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Weekly Update 1…

As the title suggests, I will update my activities weekly, rather than trying to keep up with daily updates, plus I am sure daily updates can get very boring. I will of course do other posting not related to my physical activity as they come up.

Since my last update, I have continued to ride but still not to a level that I had planned by this point. The one thing so far this bike season that I have not experienced in past years, is the constant strong winds we have had on a daily basis. In the end, I know this will only make me stronger on the bike. I have taken to doing some sprints on my rides, I usually sprint for 1K. Reviewing the Garmin data once I was finished, I was happy to see a few sprints in the 40km/h and the majority in the high 30s.

Since my last post, I did add another “gadget” to Bonnie. Last year, I purchased a used set of Profile Design T2+ aerobars. It did take me some time getting use to the aerobars but towards the end of last season I was comfortable in the aero position. The one thing I did find with the T2 was the flat position of the bars caused my hands to go numb.

T2

In the off-season, I did some research on the various aerobars to see if I could find a set that I would feel more comfortable with and that would alleviate the numbness. In the end, I purchased a set of Profile Design T3+ Carbon based on several reviews.

bars

So far, I am very happy with the purchase. I love how my hands feel in the up turned bar position. Over the next little while, I will play with the adjustment of the bars to see if I can tune in my aero position better.

Last weekend was a big weekend for the Ottawa running community, as it was the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. There were almost 50,000 runners competing in races from 5k right up to the marathon. This race is a Boston qualifier so there are runners from all over the world in Ottawa competing. As part of Race Weekend, there is a huge fitness expo with everything a runner might need to compete. I decided not to take part this year but I thought I should at least take in the expo. This would be my first time going into such a crowded place on my own since getting diagnosed with PTSD. Well, I did make it through though it did take a lot out of me. Still, I made the effort and to think that just over a year ago, I would have not even considered going into that big of a crowd on my own.

Though I was disappointed not to be racing this year, I did have several friends running in various races. My running buddy and good friend Jenn was running in her very first marathon. I so wished I could have run with her, but it was not meant to be. As I sat at my nephew football practise, I kept looking at the time on my iPhone and talking to myself, saying, at this time, Jenn should be at this point on the course. I was so happy when I got home and checked her bib number on Sport Stats to see Jenn had completed he first marathon. It was bitter-sweet but I was super proud of Jenn crossing that finish line.

On Tuesday morning, I noticed that one of my friends posted a running challenge that she was taking part in with Runners World Magazine. The challenge is to run every day from Memorial Day to July 1, a total of 41 days of running. I have not run much at all since last December so this was a great chance to get my legs moving again while being held accountable to my running friends. Knowing that I had not run since December, I was not going to run for a time but a distance to start off with and once I got my runners legs back, then I would start pushing for time.

There are a couple of more motivators to run and keep running. The first being that I have signed up to run the Army half marathon at the end of September. The proceeds of this race goes to help the Canadian Soldiers and their families. It is also an emotional race as there are a lot of wounded soldier either running or racing in their wheel chairs. This year, I will wear a special shirt that I will have made up for the race. The second reason for keeping up with the running is that it will help me lose the weight I have put on in the last year. I worked so hard to lose that 100lbs, I cannot go back to that weight again. I went from a 46″ waist down to a 34″ waist, though my pants were a little snug. Now, I am finding that my 36″ waist pants are a little more than snug. My short-term goal is to fit back into my 36″ waist pants so they are very comfortable to wear.

Over all, I am feeling very good and that things are coming together nicely. I so look forward to the next 5-6 weeks of training and then going back to school for six weeks. Things are changing, but all the changes at this point are very good.

Here is a sample of my workouts this past week:

run1

run2

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Until next time, “Pick a gear and disappear”

If Your Butt and Other Parts Ain’t Happy … A Review of the ISM Adamo Prologue Saddle

When I purchased Bonnie (Cervelo S2) last year, she came with a Fizik Arione saddle which is not a bad entry to mid level saddle. While riding last year on short to moderate rides, the Fizik Arione did not cause me much in the way of problems. As I got more comfortable riding Bonnie, the rides got longer and as they did I started noticing some discomfort at the end of the ride. At first, I just chalked it up to me not being used to riding long distances or that my seat set up was not correct. I played around with the seat position on a number of rides but at the end of the day, I still had aches and pains.

Fizik Arione Wing Flex Saddle

Fizik Arione Saddle

Now the aches and pains were mostly in the, well…manly region of my anatomy. There tended to be a dull throbbing pain in the groin area that would last for hours if not until the next day after a long ride. It also cause me some pain in my right leg as well but that could also have been associated to the pain in the groin area. Again this spring, I went on a couple of long rides with the hopes that I would not experience the same pain as I did last year, but unfortunately, the pain was there at the end of the ride.

With the Rideau Lake Cycle Tour coming up in June, I decided that it was time to invest in a saddle that would make me and my nether region happy after several hours in the saddle. So it was time once again to do some research to find that perfect saddle. Those that know me, know that I can spend hours researching the simplest of things just to make sure, one that I am getting the right product and two, that I am getting a good deal on the purchase. So after many hours reading reviews on the internet both from professional reviewers and customer reviews, I decided on the Adamo Prologue.

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In my research, I found that bicycle saddles can cause a variety of issues with the functionality of the reproductive organs. The traditional nosed saddle like the Fizik Arione have a design that can lead to some health issues. The perineum is an area behind the scrotum that consists of nerves and blood vessels. The complete functionality of this circulatory process is crucial to your health. The numbness that can be felt after a ride with a traditional saddle is caused by this loss of circulation and has short-term as well as long-term health effects, especially if you are hoping to have some little rug rats in the future. This is most certainly what was happening to me on long rides.

ISM has been forward thing in the bicycle saddle industry. They have developed a line of saddles that break the mold of the old traditional saddle that we see on so many of the bikes today.  As you can see by the picture above, Adamo has the needle nose or noseless design. This is to eliminates pressure on the area behind the scrotum and allows for better circulation in the perineum area. The seat is design so that you are actually sitting on the sit bones and not on your butt. This does take a few rides to get used to but trust me, it is well worth the short-term pain for long-term gain. It only took me a couple of short 30K rides and I got used to sitting on my sit bones.

When you sit on this saddle, you are seated forward so that there is about an inch and a half or two inches of the saddle at the rear where none of your butt is covering the saddle. Even though you are seated forward, the saddle is designed with a lot of forward cushioning to help absorb the bumps in the road or when seated for long periods of time. I was pleasantly surprised at how good I felt at the end of the first leg of the Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour, 177KM, with no discomfort in the nether region nor soreness on the sit bones. Given that this was my longest ride ever, it sure was nice to be able to walk up right and not like neanderthal man after six hours in the saddle.

ISM has a very good video on their website to help you seat up the seat on your bike. It was so good that I was able to do it without screwing up, which was confirmed when I had my bike fit done by a professional shortly after the Rideau Lakes Tour. The only adjustment that was required was the seat post height and had I paid more attention to the ISM video, I could have set that up myself as well.

Having completed many rides now on the saddle, I am very happy with my purchase as it has allowed me to enjoy cycle that much more. I my first choice in colour would have been white but unfortunately, none of the local bike shops had that colour instock. I would certainly recommend this saddle to both males and females who spend a lot of time or travel long distances on their bicycles, it is worth every penny you spend trust me.

Until next time…...“Your bike is discovery; your bike is freedom. It doesn’t matter where you are, when you’re on the saddle, you’re taken away.”  Doug Donaldson

It’s All About the Fit

When I purchased Bonnie (Cervelo S2) in September 2012 the bike shop performed a rudimentary bike fit for seat position, seat height and cleat position. The whole process start to finish took about 20 minutes. Being new to a road bike, I was impressed with the service and did not know how much went into setting up a road bike. I thought I would just go into the store, pick up the bike and ride away, just like when I was a kid.

While reading one of the many triathlone or cycling magazines, I came across an article about getting a proper bike fit. I found the article very interesting but did not pay much more attention to it as I thought that this was something that pros just had done. Then a couple of months later, there was yet another article about bike fit and what you should be looking for in a bike fitting professional. This got me thinking that maybe there might such professionals in the Ottawa area and that I should have a look at maybe getting a bike fit done. A quick google search showed that there were several professional bike fitters in the area with varying degrees of qualifications.

I made contact with four to five bike fitters to get a sense of their qualifications and the costs associated with getting a fit done. Just to cover my bases, I posted on Facebook and a couple of triathlone message boards to see if anyone had a recommendation for a bike fit professional. Time and time again the name of Mary Paterson from Bike2Body came up as the go to person for a bike fit in Ottawa. I had hoped to get the bike fit done prior to doing the Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour but her services were so much in demand that I had to wait 3 weeks to get an appointment. Just so happens that it was a week after the RLCT, but better later than never.

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My appointment was set for 7:00 am on Friday morning which is great for me as I am an early riser and like to get the importants in the day done early. From the moment I met Mary, I could tell she was someone who really enjoys what she does as well as a true professional. Mary walked me through how the process was going to work and what the intended out come should look like.

The first thing Mary did was to take a number of body measurements and I was surprise to learn that my arm span was longer than my height and that I have very long femurs. Both of these measurements will have a big impact on how I was to be set up on the bike. Now it was time to jump on the bike for the first of many videos to see how I looked on my bike. Mary uses a software called Dartfish. It is pretty darn cool seeing her connect the dots to get the angles she needed to assist in making adjustments on me and the bike. The first adjustment we made was on my cycling shoes where it was discovered that I need new cleats as the one I currently have do not have enough float in them to allow my legs to move as freely as they need to. I need cleats that have 9 degrees of float or “red” cleats, so it will be off to the  bike store sometime this week.

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Next we worked on seat post height. As I had thought prior to going to see Mary, that my seat post was a little low and that it did not allow for full leg extention. It is amazing how a small adjustment of 2-4mm on a seat post could make such a difference. Even with these first two adjustments I could already feel a difference on the bike. Due to the long fermurs that I have, my seat was set back at its’ furtherest position available but a one degree nose down adjustment was required to sit on the saddle properly. Once I hopped back on the saddle I could tell right away that this adjustment was going to make for more pleasurable rides in the future.

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It was now time to work on the front end of the bike. We went through a number of position of the handle bars before deciding on one that was both comfortable and that allowed me to operate the brakes and gear levers with ease. Not only did Mary make adjustments on the handle bars up and down but also made adjustments in and out on the “hoods”.  Hopefully this will help stop the numbing in the hands that I get from time to time.

After about three hours of making adjustments and taking videos, it was time to see what the final product looked like. Seeing the before and after videos was enough to make me a believer in the benefits of a proper bike fit. I also went for a spin around the block and right away I felt so much more comfortable in the saddle. It is going to be a pleasure to go on long rides again.

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When you leave Marys’ clinic you just do not leave with your bike adjusted, but you get a diagram showing all the measurements so you can set up future bikes as well she sends you the video clips with attached notes of the fit process. If you are serious about cycling then a proper bike fit is a must and if you are in Ottawa, then I can highly recommend the services of Mary Paterson. So let’s hope for a long riding season this year!

Until next time…………When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.~Arthur Conan Doyle