My Ass...and other stuff.

My search for the perfect saddle continues -- unfortunately. I know exactly what I need...finding it is the challenge. If I could have my very own custom saddle designed, it would include these features:
  • 150-155mm wide in the butt-zone
  • VERY T-shaped (as opposed to pear-shaped...which is relatively more common in women's saddles)
  • firm -- minimal padding
  • flat (ie not domed from side-to-side)
  • white (so as not to get hot when under the Death Valley sun)
  • long-ish, narrow nose
  • cut-out (if the girl-bits ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!)
I'm getting close.  The Specialized Body Geometry Ruby 155 meets most of the criteria, but is a bit too pear-shaped (transition from rear to nose is too gradual and causes pressure/chafing where my upper-inner-thigh meets my butt cheek...also forces me too far forward on the nose, so I'm constantly pushing back, regardless of fore/aft position or tilt of the nose).  I can test it and return that to Specialized within 30 days, so I may end up using that for the One Day Ride Across MI. I did complete a century a week ago on that saddle and it was OK.  It didn't "disappear under me" and I was more aware of the saddle than I would have liked (especially when I'd ride in the drops, as that really had the inside of my upper thighs banging against the saddle edge) but the firmness of it didn't bother my sit bones as much as I had feared.

I also did a single ride on a Selle Italia Turbomatic Gel Flow (this is not a squishy "gel" saddle, but VERY firm, dense padding) and absolutely LOVED the footprint of that saddle, but it was too domed (it's marketed as a 153mm wide saddle, but it definitely feels MUCH narrower, because of the domed profile) and I felt like I was straddling the saddle, more than resting on it.  As a result my crotch-tal regions bore more weight than my sit-bones...after 10 miles on that I was ready to not be on it anymore. But the distinct t-shape transition was PERFECT.  I've never had a saddle that didn't feel like my inner thigh muscles and flubber weren't fighting for space with the saddle.  I didn't feel that at all with the Turbomatic...but the pressure "up-front" was a deal breaker.

I have definitely learned that the Specialized recommendation for me to be on a 143mm saddle with my 130mm sit bones is off.  It's no wonder I would end up shifting to sit a half-inch to the left-of-center (kinda like my politics, heh).  There is slight compression on the edge of my Jett 143 saddle on that side, where that sit-bone was sliding off to one side.

I have very high hopes for the next saddle in line for testing, the Selle San Marco Aspide Glamour Arrowhead (say that 5 times fast!).  The footprint is very similar to the Turbomatic, but it appears a lot flatter in photos (and I've been told by someone who owns one that it's "exceedingly flat," as well).  I also was able to find it on eBay in white, which is a bonus.  Rumor is that this saddle is VERY firm, but that shouldn't be an issue.  The Specialized Ruby is fairly firm and after a century ride on that saddle I had zero sit bone discomfort.

I'm hoping this saddle arrives in time for me to get in 1-2 short rides before Saturday.  If the overall fit is good I will use it for the ODRAM ride.  Then the worst issue I am likely to encounter is sore sit-bones...which is pretty much a given by the end of a ~150 mile ride, right?

I'm really loving my new road pedals and shoes...especially after I discovered that squirting some light lubricant (like WD-40) into the guts of the pedals made them release MUCH easier (even on the very loosest resistance setting).  Every stop before that was hairy-scary.  By the last quarter of last weekend's century I felt it was pretty much a given that I'd not be able to unclip my left foot at some point, especially as that leg/hip/ankle started tiring from the torque required to unclip.  Right around the 90 mile marker my suspicion was confirmed.  I still have a dark bruise on my left hip and a scabby knee to show for it.  First fall on my new road bike...took almost 2600 miles to take that fall.

Hopefully the pedals will loosen in time.  If not I need to make a point to spray lube into the mechanism as-needed.

The larger pedal surface has made such a marked improvement in my foot comfort on these long rides...though the shoes are a little trickier to walk in....not that I do a ton of walking in cycling shoes.

Speaking of traveling on-foot in cycling shoes, it's less than a month until the first Kisscross cyclocross race of the season...I feel sorta sick to my stomach just thinking about it.  I did my first "crit" closed-track race a few days ago.  It went OK.  There were only 4 of us on the track...one of whom is an opportunistic B-race cherry-picker who has no place in the C field (last week she hung on my hubby's wheel, then out-sprinted him to the finish...this past week she did the same to me for over a lap, then finished way ahead of me and 1 other rider.  A young guy hung on her wheel to the finish...not how criteriums are supposed to go down, at all).  I took 3rd, for $5.  Woot!  It gave me a bit of a taste of the effort level of cyclocross...though one of those races will take about 30 minutes and the Weds. race took about half that long for 3 laps.  'Cross is gonna hurt.  A lot.  But it will be fun.  And there will be beer.  And prizes are awarded by raffle/lottery, not placement.  So I can win cool swag...and beer.

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