different LA Tri Club groups. I waved as I passed, better to be friendly in case I blew a tire or shot a rock at them by accident. I made it to Big Rock in about an hour ten, Pt. Mugu firing range shortly after on good legs.
I turned north on Las Posas and the road went flat as a pancake across farmland. My legs were still fresh and no numbness in the junk! I found seven miles of open road before I hit Ventura Blvd in Camarillo and decided to turn around. I realized that it would be better to add the extra miles on the north side of PCH rather than the heavier traffic closer to Pepperdine. I hit a brutal headwind heading back to the ocean and realized the reason I was zooming along at 24 mph heading to Camarillo was the aid from the ocean breeze. Curse you, wind!
I finally covered the 7 miles back and went south on PCH, turned around after 8 miles and went back to Las Posas, then headed for home. No surprise the wattage dropped for the final 25, I was tired. And while I didn’t have any numbness in the groin I was starting to get a distinct pain in my left gricilis, which is becoming a chronic pain point. I’ve never cramped or torn griclilis on the bike so this took some figuring out.
The ISM Adamo saddle is wider than a traditional road saddle. It’s also designed to press directly against the rider’s sits bones as opposed to the narrow gap of the pubic bone. In triathlon position we tend to ride the tip of the saddle because we’re stretched out forward – this usually means riding the spot known as the “’taint”. For those of you who don’t know why it’s called that: “’taint balls, ‘’taint ass”. Replace genitals as gender demands. Triathletes get numbnuts and numblips because the saddle presses the nerve cluster that runs along that groove. That which makes you smile can also make you grimace. And by grimace I also mean like the McDonalds character: purple and swollen.
The ISM Adamo creates a wide opening for bloodflow, but it also presses more significantly against the gricilis on either side. In my case, gricilis is frequently tight to the point of tearing. I once had a severe internal hematoma from a yoga session – I felt something rip inside and the whole area turned black and red for a week. I was able to walk and move, so I assume that what I ripped was scar tissue or the ligament opened up and bled out a bit. It was not pleasant. By the upper miles of the ride I was in discomfort but thought perhaps the saddle was potentially making me work more of my leg muscles than the other saddles. I was as comfortable as one can be after dozens of miles and perhaps with some time I could get used to the setup.
I finished the ride, got changed, and met up with Brian for lunch. I have very little memory of that meal as I had a hard time walking and I was exhausted. I do recall having a conversation with Damon who placed 7th in his age group at the Philadelphia Triathlon and I could not be happier for him. It’s a race with a lot of meaning for him, his family was there, and he did it in honor of his father who had passed away the previous year. A big deal for Big D.
Sunday was another track/trainer workout and it was back in the saddle for another round with the ISM Adamo. This time I was keenly aware of a bruise along the sits bones on my groin. It died down after some time but it reminded me of the feeling of getting back on the bike after not riding for a month. “Oh, right, this SUCKS.” But after the first 20 minute session and run I was doing alright and finally I had worked the pain out of my groin.
The ISM Adamo is a totally different saddle experience and I’d say I’m 85% sold on the thing. I want to demo the Fizik seat because I am a sucker for advertising and I want to know what all the product hype is about. For another $25 I’ll give it a go, especially since I have another 100 mile ride coming up next week. I may do that one on the Cervelo stock saddle to remind me again what I’ve got versus what I tried. Best of all, the money spent on the demo applies towards the purchase of a new saddle. For every $25 demo I can apply $20 towards a new seat.
After all this talk about my reproductive organs I should mention that this is not an announcement of any kind. We’re not pregnant or trying to get pregnant. We are in our mid-30’s and understand the longer we wait the higher the likelihood of bad outcomes for a pregnancy. But all this exercise is turning me into an old man quickly, so my hopes for not being a hobbling, feeble, decrepit parent are dashed. My child is going to point to me sitting in my medical scooter at their high school graduation no matter what age I am and say, “that Thing is my father”.
Who am I kidding? No child of mine is going to stay in high school until graduation.